Friday, September 7, 2012

Derrick Rose the face of Chicago pizza?

It amused me to learn Thursday that Chicago Bulls star player Derrick Rose has become a significant owner, and will now be the face of, Giordano’s pizza.

For me, it is just too much of a stretch to have to associate his name with those deep dish or stuffed pies. While I know this statement will make me sound like an antique, I can’t help but think that I was eating Giordano’s pizzas long before there ever was a Derrick Rose.

I MEAN THAT literally. The Bulls star who is trying to resuscitate his athletic career from torn ligaments wasn’t even born yet back when I first had a Giordano’s brand pizza.

The idea that a company that has been around Chicago for as long as Giordano’s (some four-plus decades) is turning to a ballplayer to promote its image (athletic careers are so unstable and can come crashing down at a moment’s notice) just strikes me as bizarre.

It’s not a slam against Rose – who is the local-boy favorite who made it out of Englewood to stardom until his injury. But what happens when Rose’s career is over?

Is Giordano’s now the company whose billboards have a blank space (insert face of fly-by-night athlete here) for their self-promotion?

ALTHOUGH I HAVE to confess, it must be nice to have the kind of money to buy one-self a brand-name product to associate with their own image. Crain’s Chicago Business reported that Rose paid an undisclosed amount for his share of the company, which he’d like to see become more of a national player on the restaurant scene.

Which just might be possible, on account of the fact that whenever I travel outside of Chicago, I have no problems finding restaurants that offer “Chicago-style pizza” – only to find out that those pizzas bear no resemblance to anything that any self-respecting Chicago consumer would ever consider consuming.

No matter how hungry they might be.

A chain of Giordano’s, done right, could well spread the concept of real deep dish or stuffed pizzas to other parts of the nation.

IT COULD ALSO make Rose so wealthy, if done right, that he doesn’t have to worry about ever playing ball again – except to assuage his ego.

Now for all of you who are on the verge of sending me e-mail messages telling me something along the lines of “Giordano’s sucks!!!,” I don’t need to hear it.

I never proclaimed it to be the best pizza.

But back when I was a kid, pizza largely was a thin-crust offering. The quality deep-dish came from Uno’s or Due’s – which meant a trip downtown. That’s not always convenient when one decides to indulge in the slices that are a meal in-and-of themselves.

GIORDANO’S WAS THE place that had so many locations that you could get a passable pizza pie without having to make a long trip.

I still remember the location of the Giordano’s I first ate at – and my mouth still waters whenever I go near it, even though now it is a long-vacant storefront. Giordano’s left there a while back.

Now, I have moved up, and consider myself fortunate to live near a Lou Malnati’s restaurant that will deliver.

I do find it a little humorous that Rose won’t be able to do any kind of business tie-in between himself, Giordano’s and the Chicago Bulls. The NBA team, after all, has a business deal with DiGiorno’s – those frozen pizzas that like to think they’re some sort of gourmet delicacy.

FROZEN PIZZA IS frozen pizza – regardless of the details. Let’s just hope that Giordano’s doesn’t decline to the level of the last Chicago athlete who tried to make extra money from pizzas sold in his image.

Because the concept of Ron Santo’s Pizza was foul enough that, perhaps, the one-time Chicago Cubs third baseman deserved a lengthy delay getting into the Baseball Hall of Fame for that reason alone.


No comments: