A co-worker came back to the office chuckling after picking up an Iggies pizza for lunch the other day.
There was nothing funny about her pie. (I believe she had the pizza of the month, the PLT, which involves nothing more humorous than sliced fresh tomatoes, pancetta, mozzarella and arugula.)
What amused her were the many customer rules Iggies has plastered on its front windows.
That got me thinking about doing a Top Ten persnickety restaurant rules post, with a sampling from different eateries. Then I got a look at the Iggies website and realized the pizzeria merited a list of its own.
The place actually lists eight rules, under the title, "A few helpful hints to enhance your experience."
Let me pause here to say that I adore Iggies' thin-crust pizzas and inventive salads. I also appreciate the place because it is just a few blocks from my office. I'm sure the rules really are meant to enhance the dining experience. It's just that when you see how many there are, and how strongly they're worded and punctuated -- they use exclamation points here like most pizzerias use mozzarella -- it brings back memories of "Seinfeld's" Soup Nazi.
Like the TV soup-maker, it seems Iggies pizza-makers are perfectionists. So they have high standards for themselves -- and for their guests. For pizza this good, I'm willing to make sure I don't grab a four top when a table for two will do. Does that make me a food-Nazi sympathizer?
I'm sure there are lots of other restaurants out there with strict rules. Golden West's no-sauce-on-the-side stance comes to mind, as does Pazo's "no visible underpants" policy. (Personally, I appreciate the undies rule more than the sauce thing.) Please share your favorites here if you are so inclined.
And now, finally, we come to this week's list.
Top Ten ways to enhance your Iggies experience
No. 1. "although typically you would seat yourself, when there is a line at the register we take names and will seat your party in an orderly fashion. Don't even try to jump the line!"
No. 2. "as noted above, we are self-service, therefore PLEASE clear your own table, placing dishes in bus pans, glasses in racks and trash and recyclables in appropriate bins."
No. 3. "BYOB means Bring Your Own Alcoholic Beverage. We do offer non-alcoholic beverages (quite a nice selection actually) and won't allow you to bring in your own bottled water or 2-liter of coke (or pepsi). Likewise, please don't bring in your own chips, dips, subs, fried chicken, ice cream, chinese carryout, pb & j, etc., etc."
No. 4. "We're a small restaurant with limited seating. Therefore, please sit a table appropriate for the size of your party. In other words, do the two of you REALLY need a table for 4?"
No. 5. "when invited to a friend's home, you wouldn't rearrange the living room, would you? Don't move the tables here either!"
No. 6. "WAIT! That's sea salt on your table NOT cheese! We don't put shakers of (fake) parmesan cheese on our tables. Instead, we use only the freshest ingredients, thereby negating the need to add artificial flavorings."
No. 7. "Need anything? An additional pizza stand? More chairs? Just ask rather than SWIPING THEM FROM THE TABLE NEXT TO YOU!"
No. 8. "And speaking of the table next to you ... even when empty, it's not a coat rack, bus station or your own personal buffet! Please! ONE TABLE PER PARTY!"
Iggie's only enumerates eight (eight!) rules, but here are a few more that can be gleaned from the site.
No. 9. "Iggies was founded upon the notion that great pizza relies upon fresh ingredients and the utmost respect in the handling of them. To that end we use only imported '00' flour, bottled water and fresh yeast in our dough and 100% D.O.P. San Marzano tomatoes in our 'ragu.'"
The pizza-makers have their own set of rules to follow, ones that make customers willing to put up with Nos. 1-8. If they stick to those D.O.P. San Marzano tomatoes, I'm willing to do my part.
No. 10. No tipping.
No problem.Sun file photo of an Iggies pizza