Saturday 3/12/06 - Organ Piper Pizza, Departure

We woke up at 9:30 am. While showering and getting ready for the day we turned on the TV. After the big hit we discovered yesterday morning we found ourselves watching "Tokyo Revealed" on the Travel Channel. Even though it was one of those awful "here's a secret" travel shows we still found it very enjoyable and eye-opening. Craig fired up the in-room coffee maker but, as he suspected they would do, they hadn't replaced the creamer or the sweetener. It's not like the hotel was busy, they even said so when we arrived. How hard is it to replenish the only consumables in the room? This was despite the fact that before heading out last night, knowing there would be a problem, we had stopped at the front desk and requested extra creamer for our coffee. I'll bet if we took something from the mini-fridge they would have been aware of that. Overall we consider ourselves pretty easy to please when staying at a hotel and don't really ask for much in terms of service, but the only thing we specifically asked for was completely ignored by the staff. Needing coffee in our system, we didn't have time to call the front desk and ask for it again, so we made a pot and drank it much darker than we would prefer. We also did not have the normal check-out paperwork tucked under our door so we would have to spend a few extra minutes at the desk on the way out.

We had a pretty leisurely morning hanging around the room. We showered, packed our things, and went down to the lobby to check out at noon. Craig took one look at the bill and realized there were numerous telephone calls that we could not possibly have made. We did make a couple local phone calls when planning the trip to the Bel Canto Chorus the night before but this list of calls was rather substantial. Closer inspection revealed a pattern that wasn't even possible from a single phone line. There were muliple-minute phone calls all starting at the same time with all sorts of other overlapping. Feeling rather frustrated with the whole thing, Craig told them what calls we actually made and refused to pay for any others. He also took that opportunity to bring up the failed coffee supply mission. It's really a shame that we had these little problems at the hotel. The hotel was quite nice and seemed to be a great place to stay but they just really failed at the little details which normally is the easy part to excel at.

Before coming to Milwaukee, we had seen Organ Piper Pizza on the web. We had visited a similar place on our 2004 trip to visit Tyson and Dan in Arizona, and were really intrigued by the kitschy nature of a pizza restaurant with live Wurlitzer music. At the time we first discovered these places even exist, we pictured Rick Wakeman playing such a thing. We found it highly amusing that we were faced with finding another one so close to where Rick would eventually be playing. We really felt like we needed to visit this place. Suddenly we would become connoisseurs of the Wurlitzer-playing pizza establishment. Why don't they have these things near house? Needing something to eat before flying home, we decided that we would eat lunch at Organ Piper on our way to the airport. It was a little out of the way, and would require an additional taxi ride after eating but it would be worth it. Stepping out the front door of the hotel we caught a cab for the 15 minute ride to Greenfield, Wisconsin. Craig and I weren't overly talkative after checking out and enjoyed the view out the taxi window. We drove past Miller park where the Brewers now play. It seemed awfully commercial to us but was a rather nice, modern looking stadium that looked ready to handle the large crowds. Our taxi driver, Raji, said that it would be rather difficult for us to get a cab after lunch because the area we were heading to is very residential. He gave us his card and told us that he would stay in the area. He said he had a quick errand to do while out this way and that we could call him when we were ready to be driven to the airport. We were both amazed at how nice and helpful Raji seemed. Once again we couldn't imagine a cab driver at home being this patient and helpful and yet this seemed to be the way it worked in Milwaukee. This was before we even provided him with a tip so it wasn't even like he realized it would be worth his while to wait for us.

Arriving at the restaurant pretty much as soon as it had opened for the day, we noticed that it looked very quiet. There were very few cars in the parking lot and we wondered if it would be a good decision. We went into the restaurant, and were immediately struck by how much it resembled Mesa's Organ Stop Pizza, both inside and out, only Organ Piper was a bit smaller. It did not have an upper floor which gave a balcony view of the organ, like Organ Stop had. The ordering worked the same way as Organ Stop. First you order your pizza at one counter and then your drinks at a second counter. With drinks in hand you go back to your table or booth. We chose to sit at a booth against the wall directly across from the Wurlitzer. Craig got a Leinie's Red Lager and I had a berry wine cooler. When our pizza was ready, our number lit up on a large display board. We ordered a large sausage pizza.

