Burt's Place, located on a quiet, unassuming residential street in Morton Grove, is something special. It's the kind of thing that foodies, bloggers and pizza aficionados dream about – and they've all, including Saveur, taken notice – an offbeat, mom-and-pop kind of place with kitschy decor that serves up an unbelievably good deep-dish pizza.
Owner Burt Katz created the caramelized cheese crust pizza for Pequod's and Gulliver's before heading north to open his own place, and if you like Pequod’s, you'll have lingering food fantasies about Burt's pie. It's called deep dish, but it's nothing like the gluttonous overwhelming pies that come from Lou Malnati's or Pizzeria Due. The dough is just thick enough, the sauce is perfectly seasoned, the toppings are fresh and you can taste the TLC.
The only thing that's a little discouraging about Burt's is the decor. The place looks like a little shanty, filled with old ham radios and lots of other junk, signed headshots from local "celebs" and all the food is served on old IHOP plates. Burt's definitely won't pass any white glove inspections, but follow the simple rules at Burt’s and you'll have a great experience. Call ahead and place your order. Burt's partner in crime, his wife Sharon, works the phones and the floor while he makes the pizza in back. She'll answer the phone (don't even think of trying to find a menu or a website, stick with the tried and true toppings and they’ll have it) and let you know what time to arrive. When you get there, your table is all set up and you’re greeted with a smile. Seconds later, your appetizer (gooey garlic bread or a decent house salad) and drinks arrive, with the pizza soon to follow.
The pizza is never actually put on your table. Sharon insists on serving you each and every slice, it's just another thing they do that makes Burt's special.
Average cost: $10-$20
Centerstage Reviewer: Maya Henderson