The Hunt for Lou Malnati's In Iraq... A true story.
During one of my combat tours to Iraq, my sister asked me what I needed because she was sending me a care package from my hometown, Chicago. I told her that I didn't need anything, but... what I wanted was a Lou Malnati's deep-dish sausage pizza. I also told her that I would even pay for it and I would give her $100 for one pizza. So, she inquired at Lou Malnati's in Darien and they told her, no! Can't do it! Logistics, temperature control, yada, yada, yada. I was highly disappointed. After all, I,e been a loyal customer since the '80s and my favorite location is on Wells St. in River North, not far from where I grew up. And, I used to work at Ed Debevics, but got my pizza from Lou.
So, fast forward. later, I read a story about a little kid that asked his dad if Soldiers were getting pizza like he is. Dad said, I don't know son, but imagine not. Kid asks Pops, can we send them some? Pops says, I'll look into it. Next thing you know, 10,000 pizzas are coming over on a dedicated flight and being delivered by DHL to Iraq, just in time for the 4th of July celebration. The story was published in the Chicago Tribune... look it up.
So, the problem was I didn't know what camp would get them or if there was enough to go around to all the camps. I don't know who decided, but what I decided to do lead to quite an adventure. So, come July 4th, I grabbed my junior warrant officer, my platoon sergeant, and one other Soldier, jumped into my Humvee, without armor protection and I drove to the main camp where the general had his headquarters. We drove an hour through the desert and luckily didn't get shot at. When we arrived, we searched every dining facility, but could not find any pizzas. It was lunchtime and we timed it right, but nothing. After search 5 or 6 chow halls, we decided to head back so we can get some kind of lunch. After we got back to our base, Baghdad International Airport (BIAP) we bee-lined to our regular, neighborhood chow hall. To my amazement, people were eating pizza and the chow hall was getting ready to end lunch. I ran up asking about them and they said that they served all the pizzas they made. But, they did have some left, frozen, and told me that if I want to wait that they would make four, but it would take an hour. I told mess daddy to get 'em going, we're not going anywhere! So we waited an hour and had Lou Malnati's after all. That's my story and I'm sticking to it! Now I live in Plano, Texas and the pizza here sucks! Getting ready to order a few pizzas.