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Great Lake, best pizza in america

Great Lake, best pizza in america
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  • Great Lake, best pizza in america

    Post #1 - May 19th, 2009, 6:13 am
    Post #1 - May 19th, 2009, 6:13 am Post #1 - May 19th, 2009, 6:13 am
    gq food writer alan richman names great lake pizza in andersonville the best pizza in america in the june issue due out next week. i quess i better try to go this week!

    (Name edit)
  • Post #2 - May 19th, 2009, 6:43 am
    Post #2 - May 19th, 2009, 6:43 am Post #2 - May 19th, 2009, 6:43 am
    .
    Link to article in GQ, American Pie.

    Alan Richman singled out the Mortadella pizza at Great Lake as best.

    Great Lake
    1477 W. Balmoral Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60640
    773-334-9270
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #3 - May 19th, 2009, 7:21 am
    Post #3 - May 19th, 2009, 7:21 am Post #3 - May 19th, 2009, 7:21 am
    Detroit (and its surroundings) are surprisingly well represented on this list. Looks like I know what I'm eating next time I visit home.
  • Post #4 - May 19th, 2009, 8:19 am
    Post #4 - May 19th, 2009, 8:19 am Post #4 - May 19th, 2009, 8:19 am
    Does anyone know if Great Lakes has been any more consistent in their hours of operation. I've been trying to go there for a second visit after my somewhat disappointing (but, as far as I can tell uncharacteristic) first visit*, but after 8 tries at trying to find them open including during their published hours of operation, I've kind of given up.

    *I tried to link to my original post, but was unable to find it. Evidently, it never migrated from the GNR nomination thread. To summarize, I had a pizza with arguably the best crust in town, but the toppings were so overly salty that they rendered the pizza inedible. Consensus was that it was a kitchen mistake, and not the norm.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #5 - May 19th, 2009, 8:36 am
    Post #5 - May 19th, 2009, 8:36 am Post #5 - May 19th, 2009, 8:36 am
    Weird. Admittedly, we go during a specific time (which is early, usually weeknight) but we've never had a problem either finding them open or finding a seat.
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  • Post #6 - May 19th, 2009, 8:37 am
    Post #6 - May 19th, 2009, 8:37 am Post #6 - May 19th, 2009, 8:37 am
    G Wiv wrote:
    Alan Richman singled out the Mortadella pizza at Great Lakes as best.


    mortadella pizza.. hmmm.. maybe its time for me to check out my one of my favorite deli cuts on a pizza. it sounds like it could be a winner. :D

    if only I could get past their $1 per bottle of beer BYOB "recycling fee".
    Last edited by jimswside on May 19th, 2009, 9:14 am, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #7 - May 19th, 2009, 8:45 am
    Post #7 - May 19th, 2009, 8:45 am Post #7 - May 19th, 2009, 8:45 am
    At the risk of incurring the wrath of those who have consistently had trouble in finding Great Lake open (and, by the way, it's Great Lake--singular--not Great Lakes), we've never found it closed. Still, acknowledging that this was apparently an issue previously, I suspect you'll find that they keep pretty regular hours now.

    Second, during our most recent visit, with the Olive Oil Tasting crew, we found that they had reduced the regular rotation of five kinds of pies to three, albeit allowing more substitutions/changes than in the past. Frankly, I've never seen the mortadella pie on the list, but the specials used to change frequently, so we apparently simply missed it.

    Last, for those interested in more on the subject, you can find the regular Great Lake thread here.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #8 - May 19th, 2009, 8:54 am
    Post #8 - May 19th, 2009, 8:54 am Post #8 - May 19th, 2009, 8:54 am
    Interesting article. I wonder which pizzeria this one is:

    At a pizzeria (I do not recommend) in Chicago, I was informed when I called that I had to order ahead of time, although there is no menu on the restaurant Web site and the lady on the telephone refused to tell me what pies were available.
  • Post #9 - May 19th, 2009, 9:02 am
    Post #9 - May 19th, 2009, 9:02 am Post #9 - May 19th, 2009, 9:02 am
    Can't be Burt's, they have no website (unless LTHForum counts).
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #10 - May 19th, 2009, 9:21 am
    Post #10 - May 19th, 2009, 9:21 am Post #10 - May 19th, 2009, 9:21 am
    It's Great Lake (singular) Pizza.

