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Plan B for Able Trek Tours

The way social media tends to be framed can give us an impression that everything works out amazing for everyone.  That’s not reality.  The reality is that things happen, stuff is out of our control, and it’s important to not panic and work hard to make sure that we are doing our very best to enrich the lives of guests that choose us as their dining and entertainment.

Able Trek Tours is a company from Reedsburg, WI that we guide a few private tours for every year.  We have a great relationship with them, and I’m always excited when I get the email from owner Don letting me know another group is ready!  On 3/11 we had a tour scheduled for a group of 44 special needs guests set to make a run from their hotel in Bensenville down to Flo & Santo’s, Aurelio’s, and Lou Malnati’s.  But something happened.  At 10:30am, just 30 minutes before we were supposed to start, we got the phone call to let us know that their tour bus wouldn’t start.  That’s a gut wrenching call.  I know that this is a major part of their guests entertainment for the weekend and quite honestly, I’ve been there several times with the bus not starting the morning of!  I worked with guide Jonathan Knotek on the situation and when it was determined that we were running out of options even if they did get the bus started, we came up with a plan B.  It’s important to note that on this particular day, we had 4 sold out tours going with more than 100 guests signed up during Chicago’s St Patrick’s Day Parade and dyeing the river green!

I quickly called Lou Malnati’s, Giordano’s, and Jim & Pete’s and got 50lbs of pizza ordered up.  We were going to have a pizza party at their hotel in Bensenville, and I was going to be the delivery guy.  I was able to make it to their hotel about 2 hours after I got word that their bus was dead.  Big thanks to Country Inn & Suites Bensenville for giving us the space to conduct a pizza tour on-site featuring three amazing pizzerias.

The guests started off with thin crust pizzas from Jim & Pete’s.  Jim & Pete’s is now located in Elmwood Park just a few blocks from the Chicago border, but did you know that they may have been the 2nd officially licensed pizzeria to open in Chicago?!  Always great, thin crust tavern style from that spot and a great way to start a pizza party!

Next up, we had Lou Malnati’s.  This allowed us to give the full story of deep dish pizza going back to Rudy Malnati Sr helping create the 1st deep dish pizza at Pizzeria Riccardo in December of 1943.  Then finally we moved onto Giordano’s and their famous stuffed pizza.  We were able to talk about the origins of where the stuffed pie came from, and what makes a stuffed pizza different from deep dish.

It’s something I take for granted that the 3 pizzas they sampled covered eating pizza in Chicago from the late 1930s through the early 1970s, and those are just a few locations that are close to my house!  All in all, I believe the afternoon was saved, it was a little nerve racking on my end, but I know that Able Trek had more events on their schedule and had to come up with their own plan B for those.  We were glad that we could at least take this off their to do list.  Enjoy some pictures from the pizza party!

Progression of picking up 50lbs of pies:








The restaurants that helped us out:










And the actual party: