Last night Frank and I went to this pizza place that has lots of buzz around it, Antico Pizza Napoletana. Apparently it used to be just a simple place for take-out but soon people started just hanging out and eating their pizza. So the owner set up a few tables—one where you just stand around and then a few more in the kitchen.
When we walked in we were immediately confused. Do we stand in this line or that one? How do we know what pizza to order when it’s all in Italian? And were we supposed to bring our own booze?
We ended up ordering the lasagna pizza because that was an Italian word we knew. When we figured out that you can’t get booze, Frank took off down the street to get a tall boy. Classy.
While Frank was on his beer run, I waited in a line in the kitchen/eating area for our pizza. It was so crowded that patrons were forced to sit with strangers. The rest of us all stood in a line, drooling at others’ pizza and their coveted table spots.
You could see the guys making the pizza, throwing dough into the air and all. Every now and then one of them would come out with a couple of huge baking sheets with pizzas on them and scream out a number: “289!! 289!!”
My fear was that he would shout out my number and I would have nowhere to sit! I would be wandering around this crowded kitchen with a giant, hot baking sheet.
Luckily, Frank got back right before our number was called. When the guy started yelling, “294!! 294!” I panicked. “That’s us!” I told Frank. “But we have nowhere to sit!” I immediately starting scurrying around the room, looking for an empty spot. They were just cleaning off an area of one table so I quickly sat and gestured to Frank. A lady said, “You can’t sit here! It’s reserved!” This didn’t seem to me like the kind of place where you could reserve tables so I said, “Really? Reserved?” She said, “You have to have eight people.” I ran to another spot. “This is taken!” someone told me. I found Frank wandering around with the baking sheet and I told him, “I hate it!! I feel like the new kid at school and I’m in the cafeteria and I have no one to sit with!”
Luckily, I’ve never been the new kid but I’ve witnessed new kids come into my school and I’ve seen it in movies. If you were ever a new kid, my hat is off to you. That experience will give you some thick skin.
Finally, someone saw us heading their way with our baking sheet and since she didn’t have a pizza yet, she gave up her seat at this random little counter for us. I was grateful to have a place to sit although I wouldn’t have minded standing, as long as there was a place to set the pizza.
As I devoured the awesome lasagna pizza, Frank kept making nerdy business comments: “Their overhead must be so low! I bet their margins are through the roof!”
The pizza was so delicious we’ll have to go back. And next time will be better cause we’ll be the cool kids.