    I've been hesitant to post about this stellar pizza mostly because of the challenging business model they've set up of having little table space available to accommodate its patrons. Trix gave up trying after her third or fourth attempt even though I insisted it was worth pursuing.
    Pizza-wise, though, no one can touch them in Chicago. Their wonderfully airy and tasty bread, cooked to perfection, is in a league all its own for Chicago (or virtually anywhere, for that matter). Their high-quality toppings (such as Newsom's country ham, for example) are in total harmony and proper proportion with the entire pie; a rarity even at the highest echelons of the pizza world.

    Last Saturday, I ran into the owner at the Green City market at 7:30am where she was procuring her ultra-fresh local produce. She informed me that Great Lake plans sometime soon to extend their hours (opening up the first and third Tuesdays of the month and extending the normal daily hours from 9pm to 10pm.

    One of my ultimate night's out in Chicago starts with a cocktail at In Fine Spirits with one of the best bartenders in town (Benjamin, a true professional bartender in every sense of the word), followed by a short walk around the corner to Great Lake Pizza, and then finishing with the marvel desserts on offer at Pasticceria Natalina. For me, it doesn't get any better than this.

    This is truly special pizza; bad business model or not.
  • Post #11 - May 19th, 2009, 9:59 am
    Post #11 - May 19th, 2009, 9:59 am Post #11 - May 19th, 2009, 9:59 am
    We know how long the "Check, Please!" effect lasts. I wonder how long the GQ/Richman effect will last.... It has been so nice having it in the 'hood and walking distance from home. I guess it's gonna be awhile before we can get in easily.

    [sigh]
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #12 - May 20th, 2009, 9:04 am
    Post #12 - May 20th, 2009, 9:04 am Post #12 - May 20th, 2009, 9:04 am
    If I see this correctly, there is only one communal table for eight? Also it's a one in, one out pizza preparation? What's the typical wait time for a pizza - especially, if you try to dine in?

    In the end, I'd hate to think it's more of a hassle to try this place than it's worth - best pizza in America or not. I hope I'm wrong though. Any insight on the actual dining experience or is it considered a take out place?

    I also have a feeling that trying to eat here will be similar to the experiences at Hopleaf, Kuma's, and Smoque - great food but check your patience at the door. Or, of course, go during non-dining hours (middle of the afternoon on a weekday).

    ***Never mind my questions - I just looked at the other thread and they answered pretty much everything above. I'll chalk this place up to another gem that I will most likely not be able to enjoy. It looks like the only option is to get take out and head to a nearby bar.
    Last edited by tyrus on May 20th, 2009, 9:25 am, edited 1 time in total.
    "It's not that I'm on commission, it's just I've sifted through a lot of stuff and it's not worth filling up on the bland when the extraordinary is within equidistant tasting distance." - David Lebovitz
  • Post #13 - May 20th, 2009, 9:09 am
    Post #13 - May 20th, 2009, 9:09 am Post #13 - May 20th, 2009, 9:09 am
    No longer one table for eight. They've added several two-tops so that they can probably seat around 16 or so at any given moment. Plus, it's possible to eat outside in nicer weather.

    Wait time depends entirely on when you order and how jammed they are. I've called and waited 45 minutes; I've waited 90 minutes. I've called in advance, gotten there, found them unexpectedly jammed and had to wait another 20 minutes. My personal feeling is that, within reason, that's peachy keen with me: just gives me a good excuse to go up the block (literally less than a block) to Pasticceria Natalina and visit with Nick and Natalie and get some dessert to take home with the pizza.

    As to the food itself, if you go to my first post in this thread, I've linked to the regular thread on the pizza, which contains a pretty fair sampling of people's reactions.

    Good luck.
    Last edited by Gypsy Boy on May 20th, 2009, 9:09 am, edited 1 time in total.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #14 - May 20th, 2009, 9:09 am
    Post #14 - May 20th, 2009, 9:09 am Post #14 - May 20th, 2009, 9:09 am
    tyrus wrote:Any insight on the actual dining experience or is it considered a take out place?


