My initial post at LTH was, as you mention, in April of 2006. The GNR Award came later that year as did the Time Out Chicago article. Saveur's all Chicago issue came out in October, 2007, and Bourdain did his taping in August of 2008; the actual show hitting the air in February this year.
Each new bit of exposure has increased the traffic flow. The real "problem" with the No Reservations show is that the Travel Channel reruns the episode every other week, so there is no let up in the new customers who are seeing the show for the first time. Everybody who sees it thinks they are the only ones to have the idea to come right over and get a table resulting in lots of people turned away almost every weekend.
Those who are smart enough to call, do so days in advance. If they can't call that far ahead, they are calling as early as 9:00am; seven and a half hours before we open. It is not unusual for us to tell people when we open the doors at 4:30pm that there will be a two to three hour wait for pizza.
When callers hear how long the wait is, they assume it is based on table availability. The truth is, it is based on oven space availability and the fact that there is one guy back there making all the pizzas, pulling them from the ovens, cutting them, and wrapping those that are ordered "to go".
The links I posted include negative comments along with the overwhelmingly positive notes. Once you understand that Burt's is a very small operation with generally two people doing everything (one person running the floor, Burt in back handling the kitchen), you come to realize that the negative posters are usually some very self centered people who are annoyed that they just didn't get their way; that the world didn't stop and let them get their pizza.
As for stories to be told, Burt is the master story teller. He is a world traveller who has driven across Asia and Europe back during a time when you could move about freely in countries that we have since been, and in some cases, still are, at war with. The problem these days is finding time when he can sit down and regale you with his tales.
BTW, I'm hardly royalty. I'm just some guy who has been fortunate enough to work with Burt for about 36 years, starting as a sophomore in high school who didn't plan to work there for more than a year. Funny how life works out sometimes ain't it?
<message edited by BuddyRoadhouse on Sat, 11/28/09 2:35 PM>