Home > Cuisine by Brian Schropp > Pizza for Pondicherry, Part I

Pizza for Pondicherry, Part I

Brian Schropp on Cuisine

Brian Schropp on Cuisine

It was late afternoon at the ‘Pizza-A-Round’ when I heard the commotion up front. It sounded even more intense than the usual ‘beginning of the early dinner’ rush so I left my ‘managerial sink’ to investigate. The focal point of this chaos was front and center in the phone area. My manager, Scott and the new assistant manager (we go through assistant managers very quickly), Melvin were fluttering all over the place screaming and yelling. This in turn was sending the phone staff into complete nervous wrecks.

“Get Sharkie on the CB and see if he’s made that delivery to Deep Eastern Lankville yet!!” Scott yelled to Melvin.

My manager Scott relaxing at home.

My manager Scott relaxing at home.

We use what Scott calls an ‘advance’ CB system system with our drivers to ensure speedy deliveries. The central giant CB is located right outside of Scott’s office next to the phones. Melvin put on the headset and flicked a few of the giant switches. “Pizza Break 5-Pizza Break 5 this is home base-over-can you give me a locale on your delivery-over-” After a moment Melvin shook his head. “He’s caught up in traffic on the East Side, will be about another 20 minutes before he even makes it to the actual delivery.”

“Well he’s going to be caught up in a lot more when he gets back.” We knew from the expression on Scott’s face that this could be Sharkie’s last night on this planet.

Scott saw me looking on and his face lightened a little. “Guess what, Bri? Someone big just ordered one of your ‘Mid Morning Snack Pizzas’ with an extra cheeseburger. I’m not talking big like ‘Big’ James who runs the nacho station, I mean big in name. None other than President Pondicherry himself!”

I was taken aback for a moment. “Wow!! If he likes it and word starts to get around–”

“Big things Bri, very big things. HUGE THINGS. Ever thought this place could have it’s own private jet? Might be a reality if—”

​The Mid-Morning Snack Pizza for $29.95

​The Mid-Morning Snack Pizza which retails for $29.95

The downside hit me all at once and I knew the need for panic. I finished the sentence “—we can get it there quickly.”

There is a long history of President Pondicherry ordering from pizza places, then the place failing to get it there ‘fast enough’. Some of the best of the best– ‘Crust-A-Must’, ‘Three Fat Guys And One Skinny Guy Pizzeria’, and ‘Elbows Deep in Sauce’ crumbled after not making the cut. Sure they were fast but no 15 or 30 minute guarantee is good enough for the President. If he wants a pizza he wants it that second.

“Can someone from the line give me an ETA on the pie?!! I need someone on the fries and cheeseburgers in a few. Where is Charlie the nugget guy? I want those nuggets CRISP!!!” A slight sweat was forming on Scott’s brow.

Outside of the “Pizza Eggwich” this particular pizza is the most complicated to make. Each section, the cheeseburgers, the fries, the nuggets are like a piece of the overall puzzle with each part to be done at the correct moment to ensure the best result. And we needed this one to be the best ever!!

“Melvin, see who else is on the road and can be here in three minutes. I want this out the door after dropping it in the box.” Melvin called around on the central CB and soon looked at Scott just shaking his head. I knew Melvin was going to be a goner before too long.

Scott looked directly at me. “Bri, you’re going to need to run this one.” For a moment all commotion stopped in the “Pizza-A-Round”. The only sound was a pizza cutter hitting the floor.

“But-but Scott the Presidential House is clear across town!!”

My most important customer ever?

My most important customer ever?

“We have no choice in the matter. By the time any of these drivers came back and got back out on the road it will be way too late. I know the pizza will be heavy, I know it’s going to weigh you down some. But don’t worry– just stick to the main highways and weave in and out of traffic. People might slow down if you keep yelling that you’re making a Presidential pizza delivery but they would need to hear you so it’s unlikely. Not with that soft, gentle voice of yours.”

I started to complain and whine but it was no use. I knew Scott well enough that the look in his eyes meant there was no alternative.

“Go get yourself cleaned up, you’re a soppy wet mess. You have two minutes before it’s ready.”

I stumbled off mentally preparing myself when I noticed that the annoying girl who is in here all the time with her boyfriend was waiting to be seated (we have a small ‘dining area’ in a room right off the entrance). I grabbed two menus and led them to a table. With all that was happening I sorta mumbled that someone would be with them in a moment and started to walk off accidentally hitting the side of another table with my leg. The girl giggled (she never says anything) and then her boyfriend whispered something in her ear which made her laugh out loud. I had no time for this– I was moments away from beginning the run of my lifetime. A run that could make or break me.

Please join me gentle readers for my next article where I will give you the thrilling details about delivering a pizza to our very own President. Until then keep your mind and mouths open to new ideas. Happy Eating!!-Bri

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