    Here you go: viewtopic.php?f=14&t=17988
  • Post #15 - May 20th, 2009, 9:26 am
    Post #15 - May 20th, 2009, 9:26 am Post #15 - May 20th, 2009, 9:26 am
    Darren72 wrote:
    tyrus wrote:Any insight on the actual dining experience or is it considered a take out place?


    Here you go: http://www.lthforum.com/bb/viewtopic.php?f=14&t=17988


    Thanks - just edited my post...
    "It's not that I'm on commission, it's just I've sifted through a lot of stuff and it's not worth filling up on the bland when the extraordinary is within equidistant tasting distance." - David Lebovitz
  • Post #16 - May 20th, 2009, 9:59 am
    Post #16 - May 20th, 2009, 9:59 am Post #16 - May 20th, 2009, 9:59 am
    They've added several two-tops so that they can probably seat around 16 or so at any given moment. Plus, it's possible to eat outside in nicer weather.


    Although it looked like the two-tops inside WERE the outside tables, last time we went.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
    New episode: Soil, Corn, Cows and Cheese
    Watch the Reader's James Beard Award-winning Key Ingredient here.
  • Post #17 - May 20th, 2009, 10:05 am
    Post #17 - May 20th, 2009, 10:05 am Post #17 - May 20th, 2009, 10:05 am
    Mike G wrote:
    They've added several two-tops so that they can probably seat around 16 or so at any given moment. Plus, it's possible to eat outside in nicer weather.


    Although it looked like the two-tops inside WERE the outside tables, last time we went.



    Hmmm. Entirely possible that's the case, of course. Didn't really look carefully outside last time we were there, but if so--and recognizing that this might not appeal to some--there are some benches (at least two, maybe three) on the wide sidewalk there and one could, if one were so inclined, eat right there. Possibly a little too urban gritty for some (or many) but I've certainly eaten at worse locales.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #18 - May 20th, 2009, 8:05 pm
    Post #18 - May 20th, 2009, 8:05 pm Post #18 - May 20th, 2009, 8:05 pm
    While I have never heard of Alan Richman, his description of Mortadella " the dirigible-sized Italian sausage that looks like bologna, tastes like salami, and is usually cut into chunks" doesn't sound much like a culinary expert.

    Great Lake however has moved up on my list of must tries.
    Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage.
    Woody Allen
  • Post #19 - May 20th, 2009, 8:08 pm
    Post #19 - May 20th, 2009, 8:08 pm Post #19 - May 20th, 2009, 8:08 pm
    jimswside wrote:if only I could get past their $1 per bottle of beer BYOB "recycling fee".

    There's one easy solution to this problem: bigger beer bottles.

    Ok, a second one comes to mind: stronger beer.

    -Dan
    --
    Effete and self-important snooty-pants dilettante.
    @dschleifer
  • Post #20 - May 21st, 2009, 9:19 am
    Post #20 - May 21st, 2009, 9:19 am Post #20 - May 21st, 2009, 9:19 am
    This is the same guy that has Chicago as the 4th best city in the US for pizza.
  • Post #21 - May 21st, 2009, 9:30 am
    Post #21 - May 21st, 2009, 9:30 am Post #21 - May 21st, 2009, 9:30 am
    smetana1986 wrote:This is the same guy that has Chicago as the 4th best city in the US for pizza.


    I presume you disagree and therefore discount everything he says. But what are his top 3? What are your top 4?
  • Post #22 - May 21st, 2009, 9:35 am
    Post #22 - May 21st, 2009, 9:35 am Post #22 - May 21st, 2009, 9:35 am
    smetana1986 wrote:This is the same guy that has Chicago as the 4th best city in the US for pizza.


    4th best is debateable, 2nd best would probably be my ranking for Chicago in regards to pizza. With that said rankings like taste are up to the individual, so I wouldnt discount his opinion on the the offerings @ Great Lake based on where he places Chicago on his list of pizza cities.
  • Post #23 - May 21st, 2009, 11:44 am
    Post #23 - May 21st, 2009, 11:44 am Post #23 - May 21st, 2009, 11:44 am
    I must add that, while I usually enjoy what I read from Richman, I'm still mystified by his love of the Pogue Mahone burger. You can read more of what my compatriots and I thought of it at CBP, but suffice it to say that I found it to be a very unremarkable pub burger churned out by a place that didn't really seem to care all that much.

