Helpful ReplyHot!The post no one wants to write, Gregg Pill has passed away

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Davidsanders
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Re: The post no one wants to write 2019/06/25 20:14:57 (permalink)
BuddyRoadhouse
We both came bearing gifts the first time we met.  I brought Barbecue Sauce, and the man I then only knew as ChiTownDiner brought a T-shirt from his favorite Westmont BBQ Joint, Uncle Bub’s.  I was familiar with the place, and thought their ‘Que was okay, but nothing special.  I never told him that, because from the moment I met him I wanted him to be my friend.
 
That was his magic.  It didn’t matter who you were, you wanted Gregg Pill to be your friend.  We disagreed on politics, the merits of an Excel Spreadsheet versus a Word generated Itinerary in planning a Crawl; we even had a public squabble or two, but through it all I still always wanted him to be my friend.  Everyone wanted that.  Fortunately, there was plenty of Gregg to go around.
 
That first meeting took place on an outing organized by chicagostyledog; a Vienna Beef Tour of Chicago’s North Shore Suburbs.  Gregg was the new kid that day.  He was excited about meeting all of us and we welcomed him immediately.  Like I said, everyone wanted to be his friend.
 
The tour thread was just five pages long, including the planning stage and the report.  Gregg only posted in it a handful of times. His longest effort was a review of the day.  Reading it reveals a very different guy than the one we’d all come to know and love.  He was still a little green back then.  He hadn’t learned about pacing yourself and not overindulging at any one stop (did he ever learn?).  He had to call it quits before the last stop at Portillo’s for their famous Chocolate Cake.   He was satisfied back then to take a passive role and let others lead the way.  He was just so happy to be hanging with the cool kids.  Eventually he’d be the cool-kid-in-chief.
 
That day lit a fire in our boy.  He became a first-class Roadfood Explorer, always on the hunt for the next great discovery.  He loved to share a new find, and he inspired others to do the same.  I marveled at his ability to root out a worthy candidate and always enjoyed the places he brought me.  I always hoped he thought as highly of my picks as I did his.
 
Last year we had one of those public spats I mentioned.  I was unhappy about his ramping up the vote leading us to choose Minneapolis/St. Paul for the 2018 Crawl.   I wasn’t mad about the outcome, but rather the path we took to get there.
 
Instead of handling it privately, as I should have, I called him out in public. Gregg responded in kind.  Words were exchanged, and people predicted the whole Crawl would crash and burn.  It didn’t.  And we never gave up our friendship, in spite of the short-lived rancor.  We forgave each other almost immediately, but "officially" resolved our differences weeks later over a Poochie’s Char Salami (no Cortados for this guy), served on a bun (not the usual French Bread); Merkt’s Cheddar, mustard, grilled onions, and relish.
 
I made a point that day of wearing the same Uncle Bub’s T-shirt he gave me 11 years earlier when we exchanged gifts right there in the parking lot of Poochie’s.  And I made sure he knew it.  Any remaining trace of anger or resentment faded away.  We were two old friends who’d shared so much, and cared for each other enough that we weren’t going to let a stupid internet fight ruin a good thing.
 
There may still be some folks who doubt our friendship was as strong after that outburst, but I know for a fact we were okay.  The proof came months later on the last day of the MSP Crawl.  We were all standing in the parking lot at Mac’s Fish and Chips in St. Paul, posing for a group picture. 
 

 
Gregg carried on a long-standing tradition he and I had (actually, it was his tradition, I was more of an unwitting victim) whenever a group shot was taken.  He’d make sure he was standing behind me and a little off to the side.  Then, just as the shutter clicked, he’d pinch my ass and make me jump.
 
That’s the moment I knew, the ChiTownDiner still loved me.
 
Buddy
 
P.S. And I still loved him, too.
 
B.




A great story Jeff. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for sharing the afternoon with me reminiscing about Gregg at two of his favorite stops, Hoosier Mama and Poochie's. 
 
David
 
post edited by Davidsanders - 2019/06/25 20:36:16
#61
lleechef
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Re: The post no one wants to write 2019/06/25 20:21:26 (permalink)
Great picture.  Made me cry.  
#62
JRPfeff
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Re: The post no one wants to write 2019/06/25 20:21:49 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby nagle 2019/06/25 20:57:56
Here's my post from Facebook, I just realized I never posted my feelings here.
 
