Archives For Pizza

Another Lesson On Customer Service

We live in an age of customer experience…Mickey and Mooch is an upper end steakhouse in Charlotte, NC.  Their meat is top shelf – in fact, you can request Angus or Prime, depending on how much you want to spend, and the portions are good.  The atmosphere is very nice, and it would appear to be a great place to take your wife or special someone for Dinner.  But here’s why I am never going back…

Total Lack of Attention to the Customer

When I arrived with my wife last night – the maitre d’ was just down right unfriendly.  This is the person who creates the first impression.  Even though I had a reservation and arrived early – before the crowds showed up, they sat me at this little table in the corner.  It turned out that this was not actually our “assigned table,” but asking to be moved was like the old Burger King commercial where they guy tries to order onion rings at McDonald’s – everyone goes into slow motion wondering what to do.

Totally Confused About How to Cook a Steak

Confusing the Customer is a Great Way to Begin

Once seated, it was time to review the menu and order.  We were there to have steak, so the decision was made and we started our order. Our server started out by informing us that our steak would be undercooked, so we should just explain how we want it cooked.  That’s odd…good way to confuse the customer.

How Many Steaks Does It Take To Get It Right?

Twenty minutes or so later our steaks arrived.  We both ordered the top end filet…Our server was confused about who got what steak, but after a short experiment we figured it out.  My wife’s steak was more like a brick than a steak.  It looked like they had left it on the grill about 10 minutes too long.  So we sent it back…with the detailed instructions  – Lightly pink in the middle.  Now I cook steaks all the time.  It’s not that difficult.

My wife’s new steak arrived just as I was finishing up my entire meal.  This time her steak was somewhere in the medium rare category. Bright red, with that sort of gelatine look.  Well, that just wasn’t going to work, so we sent it back again, with the side item so it would be hot when the steak was finally done.

Another 20 minutes went by.  Finally the waiter appeared, explaining that the cook, who is also the owner, overcooked the steak again, and was cooking another steak.  When it arrived, it was full of fat – in fact, it was the wrong kind of steak.  We wanted the prime filet – this was not. Back to the kitchen – we’re about 2 1/2 hours into this meal now, and my wife is really looking forward to eating dinner. My dinner is long gone…

The new steak arrives – it’s cooked just right, however, I can hear my wife crunching on her under-cooked broccoli all the way on my side of the table.  We didn’t bother sending it back.

The Moment of Truth – The Check

When my check arrived, I expected them to offer to credit us for her steak.  They said nothing…so I mentioned to the waiter, “Any quality restaurant would have offered something – free dessert, no meal charge, gift card,…”  He said, “Would you like me to say something to the owner?” Of course I would – or I wouldn’t have brought it up.

He returned with our check – without an update from the owner/manager.  So I asked, “What happened?”  He simply said, “Mickey doesn’t really care.”

If you live in Charlotte, do yourself a favor – skip Mickey and Mooch and head over to Sullivan’s, Capital Grill, Ruth Chris…even The Long Horn does a better job all around.

While this has nothing to do with technology – it has a lot to do with repeat clients.  A simple lesson in customer service.  And, if Mickey and Mooch can’t figure out the customer service thing – they might benefit from a cook that knows how to cook a steak.

© 2014, David Stelzl

P.S. I know, this isn’t a Pizza Post…


We’re just returning from a marathon trip – from Australia to Chicago, over to Boston and New Hampshire, back to Kentucky and Ohio, and finally, back home!  Here are a few pictures…with some interesting pizza adventures…

Just Outside of Boston

Just Outside of Boston

Entrepreneurs Conference

My wife and I on stage


David Stelzl Jr. In Action

David Stelzl Jr. In Action

Bennington Pizza - NH

Bennington Pizza – NH

I was surprised to find some pretty good pizza in downtown Bennington.  The crust is a little thicker than I like – more like the Ohio Pizza than NY – but over all pretty good.  I’d recommend it if you are in the area.

My boys trying out the NH pizza

My boys trying out the NH pizza

Rotolo's in Ohio

Rotolo’s in Ohio

Why do the pizza places in Ohio insist on cutting round pizza into squares?