    That's obviously not the case with Great Lake - I look forward to getting there one of these days.
  • Post #24 - May 21st, 2009, 12:39 pm
    Post #24 - May 21st, 2009, 12:39 pm Post #24 - May 21st, 2009, 12:39 pm
    Richman has never been particularly fond of the Chicago culinary scene, IIRC (I think he once was less than kind to the Chicago hot dog). I do note that other cities have more than one pizzeria listed in his top 25 (New York, I can understand, but Boston?).
  • Post #25 - May 22nd, 2009, 9:35 am
    Post #25 - May 22nd, 2009, 9:35 am Post #25 - May 22nd, 2009, 9:35 am
    smetana1986 wrote:This is the same guy that has Chicago as the 4th best city in the US for pizza.


    Here's a link to the Richman's Top Ten list: http://men.style.com/gq/blogs/alanrichm ... izzas.html

    Here's a clue to his tastes:

    I wasn’t surprised when New York City finished first, but I was shocked at the reason. Of all the venerated pizzerias in New York, the only ones I felt lived up to their reputation were Joe’s, a slice shop in Manhattan, and the great Totonno’s in Coney Island. What allowed New York City to soar above all others were the new pizzerias, those that for the most part are specializing in the American pies I learned to appreciate above all others.


    This helps me understand why he rated San Francisco second. I lived the Bay Area for six years and never thought the average pizza quality was that high, but I also never tried any of the pizzas he highlights. However, one of the best pizzas I've ever had was from the Cheese Board in Berkeley.
  • Post #26 - May 22nd, 2009, 11:21 am
    Post #26 - May 22nd, 2009, 11:21 am Post #26 - May 22nd, 2009, 11:21 am
    linutink wrote:I do note that other cities have more than one pizzeria listed in his top 25 (New York, I can understand, but Boston?).


    Better question: What's with the Detroit love?
  • Post #27 - May 22nd, 2009, 11:25 am
    Post #27 - May 22nd, 2009, 11:25 am Post #27 - May 22nd, 2009, 11:25 am
    chezbrad wrote:
    linutink wrote:I do note that other cities have more than one pizzeria listed in his top 25 (New York, I can understand, but Boston?).


    Better question: What's with the Detroit love?


    Well, here's what he wrote:

    3. Detroit. No city has more consistently satisfying pies than Detroit. No city executes its particular style, in this case the square Sicilian, as flawlessly as Detroit. Hard to go wrong wherever you eat, although a hopeless local peculiarity is burying the pepperoni under the sauce.


    Is this inaccurate?
  • Post #28 - May 22nd, 2009, 12:19 pm
    Post #28 - May 22nd, 2009, 12:19 pm Post #28 - May 22nd, 2009, 12:19 pm
    Seems like a Richman's preference for "Sicilian," which appears to converge with Detroiters' knack for the thick square cut, leads to Detroit's lofty position. Did Richman try any of the bakery places here? Probably not, but the bakery/pan/grandma/whatever places are not what Chicago is known for. If he liked deep dish, then Chicago might well be #1. But who cares. More interesting to me is what looks like Richman's attempt to re-brand what is essentially New York pizza -- long discussed here as Neopolitan modified (improved?) by purveyors as varied as Totonno's, Coalfire, and Great Lake -- into "American Pizza." Under this logic, Kenny & Zukes is "American Deli," right?
  • Post #29 - May 23rd, 2009, 6:15 pm
    Post #29 - May 23rd, 2009, 6:15 pm Post #29 - May 23rd, 2009, 6:15 pm
    Walked by tonight about 5:40; just happened to have the camera.

    Image

    Had dinner at Sunshine Cafe, a little gelato at Natalie's and walked back home circa 6:40. STILL, a line out the door. And GQ hasn't even appeared yet.
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #30 - May 24th, 2009, 5:54 am
    Post #30 - May 24th, 2009, 5:54 am Post #30 - May 24th, 2009, 5:54 am
    Gypsy Boy wrote:Walked by tonight about 5:40; just happened to have the camera.


    Were they actually open, or were these people just wishing? :wink:
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven

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