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Opinion: The Day After Free Pizza Day

Free pizza day was bigger than expected and ended earlier than anticipated. Read our thoughts on the event.

Rick Santos' restaurant, , is far from a big-time corporate business. Santos recently moved to Skokie from Brooklyn to open his first pizza shop at 4010 Main St. just a few weeks ago. 

He's a small business owner trying to make it in a brand new environment.

My encounter with Santos came after a reader tweeted me saying I should check his pizza out. My of Skokie's newest pizza spot. To my surprise, Santos insisted we put a blurb in the story about giving every customer a free pizza slice. 

I thought, "Awesome." Here's a guy who just moved to Skokie and wants to give out free pizza to the community. There's no business oriented relationship between Patch and De Carlucci's and since he wanted to do something for the community I was more than happy to help.

, everything was squared away for Tuesday, July 24. To my surprise - and Santos' - free pizza day was much bigger than we both anticipated.

It was awesome to see the community get together all through a small article posted on Patch. When I saw Santos, he was running back and forth from his kitchen to the front counter to serve customers. Like many small businesses, his staff consists of family. In Santos' case, his brother and teenage daughter.

As time passed, word began to spread about free pizza day and Santos was soon overwhelmed; he was running low on canned pop and ingredients. When I asked him how many slices he'd served that day, he confidently said about 1,000.

One thousand jumbo slices of pizza.

A jumbo sized slice like the one Santos was serving typically goes for about $5 at most restaurants. Multiple that by 1,000. That's what Santos gave out to the community in a three hour span. If you ask me, that's pretty generous.

A few bad apples -

Some people came to the counter asking for five slices of pizza, citing the other four were for people at home (to whose order Santos fulfilled). Others posted comments on Skokie Patch telling Santos to go back to NY because they missed out on their free slice. Really?

There were also some other comments that are just too vulgar to print. I was shocked that some people would get this stirred up because they missed the deal. 

In a lot of ways, I felt like I was representing Skokie when getting to know Santos. And to be honest, I'm a little embarrassed by the actions of a select few.

Just to be clear - the vast majority of people that stopped by were great. Some sent me emails asking me to tell Santos "thank you." The people waiting in line when I stopped by seemed to be having a good time. And a lot of people that missed out were very understanding. To those of you who were, thank you for your decorum.

I'd like to apologize on behalf of Skokie Patch for those that missed out on yesterday's deal. We helped promote free pizza day and we're also responsible.

If it's any consolation,  with your contact information and I'll forward it to the owner for a possible voucher. 

As for Santos, he was all smiles when he touched base with me late last night. He was very grateful to those that showed up to try his product. He also reached out to some readers

"You can't please everybody," Santos said. "I'm just happy so many people showed up and tried out my pizza." 

James Iverson July 26, 2012 at 10:42 PM
By the way, in about 10 minutes I watched them hand out about four free pizzas, even while they provided several others for pickup customers. Like many of the commentors, I was really impressed by the Santos family. Even while they were working like crazy, they were really pleasant. Then I ordered a pizza to take home, and they gave me two!
Chela Huss July 27, 2012 at 06:37 PM
George, Please thank Mr. Santos for opening a pizzeria in Skokie. Evan though I did not try his pizza, I am sure I will stop by to try it, Chela Huss
De'carluccis restaurant July 28, 2012 at 04:04 PM
yes they did, and we apologize for that.
De'carluccis restaurant July 28, 2012 at 04:05 PM
Your very welcome, and also Thank You.
Michael July 30, 2012 at 02:22 PM
I applaud the owners for being so generous in having a free slice promo. I feel that it perhaps should have been stated as starting at 11am and going 'while supplies last' instead of simply an indicated time span. Also that it should have been clearly stated as one free slice per person, and that policy strictly followed. Any who would then balk at those reasonable and clearly stated policies may not be the type of customer one would want anyway. On the free slice day I stopped by there at about 3:15pm and saw the sign by the door indicating that there were no more free slices. Sure, it was a bit disappointing since I'd read that the promotion was supposed to be going on until later, but I simply figured it was a 'while supplies last' sort of situation and that the response was greater than expected. My wife is allergic to wheat and dairy so we never get pizza (and we very rarely dine out at all as it's just too expensive) so a free pizza slice would have simply been a treat for me. Not a big deal to miss out on something I wouldn't have normally had anyway. With regard to the statements about the owners having given away $5000 worth of product, the article says, "A jumbo sized slice like the one Santos was serving typically goes for about $5 at most restaurants." How much such a slice would cost at 'most restaurants' is somewhat irrelevant; why not just say what De Carluccis charges for the same size slice.

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