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Burt’s Place, Morton Grove, after Burt Katz

Burt’s Place, Morton Grove, after Burt Katz
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  • Burt’s Place, Morton Grove, after Burt Katz

    Post #1 - May 26th, 2016, 1:53 pm
    Post #1 - May 26th, 2016, 1:53 pm Post #1 - May 26th, 2016, 1:53 pm
    Burt’s Place has been sold, and the new owners, who have no professional pizza-making experience, started making test pies Wednesday night using recipes, ingredient sources and secrets from the late founder Burt Katz.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/dining/ct ... story.html
    Hors D'oeuvre: A ham sandwich cut into forty pieces.
    - Jack Benny
  • Post #2 - May 26th, 2016, 2:58 pm
    Post #2 - May 26th, 2016, 2:58 pm Post #2 - May 26th, 2016, 2:58 pm
    So this has been in the works for awhile. It will be interesting to watch on a lot of levels going forward.
  • Post #3 - July 26th, 2016, 6:39 am
    Post #3 - July 26th, 2016, 6:39 am Post #3 - July 26th, 2016, 6:39 am
    "They hope to reopen as Burt’s Place by mid-July or August."

    No answer at the phone listed, anyone know of an update on the above opening dates?
    I did absolutely nothing and it was everything I thought it could be.
  • Post #4 - July 26th, 2016, 2:23 pm
    Post #4 - July 26th, 2016, 2:23 pm Post #4 - July 26th, 2016, 2:23 pm
    Sweet Willie wrote:
    ..."anyone" (added quotes mine) know of an update on the above opening dates?


    No need to be coy, I have a name, you know.

    John and Jerry, the cousins who bought Burt's Place, have stated their intent to maintain the quality of the Pizza, and the character and legacy of the restaurant itself. Based on all our discussions and interactions up to this point, I see no reason to doubt their sincerity, and am looking forward to working with them in some capacity.

    That said, while assessing what needed to be done to the building, in order for the business to be a long term success, the boys discovered many unexpected challenges. This has resulted in more extensive work than initially anticipated. They are meeting that challenge head on and with all due diligence. Unfortunately, that will likely mean a delay in the opening date.

    OTOH, in trying to do the job right, they're creating a space that will at once feel familiar and welcoming to long time fans of Burt's, while also putting to rest a lot of the complaints from some quarters about the dining room's less than pristine ambiance.

    As for the Pizza, we did several test runs before the remodeling began. Each attempt provided new insights and brought the boys closer to achieving a product that looked and tasted like it was made with Burt's own hands. Once the rehab is complete, and the kitchen is up and running, they'll get back to perfecting the recipe. It should be a very short time afterward that they reopen.

    I can't speak for John and Jerry as to a specific date. I feel fairly certain that the July/August target was overly optimistic given the needs of the building and their commitment to doing the job right. A vague "early autumn" is the best answer I can provide as of now.

    Which is fine. Because who wants to eat a steaming hot Pizza in the dog days of summer?

    Hope to see you all soon!
    Buddy
  • Post #5 - July 26th, 2016, 4:01 pm
    Post #5 - July 26th, 2016, 4:01 pm Post #5 - July 26th, 2016, 4:01 pm
    Buddy, do you know if John and Jerry plan to continue the policy of "call ahead and tell us what time you want your pizza, or don't show up?" Don't mistake this question for a complaint about Burt and Sharon's way of doing things. It isn't. I'm just curious whether that practice is expected to continue.
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #6 - July 26th, 2016, 4:30 pm
    Post #6 - July 26th, 2016, 4:30 pm Post #6 - July 26th, 2016, 4:30 pm
    riddlemay wrote:Buddy, do you know if John and Jerry plan to continue the policy of "call ahead and tell us what time you want your pizza, or don't show up?" Don't mistake this question for a complaint about Burt and Sharon's way of doing things. It isn't. I'm just curious whether that practice is expected to continue.


    That policy has similarities to that of Pizzeria Due, which won't even seat you until you order your pizza(s).
  • Post #7 - July 26th, 2016, 4:53 pm
    Post #7 - July 26th, 2016, 4:53 pm Post #7 - July 26th, 2016, 4:53 pm
    That's far different than being told to go away.

    In any case, Burt's policy was because of limited production capacity while Due's is due to limited seating capacity.
  • Post #8 - July 26th, 2016, 6:12 pm
    Post #8 - July 26th, 2016, 6:12 pm Post #8 - July 26th, 2016, 6:12 pm
    riddlemay wrote:Buddy, do you know if John and Jerry plan to continue the policy of "call ahead and tell us what time you want your pizza, or don't show up?"

