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I doubt, in a blind tasting over multiple occasions, a distinction between Pepe's and The Spot would hold up. They're effectively the same restaurant.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Yeah but I could easily say that about two pizzas from Pepe's on two different days. The variation is large because of the type of oven and the handmade nature of the product. Pizza Hut and Domino's are much more consistent than Pepe's, Sally's, or the Spot. But over multiple visits I don't think the Spot and Pepe's offer an identifiably different product. Same ingredients, same recipes, ovens handled the same way (though they are not the same), interlocking family ownership and management, etc. The Spot was the original Pepe's, remember.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I suppose you could be correct, and it could just be that weird obsessive nature one gets about certain foods. For about 10 years I ate Wooster St pizza at least twice a week and it's possible that I've just reached the point where I start to fixate on differences and ranking pizzas, experiences and pizza places.

Hmmm...

Perception is subjective after all -- but I still feel like the Spot is (perhaps subtly) inferior to Pepe's.

Damn. This is making me really hungry and making me really miss Sally's.

Anyone know if they're doing the fresh tomato and basil bianca yet this year?

fanatic...

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A restaurant in the Wicker Park section of Chicago serves pizza that seems inspired by Sally's Apizza.  The place is called "Piece," and its menu says that its recipe, "(I)s inspired by New Haven-style pizza."  Though Piece did not mention Sally's by name, thanks to Fat Guy, I caught the reference.  :biggrin:

I haven't been to Piece but some years ago when I was at Sally's catching up on news I heard about a place that was being opened in Chicago by someone who used to work at Sally's. Let's just say, the way I heard it, was that the guy who was a friend, worked at the restaurant without divulging his intentions (of trying to learn the trade) so he could open this place with some partners in Chicago.

Ellen Shapiro

www.byellen.com

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Ellen,

That's true. The guy basically worked at Sally's, then went to Chicago and opened Piece.

I ate there last summer. It was good, though not as good as Wooster St. Pizza. But, it was more a hybrid of both Sally's and Pepe's, than a duplicate of one or the other.

There is a place in Philadelphia that is as good as Wooster St. Its called Lombardi's, and they have a coal fired brick oven, and their pizza is terrific.

The closest I have tasted to Wooster St.

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Ellen,

That's true.  The guy basically worked at Sally's, then went to Chicago and opened Piece.

I ate there last summer.  It was good, though not as good as Wooster St. Pizza.  But, it was more a hybrid of both Sally's and Pepe's, than a duplicate of one or the other.

There is a place in Philadelphia that is as good as Wooster St.  Its called Lombardi's, and they have a coal fired brick oven, and their pizza is terrific.

The closest I have tasted to Wooster St.

FlaJoe:

Lombardi's is pretty good, but Tacconelli's is more or less the standard by which other pizzas are judged here in the City of Brotherly PizzaLove. Problem with Tac's is that you have to call and reserve your dough ahead 'cuz they only make so much per day. However, they have just opened a branch in Moorestown, NJ (about a 20 minute ride from downtown Philly) where they serve without reservations. YAY! I haven't had the pleasure yet, but it's high on my list of "to dos" and the South Jerseyites are quite fortunate.

I still miss Sally's and Pepe's. I haven't been to New Haven in probably 16 years and I still recall how damn good that pizza was! I pnce drove all the way to New Haven from Philly just to prove it was the best pizza ever to some skeptical friends. We drove, we ate, we turned around and came back. Oh to be young and foolish again! :wink:

Katie M. Loeb
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you have to call and reserve your dough ahead 'cuz they only make so much per day

Isn't it amazing how counterproductive some business strategies are? I find this sort of thing so irritating. What could possibly be the cost involved in making some extra dough? Why is it that so many of these great little family-owned best-of-their-kind places have such ridiculous policies? I find that no matter how good the food is, such behavior is bound to take away from my enjoyment of the meal.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Isn't it amazing how counterproductive some business strategies are? I find this sort of thing so irritating. What could possibly be the cost involved in making some extra dough? Why is it that so many of these great little family-owned best-of-their-kind places have such ridiculous policies? I find that no matter how good the food is, such behavior is bound to take away from my enjoyment of the meal.

Don't jump the gun, FG. This may be a question of capacity, i.e. they can only make a certain number of pies of a certain quality per day. I don't know. Never been there. I do know, however, that at the original Boston Chicken (long before it became that barf factory, Boston Market) in West Newton, MA you had to call ahead Friday afternoons to reserve a chicken because their ability to churn (rotate) them out was exceeded by the demand for the chickens. They could have bought more chickens in advance of the weekend rush, but the quality may have suffered for the increased business. It may not be a simple matter of making more dough. It is possible the demand for Tacconelli's pizza creates a similar problem and makes this necessary. You may want to reserve judgement. However, if they are just being snots about it, they should all die a horrible death. The bastards.

JeffV: Patsy's, WTF?

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Reserving judgment is not the eGullet way.

You're right of course. My mistake.

:laugh:

Nice.

But seriously, abbeynormal is right: they can only cook so many per day, is why you have to reserve your dough. I find business strategies like that annoying too when there's no real reason for them, but in this case it's necessary, since basically they're running at capacity relatively frequently.

This thread is killing me today--we're actually going up to Tacconelli's tomorrow night and now I can't wait. Man oh man.

