BUNKER MENTALITY: Pizza Gremlins in Charlottesville


When my significant other, the Yard Sale Queen, and I got together about 12 years ago, I had season tickets to the University of Virginia football games.

At that time, many games were fun and competitive. That is no longer the case. On Saturdays, she really would rather shop yard sales than drive to Charlottesville and enjoy either breakfast, lunch or dinner at our favorite family-owned restaurant in Hooville and attend the game.

The restaurant is convenient to a number of UVA’s sporting venues.

At the Yard Sale Queen’s urging we started attending women’s basketball games, finally purchasing season tickets.

Several years ago, I convinced the Yard Sale Queen to attend the nationally ranked UVA women’s soccer match on a Sunday. She was sold. Now we have season tickets to all home games.

But the kicker was the Yard Sale Queen changed her mind about UVA men’s basketball. She loved watching Justin Anderson, Malcolm Brogdon and wanted a photo of her with 7-1 center Mike Tobey. So, you guessed it, another set of season tickets.

I figure we travel to Hooville about 50 times a year for all four sports, with a few men’s soccer games thrown in. Our friends suggest we rent a condo there.

With so many trips, we eat a lot of meals at our favorite restaurant. The food is good, service excellent – there is little turnover in wait staff – plus, the price is right.

Our favorite dish is the restaurant’s mouth watering pizza. But lately, we and pizza are polar opposites.

This year, we think we are jinxed or cursed every time we order pizza, which usually is at night before a basketball game.

In November, we ordered a pizza. We waited and waited. Maria, our waitress, who knows us well, sheepishly told us that the cook had put the ingredients on the pizza. She explained that a new one was in the oven, but it takes time to cook a pizza. The meal was free, since the kitchen screwed up.

One meal of many fixed incorrectly wasn’t so bad.

The next time, which was days later, we sat in the same booth as the last messed up order and again ordered a pizza. We waited and waited. Customers came in, ordered, ate and left while we sat and fidgeted. The waiter, Elliott, explained that the kitchen was behind and our pizza would be out soon. Actually, he forgot to turn in the ticket. Another free meal.

At noon, on a Saturday, we again ordered a pizza for lunch. Amanda took the order. Within minutes, she came back and said the restaurant was out of pizza dough. The Yard Sale Queen and I did a collective eye roll and chuckled.

The last week in December before a women’s basketball game, April took our pizza order. We waited and waited.

Could this be happening, again? Nah, we thought.

Maria, who just came to work, walked into the kitchen. She smelled and noticed a severely burned pizza and joked about serving it. She had no idea it was ours, although she was familiar with our pizza odyssey. The cook had forgotten to set the timer. Voila, incinerated pizza.

April, apologized profusely and said a new one was in the oven. Another free meal.

The Yard Sale Queen and I scratched our heads wondering why this always happens to us only when ordering pizza.

Gremlins. It’s definitely gremlins in the kitchen sabotaging our pizza orders.

Will we go back to the restaurant? Yes

Will we order pizza again? Yeah. Well maybe.

But when we crave a pizza, we plan to allot more time in case gremlins invade the kitchen again and mess up the order.

But I have to admit even with the wait, as Bob Barker would say, “the price is right.”