Thanks for all the kind words. I finally got to take some time off. My brother watched the place and I met my wife and kids in Florida for some r&r. As luck would have it, I came down with a cold but still had a good time. Business is still good and I am encouraged by our everyday growth. They say that pitches slow down for professional baseball players and I feel the same way right now - everything seems to be slowing down to a manageable pace. We still have lots of room to improve and that will lead to more growth. But I do not feel like a failure, so that's something
Ernie - I'd love to have you. I've already had one guy from the forums. I sold him a bag of Grande and we chit-chatted for an hour. I love to meet other pizza nerds.
JConk - you are correct, we have a Chicago style crust based on the Malinatti w/Semolina 30%). The major difference is that we use Whirl in place of all of the various oils used in the recipe. Whirl gives the crust butter flavor as well as color. Everyone has commented on the buttery flavor and texture of our crust. I use the cream of tartar in this crust.
The second crust is almost identical to DKM's cracker crust in the recipe bank. Again, I use whirl. I use sugar and salt in this dough (as well as the chicago). For dough handling, we do NOT cut dough balls until we are ready to pan/sheet dough. It rises in cambros overnight. We had to buy a new nylon-roller sheeter for the thin dough b/c our older steel sheeter was not adequate for the low-hydration dough. The brand new somerset we have is rated at something like 300 pizzas per hour. With this dough, I would guess we are closer to 60 per hour. It's that hard to work with (a 13 oz ball makes a 15" pizza with ~2 oz of waste (so really an 11 oz ball for a 15" pizza)). We go through 5+ passes for each piece of dough.
We have two sauces, the thin is a mix of 6-n-1's and full red fully prepared sauce. I add honey, red pepper and basic italian spices. Our Chicago sauce all 6-n-1's with heavy oregano, basil, honey, red pepper, and garlic. We do not cook it. It sits on the line in a collander pan so it strains the juice off. People have raved about the sauce. I take credit when I can, but it's really all in the tomatoes.
Anyway, if anyone is thinking of opening a pizza place, I'm happy to share all of the many, many, many mistakes I've made (as well as the successes, even when accidental). I'm a very frugal guy so much of this was done on a shoestring. And please, if anyone is in KC, stop by and say hello. I'll buy you a pizza and a beer for sure!