Thursday, March 7, 2013

Flour and Stone

"We're running a lunch special.  A pizza for one and a salad for $19".  This was the start of my dialogue with the Flour and Stone staff, and at prime lunch hour I witnessed several other conversations that started the same way.  I stayed for lunch, but more than half of the others left with various levels of huff and head-shaking.

I'm not sure what Flour and Stone is trying to be, but whatever it is, I don't think it's going to work.  There is a huge and captive business/ tourist lunch crowd in this area, with a whole lot of crappy choices for them.  It's hard for me to imagine shunning this crowd the way Four and Stone does.  When the place first opened, it was dinner-only.  That really baffled me.  Now they're open for lunch, but a solo luncher would be hard-pressed to get change back from a 20.  If they're shooting for some sort of upscale restaurant vibe, neither the counter-service setting nor the sparse decor are going to make that work.

But readers don't want paragraph after paragraph analyzing decorations and business models and what might or might not be going on in the mind of a restaurant's owner. The Sun Times would still have a food section if you did.  You want to know how the pizza is, and I'm going to tell you - not that good.  The crust is thick and overly bready.  It's got more char than Pizza Hut, but it's in the same ballpark.  The sauce is tart and watery, and could use salt.  Toppings include onion and garlic that are still raw after coming out of the oven, and mushrooms that are bland and need more cooking time too.

I saw an interview somewhere, where a Flour and Stone Owner said, bizarrely, that what he is describing as Brooklyn-style pizza is based on the style of pizza he ate growing up in Rochester, NY.  I believe him.

Flour and Stone
355 E Ohio St  Chicago, IL 60611
(312) 822-8998

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