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Okay, but from where I stand, if they're running at capacity, it has nothing to do with reserving dough per se. It's just a reservation the same as at any restaurant. Is that the case?

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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Okay, but from where I stand, if they're running at capacity, it has nothing to do with reserving dough per se. It's just a reservation the same as at any restaurant. Is that the case?

Apparently their oven only has the capacity to produce a certain number of pies per night, according to Vincent Tacconelli. Would you feel better if you had to reserve the number of pies you wanted instead? What difference does it make? As far as making it like a regular dinner reservation, my thinking is that the number of people in a party does not necessarily indicate the amount of food that will be consumed.

Edited by abbeynormal (log)
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I do know, however, that at the original Boston Chicken (long before it became that barf factory, Boston Market) in West Newton, MA you had to call ahead Friday afternoons to reserve a chicken because their ability to churn (rotate) them out was exceeded by the demand for the chickens.

I know it's OT, but I just have to say: big ups to West Newton! Our first house was in West Newton. Strangely, I've been hearing of Newton more and more these days, and I never used to hear about it.

--

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Okay, but from where I stand, if they're running at capacity, it has nothing to do with reserving dough per se. It's just a reservation the same as at any restaurant. Is that the case?

Apparently their oven only has the capacity to produce a certain number of pies per night, according to Vincent Tacconelli. Would you feel better if you had to reserve the number of pies you wanted instead? What difference does it make? As far as making it like a regular dinner reservation, my thinking is that the number of people in a party does not necessarily indicate the amount of food that will be consumed.

The explanation sounds highly suspicious, given that there are about a million and half pizzerias in the USA and this is the only one where you have to reserve dough.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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I know it's OT, but I just have to say: big ups to West Newton!  Our first house was in West Newton.  Strangely, I've been hearing of Newton more and more these days, and I never used to hear about it.

Have you been to Lummiere?

fanatic...

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Okay, but from where I stand, if they're running at capacity, it has nothing to do with reserving dough per se. It's just a reservation the same as at any restaurant. Is that the case?

Apparently their oven only has the capacity to produce a certain number of pies per night, according to Vincent Tacconelli. Would you feel better if you had to reserve the number of pies you wanted instead? What difference does it make? As far as making it like a regular dinner reservation, my thinking is that the number of people in a party does not necessarily indicate the amount of food that will be consumed.

The explanation sounds highly suspicious, given that there are about a million and half pizzerias in the USA and this is the only one where you have to reserve dough.

Just a thought. Tacconelli's has a oil-fired oven, which is very very rare. The only other pizzeria I have ever heard, using an oil-fired oven is Modern in New Haven. Could this type of oven, limit the capacity of how many pies they can make?

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Steve

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Nodoby would dispute that the number of pizzas a pizzeria can produce in a day is limited. But how is that related to the concept of "you have to call and reserve your dough ahead 'cuz they only make so much per day." (This statement is repeated in various forms all throughout the literature on the place, e.g., "They reserve the dough ahead of time, and sell out early, especially on weekends" http://www.citypaper.net/articles/030796/a...rticle029.shtml ) Is the issue that they run out of dough? Or is the issue that they can only make X number of pizzas per hour? If the latter, why say the former, and could the pies-per-hour figure really be so rigid that people have to reserve pies rather than just a table? I can't imagine. And if the explanation is the former, why not just make more dough? If they "sell out early" it would seem to indicate some sort of truculent inefficiency rather than an oven-capacity issue. Totonno's has been known to pull this nonsense as well.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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If they "sell out early" it would seem to indicate some sort of truculent inefficiency rather than an oven-capacity issue. Totonno's has been known to pull this nonsense as well.

I think it is probably an intentional inefficiency, and I say more power to them. People in the restaurant business are always bitching about the amount they work; Tacconelli's system gives them some added control over that amount. My feeling is, here's a successful family business that makes an exceptionally good product. The owners have decided how much work they want to do on any given day and they stick to it. If they wanted to operate like a typical pizza place, I'm sure they could sell a lot more pies; they'd probably make a lot more money. But they don't want to. I really can't fault them for that decision.

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The owners have decided how much work they want to do on any given day and they stick to it.

I've always been a little intrigued by this concept; there are several hoagie places (I'm thinking of Chickie's, for one) in south philly that do essentially the same thing--usually they're family run places--they order a certain amount of bread, make that many hoagies a day, usually sell out, and close whenever they sell out.

It's an interesting concept. It can be annoying.

P.S. Edited to say I like the word truculent.

Edited by mrbigjas (log)
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They can do whatever they want, but there's a really interesting innovation I've heard about that allows you to limit the number of hours you work. It's called "hours of operation."

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

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They can do whatever they want, but there's a really interesting innovation I've heard about that allows you to limit the number of hours you work. It's called "hours of operation."

Why that's just crazy enough to work...

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Indeed, I've heard tales, reported by travelers from distant lands, about such "hours of operation." But I always discounted them as delusions: for how could a pizza shop rely on such fictions? What if a humble pizza maker were to have many customers order many pies simultaneously, soon before his final "hour"? Why, he would be overwhelmed! His customers would riot and he would no doubt be torn to pieces by the mob.

No, I think we can safely assume that Messr. Fat Guy is jesting with us, and that we can include his "hours of operation" with such confabulations as "smoke-free bars" and "privately owned liquor stores."

Edited by Andrew Fenton (log)
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