Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Failed Mission: Patsy's Pizza's 75th Anniversary Celebration

Patsy's Pizza in East Harlem celebrated their 75th anniversary this week. If you've been living under a rock for the past week, let me fill you in...the original Patsy's Pizza opened in 1933 and today they rolled back their prices to the 1933 prices. That means a 12 oz steak grilled to your liking and served with pasta marinara or vegetables and potatoes for 90 cents. Fried calamari for 45 cents. Fettuccine Alfredo for 70 cents and a whole pizza, yes a whole pizza for 60 cents. 60 wee copper Lincolns. Were Blondie and I psyched? Oh, you betcha...

From what we read on Slice and Gothamist, Patsy's was supposedly offering this deal from 11am until 10pm. Blondie and I met up after work and made our trek uptown. We got there a little bit after 7:00pm and could see the crowd outside of Patsy's from a couple blocks away. Still, it didn't look as bad as we were expecting after reading the report on Eater, so we soldiered on. When we got to Patsy's we noticed that 1) there was an usually large amount of cops in front of the door, 2) the line seemed to be stretching out of the takeout Patsy's pizzeria where they were selling pies and slices at full price, and 3) oh yeah, the signs: Seating from noon until 7:00pm. It was 7:13. Patsy's was closed to new customers. No 60 cent pies for us. Sniffle.

Since we are never up in the neighborhood--heck, I live in Brooklyn; Rock Center is uptown for me--we decided to get in line for slices. While Blondie and I were wondering aloud what the deal was with the time difference we overheard a couple people in line with us say that they also thought the promotion was supposed to be until 10pm. One person who lived in the neighborhood said that there had even been signs up earlier that said until 10pm, though it was their understanding that there was a limited amount of food allocated for the promotion when they were out of food, they were out of food. I was expecting a long wait, and knew that it was possible that we wouldn't get our pizza, and that didn't make it any less of a bummer that they ended things early.

That said, I have to give Patsy's owners' credit. Sure this was a PR draw, but also an anniversary celebration and good will gesture to their customers. They didn't have to offer food at such rock bottom prices and for all the people who gave up and bought slices, I still seriously doubt that they made money today. That said, I wish that they had gotten the word out better about their promotion's time frame. Or been more explicit that there were limited quantities.

Waiting for slices

The slices that we had, $1.75 each (the equivalent of almost 3 pizzas), were good. The crust was super thin (apparently they bake the pies in a 1000 degree oven for just 2 minutes), but a bit floppy for my liking. Enjoyable, I certainly wouldn't turn it down (especially if it was 60 cents a pie!), but with the wealth of excellent pizza in my life I doubt that I'll be making any special trips uptown for another slice soon.

Any Patsy's aficionados out there? How do you think this Patsy's rates against the other branches in the city?

Patsy's Pizza
287 First Avenue, between 117th and 118th streets
New York, NY 10035


Anonymous said...

I live in the hood right near Patsy's and I love it! So cheap and the pizza tastes so fresh and delicious especially the sauce. Agree with the slight sag in the crust but take it home and put it in a skillet for 2 minutes and its perfect crispiness. Ok I'm getting hungry...


theHotness Grrrl said...

I too arrived at Patsy's around 7:30pm totally expecting to cop 3 slices of pizza. I was totally surprised and disappointed to instead find 3 cops at the entrance to Patsy's saying no more food. The special was over and from what I was hearing had been a done deal for at least 2 hours before I arrived. This was total false advertising. On NY-1 that Friday they said that it would end at 10pm and never did they mention that you had to eat whatever you ordered in their dining room which probably holds only 23 people on a good day. So rude. Ended up waiting on line to get a slice at their regular price. I could have stayed on the westside for that!

Anonymous said...

From the very beginning all advertisements for the celebration stated no take out or doggie bags; hence, you had to eat whatever you could in the dining room to avoid greedy people from ordering everything on the menu. A new press release with the time change of 7pm was written up 10 days prior to the actual event. Signs were posted in Patsy's window one week in advance as well stating the time change. It's unfortunate to read unappreciative comments about such a humble event the owner of Patsy's Pizzeria wanted to have.

Anonymous said...

To all the ungrateful: These generous people decided to do this to thank the supporters of East Harlem. I thought it was a wonderful gesture of paying it forward. All of this griping is so upsetting, because they did not have to do this. The food was great and so was the staff and management. I was very impressed and I will be back again and again. This is why East Harlem hardly ever receives anything nice like this. They had lots of food and did feed everyone on line. You must have been on the wrong block. Try counting your blessings before knocking them. I also loved the police presence as well. I felt safe that nothing would get out of hand. PATSY's ROCKS!!!

Anonymous said...

if you did your homework on patsy's and the owner you would know to come early. not only did you not get a piece of cheap pie but you missed the fire fighters and police duke it out in the pizza eating contest. you missed a few important signature of Patsy's giving back to the community. promotional gimmick or not. you snooze you lose. but their trying to make it happen every year so don't procrastinate hoping someone will save you a slice next time. i thought it was a very successful mission. people who have never tried patsy's pizza, regulars, family, friends, and all the community came out to support. if all you wanted was a cheap pie, lower east side has slices for a dollar. it won't be a cozy, full serviced, historical restaurant tho. Patsy's does rock!

Blondie and Brownie said...

Wow. I can't believe that over a year later this post is still generating venting anon Patsy's shill comments.

This post wasn't "hating" on Patsy's. You might have noticed that if you had bothered to actually read this post. Before posting we talked to other bloggers about the timing of the event and they had all seen the original press release so obviously this supposed "new release" wasn't that widely circulated. We also talked to people in the neighborhood who said they had walked by the day before and hadn't see those signs. They could have done a better job at getting the word out about the revised timing of the event. If we had known that it ended early, we would have gone earlier or not at all. It's that simple.

Was this a nice way to celebrate the restaurant's historic anniversary? Yes.

Did Patsy's owners have to run this promotion? No.

Would the New York media have given Patsy's as much basically priceless PR without this promotion? Probably not.

Would the media, or anyone for that matter, have cared if they had known upfront that the hours were only until 7:00pm? Probably not.

Do I actually think that Patsy's owners owe me anything whatsoever? Um, no.

Case and comments closed. Thanks!