Burt’s Pizza was a pizza institution. Burt’s was known for their deep dish, pan pizza with a caramelized cheese crust. It was located just outside Chicago in Morton Grove.
If I could make a blanket statement about people who live within the city limits of Chicago, it’s that they don’t like the suburbs, they don’t like people from the suburbs, and they don’t like to drive to the suburbs. Burt’s was one of those few places that “people who refuse to drive to the ‘burbs” would happily drive to the ‘burbs to go get pizza.
Burt Katz and his wife Sharon ran the restaurant by themselves. It was their place and they set the rules. The only way to eat in the restaurant was to call ahead, make a reservation and place your order ahead of time. If you thought you could just show up and wait for your pizza, the only way to make it happen at that point, would be to step outside, call first and wait outside until your time. If you thought you could add a pizza while you were there, you would be clearly mistaken. There was no website, their phone number wasn’t listed, and their one-line, rotary phone was their working business phone. Burt and Sharon liked “real” ingredients, real people and things that were real. He ran his place his way and has even been known to jump out of the kitchen to tell someone they were chewing their pizza too quickly.
Burt and his wife Sharon closed Burt’s Pizza in October of 2015. Burt passed away on Saturday, April 30, 2016. For those of us who had the chance to try their pizza and maybe even spent hours in the kitchen trying to replicate the sauce, the dough, experimenting with different cheeses and toppings, also feel a loss.
On my most recent and last visit to Burt’s, we had 2 people in our party that weren’t able to come so we were a party of seven instead of nine. We arrived on time and ate our pre-ordered pizzas. The entire time we were there, the place was empty except for us. Just as we were finishing up, Sharon walked over with a menu and had a “real” discussion with our group about the missing attendees.
Strangely, I was watching one of my thousands of videos clips last night while I was organizing my photos, without knowing Burt had passed away. It was a 46-second recorded conversation of Sharon explaining to us that “Nine is nine, not seven.” She then proceeded to tell us that she would not be giving Christmas presents to the two people who didn’t show up, but not to worry because she barely even sends out cards.
RIP Burt. Condolences to Sharon, family, friends and those who feel the loss.
Burt’s Place lives on! I wonder if they will get a new phone.
Burt’s Place | 8541 Ferris Ave, Morton Grove IL |