If you've been following the pizza war between Virgilio's and Belmar, a turf battle over Belmar's upcoming Festival Italiano and its refusal to allow Virgilio's to participate, then you know there's a heated debate in the comments section (seventy and counting, last time I looked). One of those comments is from a guy who calls himself "Doug" -- and Doug, it seems, took the time to contact Belmar general manager Lary Herkal, whose decision it was to deny Virgilio's participation in the festival.
Doug must have a lot more clout than I do, because when I e-mailed Herkal earlier this morning to ask about the reasons behind his decision, I got squat. Nada. A big black hole of nothing.
But Doug got himself a big ol' e-mail from Herkal, which he then posted in the comments section. And Herkal's note is interesting, because while he insists that the "festival could only accommodate 4-5 pizza vendors," he then goes on to write, "The three pizza vendors that will be participating at this year festival, Grammy's, Mici and Belmar's The Oven, are all small local based companies."
So, let's see if I have this right: By Herkal's own admission, the festival can house four or five pizza joints, but there are only three pizza vendors participating, which means, at least by my math calculations, that at least one additional space is available. Two, if Belmar wants to be generous. Herkal doesn't address that puzzlement in his note to Doug, but he does "accept full responsibility for the process and the actual selections that were made."
Read what else Herkal has to say after the jump.
Subject: RE: Virgilio's Ban from Festival Italiano Date: Wed, 26 Aug 2009 11:47:56 -0600 From: LaryH@Continuumllc.com To: xxxxxxxxxxxxxx CC: Caroleyii@mindspring.com; StephJ@Continuumllc.com
I appreciate your sharing with us your disappointment that Virgilio's Pizzeria will not be participating in this year's Festival Italiano. Because the number of vendors desiring to participate in the festival has grown to be more then the number of locations available, we alerted all past vendors that there would be a formal selection process this year. We had further advised the previous year's pizza vendors that the Festival could only accommodate 4-5 pizza vendors and that we anticipated more applications than available spaces. Our selection committee is made up of members from our management and marketing teams within our company. None of the retailers at Belmar participate in the selection committee. It was extremely difficult to choose as we appreciate all of our past vendors that have participated in the Festival. Out of the 60 applications received, we only have locations for 48 vendors. In addition to Virgilio's Pizzeria, there were other pizza vendors who had submitted applications that we were unable to accommodate.
We have always provided the tenants of Belmar the right to participate in the Festival. It is their financial contribution to the operations and maintenance of Belmar that makes Festival Italiano possible. The three pizza vendors that will be participating at this year festival, Grammy's, Mici and Belmar's The Oven are all small local based companies. In the end, I accept full responsibility for the process and the actual selections that were made. I apologize that we are unable to accommodate everyone who wishes to participate in this year's Festival.
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Lary Herkal General Manager Belmar 355 South Teller Street Suite 210 Lakewood, CO 80226
Posted On: Thursday, Aug. 27 2009 @ 10:31AM
Virgilio, for this part, is throwing an Italian festival of his own on the same days, and at the same time, as Belmar's Festival Italiano, September 19-20, and he's giving away a ton of free food that he hopes you'll support in donations, all of which will be given to Children's Hospital.
Have a slice or three for me.