Gregg Pill, I'm just hearing about your passing my friend and will miss you terribly. You were always one of the most fun and joyful people I knew. Glad to know you were around to witness the Cubs winning the Series and able to enjoy ALL the finest pies & other foods in the world. I've lost a good friend and Facebook has lost many, many hashtags. My deepest condolences to Patti and your family. #FitnessProfessional #WestmontEats #WhoWillBuyTheCortados
#63
Big_g
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Re: The post no one wants to write 2019/06/25 23:30:53 (permalink)
Great story Jeff, and you nailed it the minute we were introduced I knew that I wanted Gregg as a friend...
#64
chicagostyledog
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Re: The post no one wants to write 2019/06/26 00:38:26 (permalink)
I was fortunate to be Gregg's eating partner on his first Contingent Roadfood tour. He was the first one to sign up for the tour. He'd eat half the food we'd split before any one could take pictures, which had me laughing throughout the entire day. Loved your post, Buddy!
RE: Vienna Tour de Beef Chicago Feb 10th Sat, 02/10/07 7:27 PM (permalink)

Nick, we're glad to have you with us. Here's my review of the tour:

1. Ten hungry souls converged on the Wiener & Still Champion in Evanston at 11:00. Guspas and his crew of two fed us an array of Vienna Beef dogs. I had Gus prepare a CSD inspired francheezie for me. He wrapped bacon around a natural casing Vienna Beef dog and dropped it into the fryer. Once the bacon was crisp, the dog was placed in a steamed poppy seed bun and covered with melted Merkt's cheddar cheese. It was an an artery clogging dream come true. When gus arrived at my table to take pictures of this creation, it was gone, along with half of Chitowndiner's excellent cheddar fries

2. The second stop was Poochie's. I had a char cheddar polish with grilled onions and a Green River. This has always been my traditional Poochie's meal. The carmelized grilled onions are absolutely terrific. The char salami sandwich and cheddar fries were also a big hit. Chris, the owner, spent time schmoozing with us, which made the experience even richer.

3. We decided to drop Portillo's from the tour and headed to fRedhots & Fries in Glenview. Fred, the owner, had posted signs welcoming our Roadfood tour. I was hot dogged out at this point, so I shifted gears and enjoyed a brat and some fries with Chitowndiner. I'll revisit fRedhots in March, when they feature their reindeer dog. I also want to try their Vienna Beef dogs and their fries with the various dips which every one seemed to be enjoying. 

4. We decided to drop Michaels from the tour and headed to Stash's in Highland Park. Since I completely lost interest in eating another encased meat, I opted for excellent 1/2 pound char cheddar burger with grilled onions, that I split with Chitown diner. My standard bill of fare at Stash's is a char cheddar Polish or char cheddar burger. After that, I couldn't eat another thing and they were passing out free chicken wings to sample. Each participant received eight Vienna Beef natural casing hot dogs with a bottle of Stadium spicy mustard, courtesy of CSD & The Grateful Dog. Dog owners received hot dog squeeze toys for their pooch.

Thanks to Gus, Chris, Fred, and Bobby and all the participants. It was a great adventure and we'll do another one when the weather allows t-shirts and shorts.

CSD
#65
JRPfeff
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Re: The post no one wants to write 2019/06/26 09:48:18 (permalink)
Buddy, You appear a little "jumpy" in this November 2008 photo. Did Gregg start the tradition this early?

And this one with our impromptu Contingent recruit.

post edited by JRPfeff - 2019/06/26 09:52:12
#66
BuddyRoadhouse
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Re: The post no one wants to write 2019/06/26 13:58:39 (permalink)
Those pictures were taken in 2008.  Gregg was still a little shy at that point; too soon in our relationship for ass grabbing.  IIRC, it was more a gentle caress of the lower back, hence my adoring glance in the lower photo.
 
Buddy
#67
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Re: The post no one wants to write 2019/06/26 21:20:12 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby Wintahaba 2019/06/27 14:07:34

Some picture from our Nashville trip- 
Gregg was "in his element" The top pic was from Monells, a delicious Sunday farewell brunch.
A big smile on his face, he was always happy to see you. 
The bottom pic was from the Loveless Cafe- Gregg was in the middle of the table, 
and "head and shoulders above" the rest of us. 
He will be missed by everyone who knew him, 
His memory will always be a blessing. 
Condolences to Patti and the rest of his family - there are no words. 

 
#68
ann peeples
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Re: The post no one wants to write 2019/06/27 13:22:41 (permalink)
Funny the last pm I had was from Gregg( besides info on his death) I will never delete that.
#69
ChiBears15
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Re: The post no one wants to write 2019/07/01 20:48:18 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby will_work_4_bbq 2019/07/01 21:07:26
#70
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Re: The post no one wants to write 2019/07/02 08:44:42 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby JRPfeff 2019/07/02 22:43:18
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Re: The post no one wants to write 2019/07/02 13:34:26 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby JRPfeff 2019/07/02 22:43:13
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Re: The post no one wants to write 2019/07/03 00:10:38 (permalink)
Nice piece.
#73
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Re: The post no one wants to write 2019/07/03 10:36:26 (permalink)
Goodbye, ChiTownDiner, RIP.  Thinking of you.
#74
Davidsanders
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Re: The post no one wants to write 2019/07/03 13:19:49 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby nagle 2019/07/03 15:05:29
I have a few pictures from the very bittersweet gathering for dinner following the Wake for our beloved friend Gregg. We went to a place he had reviewed in his hometown of Westmont, Walsh's Bar and Grill.
 