    There's a profound misunderstanding of the call-ahead practice (notice I didn't use the word "policy"), exacerbated by the myth making tendencies of the internet. There was never a specific "don't show up" code, although at certain extremely busy times, and, as it was expressed by certain individuals (unnamed since they cannot defend themselves due to lack of internet access or experience), it may have sounded that way.

    riddlemay wrote:Don't mistake this question for a complaint about Burt and Sharon's way of doing things. It isn't.

    If anyone showed up without a reservation, it was our practice to seat them immediately if both seating and oven space were available, and subsequent reservations weren't adversely affected. If immediate seating was not available we would try to find an alternative time and/or date when the customer could return. We would also take the customers order at that moment for the future date/time.

    The bottom line is, you were always welcome to show up unannounced at anytime. But, as it's been expressed many times in the past, there was only one guy making all the pizzas, in one oven. There's simply a physical limitation to what could be accomplished. In other words, if you showed up blind, you were gambling as to whether or not you'd get seated and served based on the number of people who had already called in for the night. To paraphrase Dirty Harry Callahan, "Do ya feel lucky? Well, do ya, pun...er, I mean, valued customer?"

    riddlemay wrote:I'm just curious whether that practice is expected to continue.
    I cannot speak for John and Jerry. However, with those specific parameters and considerations mentioned above, yes, I'm encouraging them to keep in place the call-ahead practice. It will help them plan the evening and make maximum use of the limited space they'll have in which to work. In the best of all possible worlds, I'm imagining a system that promotes the call-ahead option while, whenever possible, taking a more "walk-in friendly" approach.

    That concludes the question and answer portion of our show. If anyone wishes to continue reading below my signature, there will be a short history class on the evolution of the call-ahead policy.

    Buddy

    How The Call Ahead Policy Came To Be

    This may surprise some of you, but there was never a moment in time when either Burt or Sharon sat down and consciously made the declaration that we would only accept customers who called ahead. Instead, that practice evolved back in the Pequod's days, at the insistence of our customers.

    Anyone who has been to the Morton Grove Pequod's location knows there is a slightly bigger entryway than what we had at Burt's. It allowed people to stand inside while waiting for a table. At some point someone, maybe Burt, maybe me, maybe even a customer, came up with the idea of taking orders while customers waited in line, thus eliminating the wait time for a Pizza once they were seated. This idea flourished and immediately increased our productivity and ability to turn tables. It became very popular both for us and our customers.

    Eventually someone came up with the bright idea, "Hey, why do I need to drive all the way over there to place my order? Why can't I just call in the order from home and arrive just in time for my Pizza to come out of the oven?" So, imagine the first time that happened. We've got people standing in line, waiting for tables, and some couple waltzes in, moves to the front of the line, gets seated and has their Pizza served within minutes.

    All of a sudden everyone wants to call ahead. As Burt pointed out, that practice served as an advantage to the customer. Anyone trying to get to a post dinner engagement, whether it was play, movie, or sporting event, could plan their evening accordingly. By knowing exactly when your food would be ready, you could then estimate your eating and travel times and not risk showing up late. Customers LOVED the opportunity to call ahead.

    It wasn't until years later, at the new place, that it became a bone of contention. You'd think, in the age of the internet, with unlimited information available to all of us, and the tens of thousands of words written about Burt's Place, that the call-ahead practice wouldn't be a mystery. And yet here we are.

    B.
  • Post #9 - July 26th, 2016, 7:04 pm
    Post #9 - July 26th, 2016, 7:04 pm Post #9 - July 26th, 2016, 7:04 pm
    Thanks for the update Buddy. I'm seriously giddy, and I think it's one great way to preserve Burt's memory by honoring what he accomplished here. I wish them much success and can't wait to taste their pizzas!
    I find the pastrami to be the most sensual of all the salted, cured meats. (Seinfeld)

