What Do I Have to Do to Get Take-Out Around Here?!

by Kevin Flaherty / Photos by Vince Bushell

You might think if a pizza joint chose to locate near Riverwest it would happily deliver pizzas to its nearby neighbors. Not so, say many Riverwest residents. Kurt Schwanz, who bought a house less than a year ago near the intersection of Booth and Meinecke Streets, was astounded to find out he couldn’t get a pizza delivered to his house. Josie Osborne, who lives on Booth Street in the northern part of Riverwest, recalls being unable to get a pizza delivered to her house when she first moved in and wanted to treat her friends who had helped her move. In his quest for pizza, Schwanz tried the Pizza Hut at 334 E. Capitol Drive, figuring the Riverwest establishment would surely deliver to his house. Not so. (Apparently this remains the case, even though the plaza it sits in has been newly renamed “RiverWest Center.”) When the folks at the Capitol Drive Pizza Hut wouldn’t help him, he tried the Pizza Hut located on the East Side on Farwell, which had previously delivered pizzas to a former home of Schwanz’ on Van Buren Street, just south of Brady. The person who answered the phone at the Farwell store told him that Booth Street was too far west. Confused because his old house was farther away than his current one, Schwanz explained that Booth Street is actually one block east of Van Buren (Holton Street turns into Van Buren south of Brady Street) and that Meinecke was seven blocks north (and closer to the Farwell store) of his old Van Buren Street home. He had no luck. Schwanz, not knowing that Packer’s Pizza, Riverwest’s own pizza establishment, delivers to the neighborhood, then tried calling Pizza Man at 1800 E. North Ave. Sorry, he was told, we don’t deliver to that address. Exasperated, Schwanz pressed for an explanation — was it because of a certain perception of his neighborhood? “There is a certain amount of scare factor, yes,” Schwanz says he was told by the Pizza Man employee. But when it comes to delivery in Riverwest, it may be a “Tale of Two Cities” so-to-speak. For example, this author, who lives in the northeast section of Riverwest at the intersection of Humboldt and Keefe, had better success when ordering a pizza. Although I couldn’t get a pizza delivered from the nearby Capitol Drive Pizza Hut (they’ll only go as far south as Keefe on Humboldt), the Farwell Pizza Hut did deliver to my house. When I asked Jason at the Farwell store how far west his store delivered, he told me “You’re pretty much as far west as we go; a couple of houses over and you’d be out of our territory.” Pizza Shuttle, on Farwell, is one pizza place that does deliver to Riverwest. Other restaurants seem less picky than Pizza places: Oriental Coast, a Chinese restaurant on Brady Street, delivers to Riverwest. The Jimmy John’s sub shop on Oakland Street also delivers to homes on Humboldt Blvd, provided they are north of North Avenue. Although many area residents face problems larger than not being able to order in pizza, the lack of service is still irksome to many. Osborne, for one, solved her problem by ordering takeout and picking up the food herself for her friends. “I haven’t tried to order for delivery since,” she says. Riverwest Currents – Volume 2 – Issue 2 – February 2003