Three for three this week with Give Pizza A Chance, the artisan pizza cart around the corner on Stark, and if I follow my pace, this will be my second week in a row with pizza from there for lunch, every day.
The Spinach Deep Dish. The whole wheat crust is made daily, and it has this fantastic buttery/crispy bottom, while the top is chewy and soft, with the ingredients flipped in order, cheese on the bottom and sauce on the top, Chicago style. I'm honestly breathing more deeply just thinking about it.
The Greek is new, and it's nice. A sicilian-style crust, and simple, with greek olives, artichokes, tomatoes, some sort of heavenly olive oil. Sigh.
Today I was sitting there eating my slice, and some guy must've heard my soft moaning and said to me, "That Greek is pretty good, isn't it." He was a huge guy with a shaved head, thick studs in both ears, giant lambchop sideburns. "John is out of control," he said, shaking his head, referring to the guy who runs the cart.
You and John old friends?
"Actually, John's family and mine lived together as part of a numanistic faith community."
At least I think he said "numanistic"? But when I looked it up afterwards, I couldn't find much other than this, on a blog called Numanistic Experience.
I asked my fellow Greek pizza fan to explain. "We're an intentional community. We live in consideration of our impact on the world and each other. Instead of trying to make yourself invisible, which is sort of the normal way to live in a community these days, we try to put ourselves out there, in support of each other," he said. "It's not easy."
"We don't live there anymore. My wife and I are finishing eight months in Bangladesh doing development work, and in June, we'll be moving into a house in a regular neighborhood. But we'll try to take some of that community mindset with us."
He left me thinking about the overlap between those values and the delicious pizza. Once I told Aaron that I believe 'Artisan' to be the model that points the way forward for business. "Artisan is just another way to say- " I started to say, "Spiritual," Aaron finished.
Hm, that wasn't what I was going to say, but yes. Spiritual. Stumptown has certainly found the spirituality in coffee, and Apple has found the spirituality in computers, and you can taste the spirituality in John's pizza.
Love. That's what I was going to say. Artisan means loving something - whatever it is that you make or do - as much as it can be loved, and then loving people so much that you have to share it with them. It transforms everything: the process, the product, what sort of quality you demand, who you work with, your relationship with your customer/client, everything. Can't be faked. Can't be adopted strategically. People can tell.
There's job security in artisan. The only people who can compete with you are other artisans, and they're rooting for you. They like good competition.