We started with some pie that Pie Diva Bobbi Pfefferle had made for us in the parking lot of the restaurant, with Jim looking on.

 
 
This was a sweet cherry and almond that, like all of her pies, was sensational.

 

 
 
Jim is pouring Joe Rogo some beer for a quick toast to Gregg.

 
 
Jeff looks on waiting for Jim to stop pouring.
The toast didn't last long, as someone from the restaurant came out
and put a stop to it. (No liquor in the parking lot.)

 
 
On of Gregg's favorite thing at this restaurant was the white chicken chili, which a few had planned on trying. (Too bad it wasn't Oct-March)!

 

 
 
The group studying the difficult menu.

 

 
 
Danny googling Altamura. (see earlier menu photo)

 
 
Dale trying to make the best choice.

 
 
Danny and I both got hot dogs, which were pretty good.

 

 
 
We also split the Altamura double pepperoni pizza. It was not great, but tasty.

 
 
Then the main event, Bobbi brought out the rest of those magnificent pies. This was a raspberry.

 
 
Peaches and cream.

 
 
And another sweet cherry and almond.

 

 

 

 

 
 
The waitress took this very good picture with Mariton's phone, and Cliff sent it to me. It was a very nice gathering under extremely difficult circumstances. I'm sure Gregg would have enjoyed it and even encouraged it.

 
 
post edited by Davidsanders - 2019/07/03 13:22:58
#75
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Re: The post no one wants to write 2019/07/03 13:39:50 (permalink)
Beautiful...perfect, guys!
 
#76
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Re: The post no one wants to write 2019/07/03 14:28:40 (permalink)
A wonderful tribute for a Roadfood Great!
#77
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Re: The post no one wants to write 2019/07/03 14:44:33 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby abe_froeman 2019/07/07 00:45:49
I have been so busy lately that I haven't opened Roadfood in months.  I am shocked and saddened to see this tragedy.  While death is part of living it just really stinks sometimes.  I have only met with Gregg on a couple of occasions but when I have it was FUN and full of laughter and food. 
 
Ian will be very sad when I pass this news along to him.  He enjoyed our time together during Cliff and Mariton's Chicago trip! 
 
My heart goes out to his family and his Roadfood friends.
 
RIP Gregg you will be missed!
#78
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Re: The post no one wants to write 2019/07/03 16:40:54 (permalink)
Davidsanders
 
 
Jim is pouring Joe Rogo some beer for a quick toast to Gregg.

 
 
Jeff looks on waiting for Jim to stop pouring.
The toast didn't last long, as someone from the restaurant came out
and put a stop to it. (No liquor in the parking lot.)

 
 
On of Gregg's favorite thing at this restaurant was the white chicken chili, which a few had planned on trying. (Too bad it wasn't Oct-March)!

 

 

Hey Schlotz - That was Java Blanca, a coffee cream ale fit for a Sultan. I think you'd like it too.
 
David - We had TTM with us, so of course at least one thing would be unavailable.
 
Thank you for posting the pictures.
 
Jim
#79
Davidsanders
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Re: The post no one wants to write 2019/07/03 16:58:28 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby lleechef 2019/07/03 18:40:35
JRPfeff
Davidsanders
 
 
Jim is pouring Joe Rogo some beer for a quick toast to Gregg.

 
 
Jeff looks on waiting for Jim to stop pouring.
The toast didn't last long, as someone from the restaurant came out
and put a stop to it. (No liquor in the parking lot.)

 
 
On of Gregg's favorite thing at this restaurant was the white chicken chili, which a few had planned on trying. (Too bad it wasn't Oct-March)!

 

 

Hey Schlotz - That was Java Blanca, a coffee cream ale fit for a Sultan. I think you'd like it too.
 
David - We had TTM with us, so of course at least one thing would be unavailable.
 
Thank you for posting the pictures.
 
Jim




It figures! 
 
