Thursday, September 15, 2011

Burt's Place

Location: 8541 Ferris Ave., Morton Grove
Cost: About $10 per person

If you've read some of my past pizza reviews, you probably know how much I love Pequod's. So you can imagine how excited I was when I heard that there was this place in Morton Grove that the man behind Pequod's had opened up (not that this is a new occurrence or anything, but let's just say I've had this excitement for a very long time). It was supposedly the holy grail of pizza, and I had to have it. Now I can't seem to find a way of getting through a conversation with anyone these days without mentioning food. When my sister's friend Jodi was in town a few weeks back, conversation turned that way, and it came up that her and her father were frequent customers to this wonderful pizza haven. Well she came back to Chicago last weekend, and we made the schlep out to Morton grove to hit up Burt's Place.

Burt's Place is a little shack with seating for maybe 30 customers at a time. The place is decked out with knick knacks that make you feel like the walls might give in under their own weight at any moment. You absolutely have to call ahead if you want to eat there. I called a day in advance and had to place my order over the phone. I was told my pizza would be ready at 7 whether or not I was there. Multiple patrons got turned away at the door with Burt telling them the oven wouldn't have space for another 2 hours. The place is run by Burt and his wife. They're really kind and love providing people with a fantastic pizza experience, but I wouldn't want to break any of their "rules." One group pretended they'd ordered ahead to try and get some food, and Burt was not pleased when he figured things out. Also, another table was loudly comparing their pizza to Lou Malnati's when Burt's wife overhead and told them that they were discussing an inappropriate topic (in a slightly harsher manner). The key is to call early with your order, show up on time, and keep your mouth relatively shut about other pizza places.

The service is super efficient because they keep their oven on a tight schedule. In general everyone is pretty friendly and always offering to grab you another slice or a drink refill. The cost was pretty cheap. A large pizza and salad, which could easily have served 5 or 6 people, was $25.

The Food
Although we wanted to save as much room as possible for the pizza, we decided to get a salad to share. It had thinly sliced cheese across a large bed of lettuce sprinkled with olives and topped with a few strips of red peppers. Everything was very fresh and simple.

 The House Salad

We got a pizza with sausage and a mix of their bell peppers (which Jodi says is their specialty). I guess you'd call it deep dish, but it's not nearly as deep as what you're used to. They use the cast iron pans and cheese in the dough to make a nice caramelized crust. The cheese and the sauce were perfectly balanced. The cheese was also a bit burnt at points which added an intriguing and delicious twist. The sausage was juicy and well seasoned while the peppers were cooked but maintained a snap to their each bite. One issue was that the ingredient coverage could have been better. I'm not saying they need the entire layer of sausage like Lou's, but there were a bunch of slices with only one real chunk of sausage. The peppers were served in large slices, just like the salad, and this made the pizza a bit more difficult to eat.

The Sausage and Mixed Bell Pepper Pizza

 Check out that crust!

I don't want these nit picky things to detract from how excellent this pizza was. Even if some of the gray hairs from Burt's seemingly endless beard ended up in the pie, I'd still think it was some of the best around (not that this would ever happen with all the care they put into each pizza). From the atmosphere to the crust, this place is about as unique as it gets. If you live downtown and don't have a car, you should steal one and go to Burt's Place (BUT CALL AHEAD!). I'm giving them 4.5 out of 5 Pearls.

Note: The pizza surprisingly doesn't reheat that well, and it doesn't taste that good as cold leftovers either. Mostly the crust dries out a bit too much. That doesn't mean it's not amazing while it's hot. The key point here is to stuff your face to the max in the restaurant.

Burt's Place on Urbanspoon


  1. Was in Chicago for a business function and decided to stop by Burts Pizza. The pizza was terrible! The place is flithy dirty and Burt needs to wear a hair net and beard net. Found hair in the food and refused to eat anymore. Sloppy, bland and burned pizza. Awful, awful, God awful!!!! I looked around at the people eating that slop Burt calls pizza and could not believe they were eating it. It makes me feel ill just thinking about it. Being Italian and orignally from NYC Little Italy, I am an expert on great pizza. Burt's Pizza is not one of them. The health department needs to close this place down for a thorough cleaning.