Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Chicago Area >
Oct 12, 2008 07:22 PM

Andersonville Dessert Crawl

My husband and I participated in the Andersonville Dessert Crawl today. $25.00 tickets - 12 restaurants gave you a sampling of their desserts. It was great fun and all the desserts were fantiastic. (Middle East Bakery, Ann Sathers, Andies, Reza's, et al) The only downside was the Pasticceria Natalina (an Italian bakery). They gave you no dessert although their cases were packed with them. They gave out a coupon for 15% off your next cake order!! Unbelievable???

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I want to like that place because the pastries and gelatto are good, but it is snooty!

    1. That's no fun. I live in Andersonville and would also like to love Paticceria. Their cannoli are the best I've ever had. Beyond that, I've never been too impressed. I've found that many of their pastries are very dry and lack flavor. Also, you never know if they're going to have a full case or an empty case.

      1. I LOVE Pasticceria Natalina! They are making Sicilian-style pastries that you can't find anywhere else. I've found their quality to be consistently excellent. It's a real neighborhood gem, and one of the very best pastry shops in the entire area.

        And snooty??? Not at all! The people there (including Natalia, the young proprietor, often accompanied by her husband, Nick) are the most down-to-earth you'll find anywhere! They'll be happy to discuss the cakes, the ingredients, the techniques, the weather, anything you'd like (and they sometimes give tastes of what they're in the middle of making).


        I have no association with Pasticceria Natalina other than as a very satisfied customer!

        11 Replies
        1. re: nsxtasy

          Okay, okay... I'll add a bit more here. You are right, nsxtasy, they are as nice as can be. Natalina and Nick are always up for conversation and have never been snooty. I haven't been back to the place in a while and, maybe, I should give it another chance.

          I went quite a few times when they first opened and I think they were still trying to figure themselves out. They started with some savories, too. They had orancini (which were DELICIOUS) and savory pastries, but decided to stick to the sweets.

          Like I said before, they also have the best cannoli I've ever eat. However, I've been three times when they were "out" of the shells or the filling and, for one reason or another, left me hungry and disappointed.

          1. re: nsxtasy

            I have to agree. I am shocked to hear that anyone does not love this place. This might be the best bakery in the Chicago area and they are using very top-notch ingredients. And as for the "snooty" remark above, I can't even begin to understand that comment -- every time I've gone into the place I've been treated as if I were a guest in their home.

            1. re: BRB

              I live in the neighborhood, too, and as I said, I want to like the place because it is right up my alley. I will defer to the advocates and keep an open mind. I was turned off in the past by the aforementioned inexplicably empty cases and, with due deference to others' experiences, barely a glance my way when I have walked in and waited for somebody to stop what they were doing to help me. The anecdote about not participating in the neighborhood dessert crawl except for by providing a coupon just fits with my perception of the place, fair or unfair.

              1. re: BRB

                I don't think anyone said anything about not liking their products. I would have liked a sampling of their products on the "dessert crawl" as advertised. Instead, I got a coupon for 15% off when I buy a whole cake!

                1. re: Didee

                  Frankly, this sounds to me like an organizational failing, possibly on the part of the planners of the "crawl" event. If the event was intended to include desserts at each of the venues, then that should have been communicated beforehand between the event planners and the participating vendors; if it was not, then that should have been communicated by the event planners to the participants. Somewhere there was a disconnect in communications and/or expectations, and we don't really know whose fault it was.

                  1. re: nsxtasy

                    I can't imagine a business owner participating in a "crawl" not understanding what the concept is . It's a "dessert crawl", not a "coupon crawl". Here's a pile of people who paid for tickets to this event, who took the time to walk into your store. They aren't looking for coupons. This is your chance to impress this bunch of customers so they will come back and buy more from you. If you miss that opportunity, that's your fault and nobody else's. Even if somehow the business thought there was a time constraint, you staple a coupon to a "to go" bag of pastry. The fail here is solely on the vendor's side.

                    Even the very best stores can fail for poor marketing. I hope they give a free cannoli or other goodie to every person who bothers to come back with that coupon.

                    1. re: Chris VR

                      I totally disagree. You are making a huge assumption in casting blame and it is not necessarily true. Before this topic appeared, I had never heard of a "crawl", and I'm pretty familiar with the restaurant industry. Natalina and Nick's business is new, and I'm betting that they had ever heard of one, either. Again, it's the responsibility of the organizers of this "crawl" to ensure that the requirements of the event are adequately communicated to, and followed by, all participating vendors. Somewhere the ball got dropped - and unless you are part of the organization of this event, you don't know any more than anyone else where this occurred.

                      Mistakes can, and do, happen. My suggestion is that anyone who participated in the "crawl" and was disappointed, discuss it directly with Natalina at Pasticceria Natalina, and then let us know what the result is.

                      1. re: nsxtasy

                        It doesn't matter what a crawl is or what the owners thought it was. The fact is, they had potential customers in their store, had a chance to really impress them, and didn't do so. It's poor marketing and that "blame" lies directly on the business owner's shoulders.

                        1. re: nsxtasy

                          Pasticceria Natalina volunteered to be on the dessert crawl. There were maps drawn up and tickets printed. They new full well what was expected of them. This is the 3rd annual Andersonville "dessert crawl".

                      2. re: nsxtasy

                        If you believe this is true why did only one of the participants not get the message?

                        1. re: Didee

                          Read the post below from Chowhound username Andersonville, the head of the organization responsible for the "dessert crawl". It explains exactly how it happened.

                2. As Nsxtsy suggested, this was indeed an organizational issue. Pasticceria Natalina had participated in the event in the past, and they were out of the country when we were finalizing the print materials. We took a calculated gamble that they would participate again. But when the owners returned, they let us know they were swamped and would not be able to participate this year. We talked to them about some alternative since they had been included in the promotional materials. The coupon was the best solution reached. Perhaps it wasn’t the best judgment on our part, and we’re very sorry if this strategy caused frustration for participants.

                  Pasticceria Natalina has been a model business neighbor: engaged, highly supportive of community events, an amazing, unique product -- just a tremendous addition to the neighborhood. I personally am addicted to the Baci di Dama. Dark chocolate heaven.

                  Thanks so much to everyone who took part in the Dessert Crawl. Please know that it’s not only delicious but also impactful. The proceeds support the programs of the non-profit Andersonville Development Corporation and its efforts to keep Andersonville environmentally sustainable and comprised primarily of locally owned, independent businesses. We’re disappointed that this year’s event had this glitch and will certainly prevent the issue in the future. If anyone would like to discuss this further, please feel free to contact me by email or call our office: 773/728-7552.

                  Ellen Shepard, executive director, Andersonville Development Corporation and Andersonville Chamber of Commerce