    Twitter: brbinchicago
  • Post #10 - July 26th, 2016, 9:44 pm
    Post #10 - July 26th, 2016, 9:44 pm Post #10 - July 26th, 2016, 9:44 pm
    I have been assured by Mrs. BuddyRoadhouse (a.k.a, my mom), who has sampled some of the test runs of the pizza, that while there is still progress to be made on the overall crust recipe, the most crucial element- the lacy, blackened, caramelized crust- is definitely in place. :D
  • Post #11 - July 27th, 2016, 8:20 am
    Post #11 - July 27th, 2016, 8:20 am Post #11 - July 27th, 2016, 8:20 am
    Thanks for the post, Buddy.
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #12 - July 27th, 2016, 8:51 am
    Post #12 - July 27th, 2016, 8:51 am Post #12 - July 27th, 2016, 8:51 am
    Looking forward to the opening of Burt's Place 2.0 as well. And also gratified to see that Buddy Boy is involved, if only from a consigliere standpoint. I was hoping that would be the case, as only he could be the true conduit to the past, besides being the only guy I've ever seen bring an anchovy pizza out to the table whilst holding his nose, Pequod circa 1975.
  • Post #13 - September 12th, 2016, 2:08 pm
    Post #13 - September 12th, 2016, 2:08 pm Post #13 - September 12th, 2016, 2:08 pm
    Going to go here ASAP. I was an idiot and delayed my first visit - never got to have Burt's pizza. Will rectify that as soon as this opens.
  • Post #14 - September 21st, 2016, 10:39 pm
    Post #14 - September 21st, 2016, 10:39 pm Post #14 - September 21st, 2016, 10:39 pm
    This was posted on Burt's Place's Facebook page today:

    We here at Burt's Place read all of your comments, and totally understand that everyone is anxious for Burt's 2.0. With that being said we have hit a few delays with permitting, for improvements being made to "the store". Stay tuned, as we will have more updates in the coming day's, but rest easy knowing that we are still practicing Burt's methods in creating the perfect pizza!...
  • Post #15 - October 1st, 2016, 1:41 am
    Post #15 - October 1st, 2016, 1:41 am Post #15 - October 1st, 2016, 1:41 am
    Article in Thursday's Trib. Buddy got a shout out!
  • Post #16 - October 1st, 2016, 6:30 am
    Post #16 - October 1st, 2016, 6:30 am Post #16 - October 1st, 2016, 6:30 am
    Nice piece, Louisa. I can tell you want this place to succeed as much as we all do.
  • Post #17 - December 22nd, 2016, 4:45 pm
    Post #17 - December 22nd, 2016, 4:45 pm Post #17 - December 22nd, 2016, 4:45 pm
    Burt’s Place, home of the iconic caramelized crust created by late pizza master Burt Katz, may reopen by the end of January, starting with a friends-and-family soft opening, said new co-owner and protege Jerry Petrow.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/dining/ct ... story.html
    Hors D'oeuvre: A ham sandwich cut into forty pieces.
    - Jack Benny
  • Post #18 - December 22nd, 2016, 5:02 pm
    Post #18 - December 22nd, 2016, 5:02 pm Post #18 - December 22nd, 2016, 5:02 pm
    Dave148 wrote:
    Burt’s Place, home of the iconic caramelized crust created by late pizza master Burt Katz, may reopen by the end of January, starting with a friends-and-family soft opening, said new co-owner and protege Jerry Petrow.

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/dining/ct ... story.html


    I knew that this article had to be written by Louisa Chu, one of my very favorite food writers, who introduced notoriously deep-dish-averse Anthony Bourdain to the glory that was Burt's.
  • Post #19 - December 23rd, 2016, 7:28 am
    Post #19 - December 23rd, 2016, 7:28 am Post #19 - December 23rd, 2016, 7:28 am
    A possible soft 'family-and-friends' opening sometime in January? Should be interesting. Here's a pic posted yesterday on FB:

    burt's.jpg The interior of Burt's 2.0 so far
  • Post #20 - January 24th, 2017, 8:39 am
    Post #20 - January 24th, 2017, 8:39 am Post #20 - January 24th, 2017, 8:39 am
    Any updates? Been awhile since we've heard anything
  • Post #21 - January 24th, 2017, 9:02 am
    Post #21 - January 24th, 2017, 9:02 am Post #21 - January 24th, 2017, 9:02 am
    tkoo wrote:Any updates? Been awhile since we've heard anything

    From Friday - https://www.facebook.com/burtspizza/
    Hors D'oeuvre: A ham sandwich cut into forty pieces.
    - Jack Benny
  • Post #22 - January 24th, 2017, 10:42 am
    Post #22 - January 24th, 2017, 10:42 am Post #22 - January 24th, 2017, 10:42 am
    Dave148 wrote:
    tkoo wrote:Any updates? Been awhile since we've heard anything

    From Friday - https://www.facebook.com/burtspizza/


    thanks, started following them. sounds like they're moving on to the pizza perfection process. progress is always good
  • Post #23 - January 24th, 2017, 10:56 am
    Post #23 - January 24th, 2017, 10:56 am Post #23 - January 24th, 2017, 10:56 am
    It's really happening folks; we're in the home stretch. Interior construction is almost finished, the kitchen is coming together, and we're refocusing this week on getting the Pizza just right.

