First, let’s get to the important news: Jet’s Pizza, 4112 Dempster St., will be giving out free slices of pizza from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26. The first 50 customers will also get a complimentary t-shirt.
Now, let’s get to the bold statement Jet’s co-owner Mark McConnell made: “Detroit is a bigger pizza town than Chicago,” he said. For the record, McConnell was being playful and half serious when he said that.
But Skokie is growing on McConnell, who moved from Warren, Mich., with his cousin, Kevin O’Donnell about two years ago.
“The way I see it, two more years and I’ll start calling myself a Chicagoan,” McConnell said. “I looked for a good solid year for a location to open [Jet’s Pizza]. I went to Glenview, Evanston, Park Ridge, but I just kept coming back to Skokie.”
McConnell said the residents of Skokie have surprised him by their hospitality.
“I had all these nearby business owners come by and give me good luck $20 bills,” he said. “Residents would check up on me during our construction and the cool thing is, they’re still stopping in to see how things are going.”
McConnell, who also works as an officer for Northwestern University in his spare time, met his business partner when he was just a kid.
“I grew up with Kevin. Our moms are sisters,” he said. “We lived down the street from each other. Went to college together. Opened a business together.”
McConnell, who went to Michigan State University, worked at a restaurant called Jambalaya in college. He added that his business role model was his former boss.
“I worked in the restaurant industry forever,” he said. "I looked up to [my boss] so much. He treated us with respect and we all worked our butts off because we didn’t want to disappoint him.
“He talked to us like he was our family. That’s how I treat my staff and they bring it to my customers,” he added. “I have never gotten a complaint from a customer.”
All of Jet’s Illinois pizza locations will be giving out free pizza on Saturday, Jan. 26. Be sure to check with your local Jet’s Pizza for what time the promotion will run.