 
#80
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Re: The post no one wants to write 2019/07/04 08:19:41 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby JRPfeff 2019/07/04 11:15:54
Hi all-
 
Sorry for your loss.  Obviously a great guy and enjoying the stories and tributes. Didn't know Walsh's was a favorite of his.  Got thrown out of there for violating their "no swearing" policy many years ago.
#81
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Re: The post no one wants to write 2019/07/04 09:03:04 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby joerogo 2019/07/04 18:22:04
One heck of a toast. Beer & pie out of the back of a car in a restaurant parking lot. If that isn't a true Roadfood toast nothing is. I didn't know Gregg but have read his posts and saw his smiling face on many Roadfood get-togethers. You could see he had a great sense of humor and was always respectful of everyone. To all the people who loved and knew Gregg, I am sorry for your loss.
#82
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Re: The post no one wants to write 2019/07/07 17:24:17 (permalink)
Really happy to how many of you made it to Westmont for the service and it's great to see you making the best of a horrible situation by celebrating his life with food.
 
Yet I'm very sad that neither of us could've made it despite it being just a five-hour drive because of our work schedules. I feel terrible about that.
 
 
#83
Bonk
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Re: The post no one wants to write 2019/07/07 17:51:32 (permalink) ☄ Helpfulby joerogo 2019/07/07 17:57:10
I haven't been able to come up with the right words or the time to get them down, but the perfect situation will never arise so here goes...
 
I was a lurker on this board for years, but when I saw a Crawl was coming to Cincinnati in April of 2014, I was interested in tagging along.
 
Then I thought that the news site I worked for might be interested in a story that involves 20-plus people converging on the city to eat, so I pitched it to my editor and got the green light.
 
When I began the search for a contact, I was referred to Gregg. I call him, and in an instant I could tell this was a man that loved food. 
 
We talked like we had been friends for years though we had never met. That was Gregg -- he treated everyone he spoke to like a lifelong friend.
 
By the time I hung up I was pumped to see what this Coney Crawl thing was all about, and he had given me great quotes to use for my story, one which I would live out firsthand. 
 
I could only get away from work for a day, so I met everyone at Jungle Jim's, which, hilariously, is where I'm now a manager.
 
First I met BuddyRoadhouse and then the Meltons, but eventually I was introduced to Gregg. Like CNW, I was a newcomer that year, and not knowing anyone, I clung to Gregg a bit, but he never made me feel like a rookie and let me hang with him even though he was close with a lot of people in the group.
 
It was only one day, but thanks to Gregg, I met a lot of great people that day and by the following spring I couldn't wait to do it again.
 
Unfortunately, life prevented me from attending the Chicago Crawl in 2015, but thanks to his enthusiasm I still had the Crawl bug, and I talked Mrs. Bonk into traveling to Pittsburgh in 2016. 
 
Two years had passed and I doubted Gregg was going to ever remember me, but when I met back up with him it was like we had never parted, and he was extremely welcoming of Mrs. Bonk.
 
Largely because of Gregg and how welcoming he has been to us, we've been to every Crawl since, and when we left our final stop at the Lion's Tap in Minneapolis this April, I made it a point of seeking his carload out to say goodbye.
 
I'm not the PDA type instinctively, but many members of this group are, so for the first time we hugged and said we'd see each other again soon, which, of course, we never will.
 
I'm so glad I walked up the hill to Beefcake1 to say what was ultimately that final goodbye.
 
I battled with the concept of posting anything here because almost everyone else in this thread knew Gregg so much better than I did, and the last thing in the world I wanted to do was make his passing in any way about me. It seemed selfish and still does to a degree.
 
But when you spend even a little time with Gregg, you feel like you've known him your whole life. 
 
And that's why, even though I'd only met him for five Crawls, I feel like I've lost such a good friend.
 
post edited by Bonk - 2019/07/07 17:54:32
#84
KenK
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Re: The post no one wants to write 2019/07/07 18:40:31 (permalink)
All Star. Heartbreak.
#85
lleechef
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Re: The post no one wants to write 2019/07/16 20:59:26 (permalink)
Bonk,
That is lovely.  Made me cry.  We all miss Gregg.  I hope he's eating pie in the sky.
#86
lleechef
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Re: The post no one wants to write 2019/07/16 21:02:03 (permalink)
My favorite picture of Gregg.  
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Re: The post no one wants to write 2019/07/21 11:48:39 (permalink)
I met Gregg at several RF events in the past. What a wonderful and knowledgable guy. He will be missed. 
#88
lleechef
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Re: The post no one wants to write 2019/07/21 15:28:29 (permalink)
EdSails
I met Gregg at several RF events in the past. What a wonderful and knowledgable guy. He will be missed. 


Missed very, very much.  I still get tears in my eyes when I look at that picture.  A GREAT GUY!!!!!!!!!!
#89
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Re: The post no one wants to write 2019/07/22 10:06:43 (permalink)
That was such a fun meet! Cincinnati chili Crawl

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