18 August 2008

Two Examples of Attitude, Sam's Style


Sam's restaurant and pizzeria on Court Street in Cobble Hill has been around long enough that it's comfortable telling its customers where to get off. Here are a few of the joint's cozy signs designed to preempt various patron questions and demands. The top sign on the front door's a bit of a conundrum, you have to admit. I get what they're after, basically: The bathrooms are for customers only. But why is the "L" capitalized? And what's with "First"? Pay $2 first, and then you can use the toilet? Also, $2 seems like a random amount. Well, it's this sort of quirk that makes old places like Sam's worth one's while.

Had a pie at Sam's recently, and have to put a word in for one of the more undersung pizzas in Brooklyn. Cheesier than most, but with a good crust and tangy sauce. An honest pie. The 81-year-old man known as "Sam" still makes every single one, a la the tradition of Di Fara's Dom DeMarco. He's done so for 57 years.

8 comments:

ken mac said...

Love Sams! Going there for dinner next weekend..

Brooks of Sheffield said...

I'm told the green olive pizza and the meatball heroes are great, though I haven't tried them. You seem to go to a lot of the same places I do, Ken. No doubt we'll meet one of these days.

Paul said...

Sam's was the place of one my favorite NY restaurant stories. After consuming 7 of 8 slices of a delicious Sam's pie I asked for the check. The waiter continuously ignored me. Finally when he agreed to come over to the table, he said we could have a check when we finished the last piece of pizza ...and he was serious.

Kevin Walsh said...

When I get attitude ... anywhere ... I don't return. I'm paying them, not the other way around. I am courteous wherever I go and I expect the same.

In June (sure, it was Mermaid Parade day, and it was busy, but still) we waited 2 1/2 hours at DeFara's for pizza. Very good pizza. But nothing is worth 2 1/2 hours; he should train a staff to make them. No meanness; but the arrogance in that you should wait till they're good and ready is off-putting.

www.forgotten-ny.com

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Kevin: Cool to have you comment. Love your site.

I know what you mean. However, I'm sometimes willing to put up with a certain amount of attitude if the product is good enough, and for the sake of a certain priceless New Yorkiness. And I'd go through a lot for a Di Fara slice. I'm sorry you had to wait two and a half hours. When the line is that long, I don't get made. I just turn around and come back another time. Opening time is good. I've never waited more than 15 minutes if I arrive early.

Also, I don't think Dom DeMarco is arrogant. Just principled. He refuses to let anyone make the pizzas but himself. He simply believes he makes the pies best, and he's probably right. A staff might speed things up, but I'm certain the quality would go down.

I don't like attitude, but it's hard to live in New York and not get some of it. If it comes from young waiters at a new restaurant, I say: sure, never go back. If it comes from a 70-year-old guy at a 107-year-old business, I say: he's got a right, to a certain extent.

Peter said...

Count me as agreeing with Kevin's comment. No pizza is worth twiddling one's thumbs for over two hours. It's not as if there is only one pizza place in the city.

Phil said...

Haven't gone back since they were rude to us 20 years ago.... the rule then was that you had to sit at the tables in sequence. IE, the one closest to the door (or maybe the kitchen, I forget) first, then its neighboor and so on down the line. That left no room for our (small) stroller and then baby... too bad, said the waiter. They were harsh and rude; I second Kevin Walsh's opinion above and won't ever go back.

Brooks of Sheffield said...

Hm. Lotsa harshness on ol' Sam's. They've been rude to me too in the past. Still, I'm far from wanting them gone.