It’s the 315th day of 2011, though you probably know it more as November 11, 2011 or–even better–as 11-11-11.

As an unabashed numbers nut, I’ve had today’s date marked on my mental calendar for many moons now. And months ago, here in Oak Park, I started urging Al Mancini, a longtime friend and owner of Mancini’s Pizza Pasta Cafe, to do something special on this day.

His Italian restaurant, a popular fixture in Downtown Oak Park for the past 15 years, is located at 1111 Lake Street. The restaurant’s hours have long been–you guessed it–from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.

With all of those thin digits rising up so persisently, it was almost a moral obligation for Al to do something to mark the occasion. At least, that was along the lines of what I only half-kiddingly urged Al.

To his credit, he’s not only taken my counsel, but has run with it in a big way: today and tomorrow, Mancini’s is donating 22% (11% x 2) of proceeds to a great local non-profit organization, the Hephzibah Children’s Association.

In addition, Mancini’s is offering 11 specials on the menu, each for $11.11, as well as doing some other fun 11-related stuff for patrons who come in for dinner.

Along the way, he has had full-page ads run in the Wednesday Journal of Oak Park & River Forest (on page 11, of course). After I devoted less than a half-hour to tip off local media outlets to Al’s plan, his restaurant received extensive local media coverage, including pieces in the Pioneer Press editions and the Chicago Tribune’s TribLocal, a version of which also appeared in the Tribune.

A good idea that dies on the vine is no better than never coming up with the idea in the first place. Al’s investment of two key elements–time and money (via the advertising)–has set the stage for a memorable two-day window of positivity.

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