Ohio Sicilian PIzza

Ohio Sicilian Pizza

Sicilian Pizza in Ohio – this was probably the best pizza we had on this trip….

© 2013, David Stelzl

Pizza in Kentucky

April 24, 2013 — Leave a comment

IMG_1710Heading to a conference in Ohio this week – we had a chance to stop in at The Creation Museum with the family.  The meal to order here is the pizza – just my opinion.  It’s not like NY Pizza – much thicker, spongier crust, and if you look closely, you’ll notice some orange cheese sprinkled on the top.  Why do people west of NY insist on putting orange cheeses (such as cheddar), on a pizza?

The good news – the sauce was good, and there’s enough sauce to give it some flavor.  It has a sweet flavor to it, kind of like a Papa Johns Pizza.  In fact it reminded me of a Papa John’s pizza – so I would classify this as a fast food pizza.  I’m sure they don’t have pizza ovens at this place, so chances are they cooked it on the conveyor belt, or possibly in the convection oven.  This is not how a pizza should be baked – either go with the high temp pizza oven or brick oven for a more authentic taste.

My son ordered the personal size, which seems big enough for me, but probably not for a growing teenage son.  The pepperoni was plentiful and tasty – over all, not a bad deal.

© 2013, David Stelzl

IMG_1469Melbourne Pizza

Last time I was here I didn’t have a very good pizza experience, but it turns out there is a great little cafe next to the Melbourne Marriott that offers a great wood-fired pizza.  You can’t really see it from the picture, but the crust is super thin like a Brooklyn style pizza.  The sauce was on the sweet side, but great consistency, and the dough was done in a way that lends itself to folding – an important part of eating a New York style Pizza.  The restaurant is Pomodoro .

Melbourne reminds me of San Francisco in some ways with the small cafes with seating on the sidewalks.  It was an excellent way to begin the trip.  Following are some photos of the amazing architecture you can see in Melbourne…






© 2013, David Stelzl


I arrived back from India just about a week ago, but then headed right to Chicago to visit a client there for the balance of the week.  But before leaving it was important to have more Chicago Pizza!  While I do find places around the country with pretty good NY style pizza, I yet to find a Chicago style pizza outside of the Chicago area…

Me - Ready to Eat Some Pizza!

Me – Ready to Eat Some Pizza!

It took about an hour to get seated – this is the downtown location, right in the center of the city.  But it was worth the wait…notice how thick these pizzas are (Second picture down).  This is not like the UNOs pizza you get in the franchise stores around the country…but then in the third picture you can see the construction of this pizza.  Unlike a good NY Pizza, this pizza has a thick layer of cheese on the bottom, with the toppings melted into the cheese.  Then there is a sauce, which is not at all like the pizza sauce I might find in Manhattan, on top of the cheese.  The sauce was saucier, sweeter, and had some tomato chunks in it – unlike most pizza sauce.  And unlike a NY pizza, the sauce is on top, not on the crust.

In this case I ordered meatballs and sausage.  Normally I would try the pizza without toppings first, just to make sure the pizza itself is good.  Once you know it’s good pizza, it’s okay to add toppings. But I can’t really imagine eating a Chicago pizza with this much cheese, without any toppings.  I think that’s why  this is called “Stuffed Pizza” rather than Sicilian Pizza – a thicker type of NY Pizza, or Pan Pizza – which you might find at Pizza Hut. Notice they do not call it deepdish pizza…it’s simply, stuffed pizza…

Stuffed Pizza

The crust on these pizzas is also interesting…it looks like NY pizza dough when they are making in the back…but it’s much thicker on the pie, and the taste is completely different.  That’s because they add a small amount of corn meal to the dough to give it more body.  You don’t really taste the cornmeal – but you do feel it.

My wife, who joined me for this adventure, says the salad dressing is also excellent – so it’s not just the pizza…I try not to eat bunny food when I am eating pizza.  Somehow it doesn’t make sense to fill up on other things when there’s a great pizza sitting in front of me.  One thing that is always somewhat disappointing – it’s hard to eat several slices of this stuff like I would in NY…it is really filling.  Figure on 1.5 slices unless you’re still in the teenage years.

