On an evening stroll through the city of San Francisco, Aleta and I ducked into a small Italian restaurant called Pazzia near the corner of 2nd and Fulsom. Pazzia isn’t a large franchise reaching from coast to coast, it doesn’t pop up on my google map, and doesn’t seat that many guests. I’m guessing its maximum seating capacity is around 60 – tops. Aleta and I were craving good Italian food, and I’m telling you we were glad we ducked into this hidden gem. Massimo immediately understood we had no idea that we needed to call ahead to make a reservation, and yet he immediately found a way to seat his out-of-town guests. The waiters swooped in with delicious bread, virgin olive oil, and a fine wine selection. Our salad and main course were fantastic – the best Italian I’ve had in a long time! In fact, their Tiramisu came dangerously close to being as good as Aleta’s homemade version. It was fantastic and we didn’t care that Pazzia was small, the service intimate, the ambiance not completely polished, and the dining elbow to elbow. It was absolutely lovely.
What struck me was the passion of the entire team despite the smallness of their venue. Their restaurant exuded no desire to expand in any way. No signs of expanding to the building next door. They conveyed a sincere contentment being who they were, doing what they did, with great passion. They knew most of the guests by name, they treated newbies with kindness, and they kept the main thing the main thing by serving great food.
I obviously didn’t get to interview the main guy Massimo, but I’m guessing that if I interviewed him he wouldn’t have been wondering “how effective our restaurant is in this big city.” I’m pretty sure he didn’t really care that they weren’t “finding new ways to expand their seating capacity.” I’m also pretty sure his team loved the way it was at Pazzia and they were quite passionate and content being the best Italian restaurant in that small section of San Francisco for the people who lived in that area of the city. They knew seating capacity, building size, menu size, or number of franchises had nothing to do with being any more or less of a fantastic restaurant.
It dawned on me that Pazzia is a great analogy for another issue. More to come . . .