    The physical changes are both subtle and profound. We'll still have the "step back in time" knotty wood paneling and all the old booths. There will be fewer knickknacks, but there'll still be some quirky charm. OTOH, all the folks who complained about the spartan state of the bathroom will cry real tears at the beautiful transformation. In both of them. Yep, not just one remodeled restroom, but TWO!

    As explained in my lengthy post above, you'll still be encouraged to call ahead, but we'll always do our best to accommodate, as best we can, even if you don't.

    Keep your eyes peeled on this space. I'm pushing for a special LTH-centric soft opening event. Details coming soon.

    Buddy
  • Post #24 - January 24th, 2017, 10:59 am
    Post #24 - January 24th, 2017, 10:59 am Post #24 - January 24th, 2017, 10:59 am
    There is no reason to think that Burt's 2.0 won't be a success initially, but the proof will be in the staying power. These guys--at least from the way it looks online--appear to be paying attention to detail, and with Buddy Roadhouse chipping in with his knowledge of the nuances of the Burt's vibe, it could be a pretty cool transformation.

    Not easy to do, because they'll be under tremendously close scrutiny.

    Here's hoping...
  • Post #25 - January 24th, 2017, 1:47 pm
    Post #25 - January 24th, 2017, 1:47 pm Post #25 - January 24th, 2017, 1:47 pm
    Shouldn't they have completed the "tasting phase" by now? It seems like they've been working on the pizza for a very long time and I thought they had the recipe down pat.
  • Post #26 - January 24th, 2017, 2:09 pm
    Post #26 - January 24th, 2017, 2:09 pm Post #26 - January 24th, 2017, 2:09 pm
    Yep, we started the tasting process a long time ago. Unfortunately, that was interrupted by the remodeling process, which was further delayed by numerous unexpected physical and municipal challenges along the way. Anyone who thinks it's easy or cheap to bring a 135 year old building up to multiple 21st century codes is sorely mistaken. John and Jerry have tried to do a first class job, every step of the way.

    Now that things are coming together physically, we can get back into the kitchen (mainly because there's now a kitchen to get back into) and do our best to recreate the Pizzas that made Burt's Place an international tourist draw for Morton Grove.

    Buddy
  • Post #27 - January 24th, 2017, 2:17 pm
    Post #27 - January 24th, 2017, 2:17 pm Post #27 - January 24th, 2017, 2:17 pm
    Just the fact that the guys have made the VERY smart decision to include you in Burt's 2.0 makes me very, very confident that they are going to get it right. And right takes time! We're ready when you are!!! Thanks for keeping us in the loop Buddy R.
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #28 - January 24th, 2017, 2:32 pm
    Post #28 - January 24th, 2017, 2:32 pm Post #28 - January 24th, 2017, 2:32 pm
    Buddy roadhouse said:
    Anyone who thinks it's easy or cheap to bring a 135 year old building up to multiple 21st century codes is sorely mistaken.


    Amen.

    When I relocated my business some years ago it took months to get the new space ready. Scheduling contractors and waiting for city inspectors takes time. And this was just a simple retail space without all the added regulations that apply to food service.

    Keep up the good work. It will turn out fine in the end.
    Where there’s smoke, there may be salmon.
  • Post #29 - January 24th, 2017, 8:20 pm
    Post #29 - January 24th, 2017, 8:20 pm Post #29 - January 24th, 2017, 8:20 pm
    Every day longer that it takes to open gives me more hope for success. If these guys just wanted to capitalize on the name and location they would have been opened a long time ago. While I'm sure they have a clock (or calendar) ticking away in their heads, the truth is, there's no need to rush. I'm sure it doesn't take this long to open a Domino's.
  • Post #30 - January 24th, 2017, 10:37 pm
    Post #30 - January 24th, 2017, 10:37 pm Post #30 - January 24th, 2017, 10:37 pm
    Thank you one and all for the votes of confidence. All I can tell you is, every day brings a new challenge, but doesn't dampen our determination to do the job, and do it right.

    Buddy

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