So next time you’re in Chicago, give Giordano’s a try.  But call ahead to get your pizza started – it takes about 45 minutes to cook one of these things.

Notice the Construction

Notice the Construction


We completed our first day of security sales training, but more importantly, here’s an update on Bangalore pizza!  On this trip I was happy to see that Marriott (my preferred hotel chain) finally has a hotel in Whitefield, just outside of Bangalore India. The last time I was here I wrote about the surprisingly great pizza at the Oberoi Hotel.  I was disappointed to find that the Marriott does not have a pizza on their menu – however, when I showed up for breakfast yesterday, there was a pizza on the breakfast buffet!   Notice the egg in the middle of this pizza…if you are looking for my expert opinion on this pizza, you’re out of luck – This is just a little too weird for me…so I opted for a picture instead.  The crust looks pretty good for international pizza, but that’s as far as I can go.  The good news is, the rest of the breakfast buffet was outstanding.

Our training session was a great experience for me.  I love learning from sales teams around the world, hearing about their experiences and how different cultures approach the sales process.  Last time I was here it seemed that the Indian run companies were not that interested in security – they felt like they had it covered and the threat was not that great.  Things have changed.  The tech business is going strong, and the level of security awareness is high.   Our class focused on the systems engineer’s role in presales support…my goal here is to give them the tools they need to identify security opportunities emerging from their existing projects – mostly data center, VDI, and core infrastructure as well as mobility projects (BYOD).

The SE role is an important one – and with a little sales training, and some coaching on public speaking, this role can become a tremendous asset to the sales organization.  And since most companies neglect giving their engineers this kind of training – those who do create a amazing competitive advantage.

The SE should be the bridge between highly complex technology and the business leader who doesn’t have time to wade through mounds of technical jargon.  They need to make decisions.  In a two day board meeting there might be 30 minutes on the agenda to review the company’s security posture.  Most CIOs are not going to be able to accurately pull together the company’s position, provide accurate insights into the top threats, show how likely the company is to experience loss, and show whether the company’s security posture is trending up or down.  IT most likely can’t provide this information either, in a format board members can consume.  So who will be that bridge?  It should be the presales systems engineer…

Over the next 12 months technology providers would be wise to add this skill set to their existing engineering group.  It may make all the difference in the world.

© 2013, David Stelzl

If you’ve followed my pizza posts – you know I like pizza, and you know I don’t like most of the pizza in Charlotte – my home town for the past 24 years!  But, things have changed.  My wife recently came across Lorenzo‘s in Ballantyne, and what a surprise!

I find it amusing to read comments from other patrons.  When I visit other states I often find that people raised outside of NY don’t necessarily like NY pizza.  For me it’s the standard by which all pizza should be measured (I am speaking of Manhattan, NY here).  That is unless you we are talking about Chicago style pizza, which is good, but which is a whole different category of pizza.

One person writes, “The crust doesn’t seem to be completely cooked – it bends!”  If you come from NY you know why this is funny.  If not, you might actually think this is a problem – for instance, those who like Donatos, Ohio style pizza (if there is such a thing).  Those from NY (and those who like real pizza) consistently (and correctly) give this place a five star rating.

We ordered a regular pie and one with Sausage and mushrooms.  It’s important to taste the pizza without toppings before you rate it.  If it needs toppings, it’s not good pizza.  Once you know it is good, it is fine to add your favorites.  Italian sausage ranks high on my list of pizza toppings.

It’s just like eating at Pronto pizza as far as I’m concerned, or maybe Ray’s Original (which one?).  The crust folds like it should, the sauce has just the right sweetness, and the cheese mixture is perfect.  They serve an 18 inch pie like any NY pizza parlor would (why do these chain pizza places down here insist that a large pie is 14 inches?).  We topped off our meal with freshly filled cannolies…I highly recommend eating here next time you visit Charlotte – and for those who are attending next week’s Business Planning and Strategy Meeting, guess what?  Yes, we are having lunch at Lorenzo’s on Saturday.

© 2012, David Stelzl