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News Wed Apr 08 2009
It didn't take long for our story about Hot Doug Drop to make the rounds about town yesterday, but before the day was done, the unofficial Hot Doug's delivery service was put on hold after restaurant owner Doug Sohn talked with Drop owners Nico Westlund and Greg Michaels. The services website was updated with the message, "We're taking time off for Passover and working out some kinks with the Sultan of Sausage... Please be patient, as we may have angered the Big Dog."
"We had that discussion with Doug," Westlund told me this afternoon. "Things are cordial and this morning we were able to meet to discuss things." He said Sohn didn't give them much hope that a full-blown delivery service would return, "but we may be able to use this notion of group buys in some way," operating more like a catering set-up than its current form. "The possibilities are still there, and we're excited to be able to work with Doug," Westlund said.
Sohn was less encouraging when I contacted him after the restaurant closed today. "I told them to present something to me, that I'm always willing, certainly, to listen, but that I wouldn't be hopeful."
Quality control was a major concern of Sohn's in the discussion this morning, Westlund said. According to Sohn, it wasn't the only concern: "The liability aspect started to occur to me, among so many factors, and I was like, yeah, this is going to stop."
Westlund said that the response to news of the service has been overwhelmingly positive, with people requesting drop locations in other neighborhoods around the city, such as Wicker Park. He shared that interest in Hot Doug Drop had him thinking about a broader "bike concierge" service that could deliver delicacies from a number of restaurants -- Kuma's Corner, for instance, which suffers from the same high demand-to-space ratio problems as Hot Doug's. If something along those lines ever develops, we'll let you know.
As for Sohn, he reiterated that he has "absolutely zero plans" to expand in any way. "The part that I like to do, I couldn't do if I were bigger or more that one or a larger kind of set-up. You know, it's the day-to-day, talking to the customers, making up prices as I go along -- you know, that aspect of the job, that's the part I like. And I would totally forfeit all of that if I were to change anything for the bigger."
For the rest of us, it's back in line. Don't worry, it moves fast.