Anchor Lisa Mullins speaks with Staci Fritz of Ian’s Pizza in Madison, Wisconsin, about the solidarity pizzas being delivered to protesters there, courtesy of donors from all around the US and the world. Download MP3
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Lisa Mullins: I’m Lisa Mullins and this is The World. You’d think that Egyptians would be busy enough with turmoil in their country, they’ve got a lot on their plate. Well, believe it or not, some of them are reaching out to demonstrators thousands of miles away in Madison, WI and buying pizzas for them. Here’s what happened: There’s a place called Ian’s Pizza, it’s right near the statehouse in Madison. It’s just across the street from where tens of thousands of pro-union demonstrators have been gathering for the past nine days. Staci Fritz of the Ian’s Pizza chain picks up the story from there.
Staci Fritz: We had taken some of our end of night pizzas over to the protestors late last Tuesday night. It’s pizza that we would normally throw away, it was about 3:30 in the morning when we closed. And so we took pizza over because people were staying there overnight. And the next day we call in I believe it was from California from someone who said hey, we heard about the pizza that you took and can I order one to be delivered? And we said well, that’s a little unusual, but sure, why not? And from there, I don’t know, it just took off.
Mullins: Do you remember the first call you got from overseas?
Fritz: I just remember going downstairs and seeing country names up on the board and being astounded.
Mullins: What are some of the countries that you’re hearing from?
Fritz: Well, so far there’s Morocco, France, Antarctica, no lie, Czech Republic, Denmark, Australia, Brazil, Egypt, Singapore, Russia, Poland, the Netherlands…people really do innately want to help, and this whole process to me has brought a whole new idea that people are innately good, they want to help. Even if it’s buying pizza for people in Wisconsin.
Mullins: Staci, are all boats rising among the pizza places in Madison or is this really exclusive to Ian’s?
Fritz: I think that all the restaurants from what I’ve heard, all of the delivery restaurants here in the downtown are doing pretty well, compared to what is normal. And I think that there are other pizza places here in town too who I know who have setup Paypal accounts and who are delivering.
We’ve shared drop-off points with them up at the capital. We’re all just pro-pizza, you know.
Mullins: [laughs] Forget the politics. Logistically, how are you guys keeping up with making the pizzas and then delivering them?
Fritz: It’s all hands on deck. Yesterday we had a carload of people from our Chicago restaurant come up and help. We’ve had people come over from our Milwaukee restaurant and help cook, help deliver, help run the front of house, help man the phones, they look a little bit like a telethon at times. Everyone has been really pitching in and been putting in really long hours.
Mullins: Anything you can tell about the people who are ordering and the countries they’re from based on the kind of pizza they order up?
Fritz: [laughs] Everybody loves our mac-n-cheese. They’re all quite taken with the idea of a macaroni and cheese pizza.
Mullins: Oh, well, some people would be anyway. I’m sure it’s fine. All right, Staci, we’ll congratulations. I guess it’s a February for you guys like no other.
Fritz: It has been a wild ride, but it’s been a fantastic thing for us to be able to do.
Mullins: Thank you, very nice to talk to you. Staci Fritz of Ian’s Pizza in Madison, WI.
Fritz: Thank you so much.
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