Burts Place comes up in virtually every post about pizza in Chicago. Burt, himself, is iconic and has the chops - he started Gullivers, Pequods and others. The place has some historical significance, having been a turn-of-the-century blacksmith shop in what is now Morton Grove. The waitresses look like they have been there since the beginning. Anthony Boudain ate there and booth he sat in in still marked.
And yet I had never been there. So when my son wanted to try this legendary deep dish pizza, we were excited.
We went through all the rigamarole: made reservations, ordered in advance, arrived early, brought cash.
We had a salad: a plate of damp romaine lettuce, a couple of red pepper strips, a handful of sliced olives and a little chopped raw onion with a bowl of bottled dressing on the side. No problem. We were there for the pizza.
And out it came. One sausage and mushroom; one vegetarian and one cheese. Super hot right from the oven. I took my first bite of the sausage and mushroom - the point of a triangular slice. Great sausage; good cheese, but the crust - it was thick soft bread. Wait! What about a crunchy crust?
Maybe there are different styles of deep dish pizza. Maybe I just wasn't used to it. Maybe it came out of the oven a little too soon.
Had this been my first taste of deep dish pizza I would have been disappointed. I would have echoed what many have said about this style of pizza that was invented in my home town. It was a thick slice of - admittedly good - chewy Italian bread topped with cheese, tomato sauce, sausage and mushrooms. But not pizza as I know pizza.
A life-long Chicagoan, I was practically weaned on Uno and Due pizza and Lou Malnoti, while it is a factory, does a darn good job. Tonight I was underwhelmed. As fun and charming and picturesque as the place was, I would never recommend the pizza. Did I miss something?
Talk among yourselves.