There were a lot of birthday parties being celebrated here today. Several groups came in and settled at the long reserved tables in the center of the building. The organist started playing at 12:30. Because most of the birthday party people were standing up, it was hard to get a view of the organ. We didn't really consider this problem when we chose our table and might have made a different choice since it seemed the groups were completely unaware of us trying to actually watch the organist playing. For the locals I am sure this isn't such an odd treat and they are unaware that others might be a little awestruck at the whole thing. The Wurlitzer is a fascinating instrument to watch. A few minutes later our pizza arrived and it was very tasty. It had a rather thin crust and the cheese and sauce reached all the way to the edges. The sausage was also very tasty but as a whole it was a little oily. We placed the pizza on a little stand. This is another thing we always wished they had at home. They are very helpful when trying to conserve space on the tabletop since the pizza is now actually suspended above the tabletop giving you more space for all the other items that grace the top of a restaurant table.

The organist played a "Sound of Music" medley, "Puttin' on the Ritz" (which made us laugh and think of "Young Frankenstein"), "Beauty and the Beast", and, of course, one of the highlights from our trip to Organ Stop Pizza, "Under the Sea." Like at Organ Stop, there were whole rooms with pipes and baffles for the acoustics. There were various organ-controlled percussion instruments on all the walls. There was a deer head right above the Wurlitzer. There was an electrical cord attached to it, and we wondered if sometime during the performance it would animatronically come to life. There was an American flag rolled up in the corner, and we assumed that it would unfurl in a tacky patriotic display during the playing of some nationalistic song. At Organ Stop Pizza they had done a similar Vegas-style rendition of "Proud to Be an American" complete with flags and flashing lights. We were somewhat disappointed that we didn't get to see the full effect of all of the kitschy accessories, but alas we were running out of time. We called Raji for a ride at 1:05. He said that he would be there in about 5 minutes so we left the table and went outside. Within a few minutes Raji pulled up at the front door. What service.

Feeling quite a bit more talkative after filling our bellies and marvelling at the splendor that is Organ Piper Pizza, we had a very nice chat with Raji. He told us he is from Punjab, India and was a farmer. When Craig said "Oh, so you must be a vegetarian then". Raji got a big smile and said that he was. He genuinely seemed happy that we had even the slightest knowledge of his home country and state. He told us that he is halfway through a 3-year work visa in the United States. At home he has three children and a 100-acre farm. He wants to try to extend his visa for an additional 2 years in order to make more money to bring back to his family. He says that driving a cab in Milwaukee has been very profitable for him and that he pretty much does very little other than work while he's here. His family is keeping the farm running and his income will help the entire family. We really enjoyed talking with him on the 15 minute ride to the airport. Raji told us to keep his card and to call him if we ever end up back in Milwaukee. We joked that we wanted to call him when he gets back to Punjab.

Once at the airport, we checked in very smoothly and found ourselves with some time to kill. We went into the gift shop and bought a few Green Bay Packers goodies for our nephews. While there, Craig suggested I try on a cheesehead hat for a photo op. I want to be clear that this in no way compromises my loyalty to the New England Patriots.

Our plane took off on schedule at around 3:30. Craig had a Leinenkugel's beer but also asked for some cranberry juice. I had some apple juice. Knowing the routine on Midwest Airlines, we patiently waited in anticipation. Not too long into the flight there it was, the smell we were waiting for. Once again we were served the delicious in-flight-baked chocolate chip cookies. We landed in Boston at around 6:40 pm, picked up our car in the parking lot, and then drove home. Another fantastic weekend trip even without Rick Wakeman appearing. What a shame we won't be able to return again when he will be in town.
Wurlitzer organ, Organ Piper Pizza

Organ pipe bay, Organ Piper Pizza

Air-fed drumkit, Organ Piper Pizza

Air-fed upright piano, Organ Piper Pizza

Organist, Organ Piper Pizza

Bar, Organ Piper Pizza

Steph as a Cheesehead

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