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Burt's Pan Pizza: Does Size Really Matter?

Burt's Pan Pizza: Does Size Really Matter?
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  • Burt's Pan Pizza: Does Size Really Matter?

    Post #1 - October 22nd, 2008, 8:25 pm
    Post #1 - October 22nd, 2008, 8:25 pm Post #1 - October 22nd, 2008, 8:25 pm
    In all of the comments devoted to Burt's Pan Pizza here on LTH Forum, I cannot recall any debate about the merits of ordering one size of pizza versus another. As I generally visit Burt's with at least one other fresser, I tend to order with an eye to leftovers, and go for the largest size. However, after spending one memorable night with a medium size pan pizza, I have a new passion. It seems to be a matter of the higher burnt crust-to-center ratio of the medium size, which yields a slightly more solid slice that holds up to the garlicky slices of secret-recipe sausage. Has anyone else here developed a craving for a specific version of Burt's pizza? And would you care to share the details?

    Burt's Place
    8541 N. Ferris Ave
    Morton Grove, IL
    847-965-7997
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #2 - October 22nd, 2008, 8:38 pm
    Post #2 - October 22nd, 2008, 8:38 pm Post #2 - October 22nd, 2008, 8:38 pm
    I tend to avoid the larger sizes whenever I can for the reasons you outlined above. Actually, not so much for the crispy part of the crust, but more to avoid a potentially underdone middle. Normally, if I have a large group my preference is 2 mediums rather than the extra large size. That doesn't always work out, though. Of course, for me this is true for any pizza; not just Burt's.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #3 - October 23rd, 2008, 5:41 am
    Post #3 - October 23rd, 2008, 5:41 am Post #3 - October 23rd, 2008, 5:41 am
    I was there last night, and ordered a small (10") pizza for two of us - and we asked for it on the slightly well-done side (in part because we loaded up on the toppings). Crust was crisp throughout, with a nice toasty brown color on the bottom, even in the middle of the pizza. After starting off by sharing a small salad, we still had a half slice to take home as leftovers.

    We called ahead, but another couple came in while we were there - they admitted they hadn't called in, but Sharon told them "that's okay." Sharon and Burt were, as usual, very friendly - Sharon was telling about she takes par-baked pizzas, frozen, to her kids and grandkids, and apparently they bake up pretty well.

    As we were leaving, we met RAB and REB coming in for their first-ever visit to Burt's (they'd called ahead). I'll be curious to hear what their initial impressions were.

    (I wish Sharon had pointed out that they now have Alpha King - she only mentioned the Great Lakes beers.)
  • Post #4 - October 23rd, 2008, 9:31 am
    Post #4 - October 23rd, 2008, 9:31 am Post #4 - October 23rd, 2008, 9:31 am
    As nr706 mentioned, RAB and I visited Burt's for the first time last night. We were joined by my mother, who lives nearby and had been itching to try Burt's.

    What can I say? We had a splendid time. Everything was great - - the pizza, the beer, the pie maker's chatter.

    To answer the question of the thread, we ordered an XL pizza. We often order pizzas well done, but we didn't here. And, we didn't need to. The crust was crispy delicious -- a tad black on the edges, and not soggy at any point. It isn't the super deep dish of some Chicago joints, more of an in-between thin and thick. Perfect, really. While we used utensils to eat, RAB tried picking up a slice just to see if you could eat with your hands if you wanted to. No problem - - Burt's is not a droopy pizza.

    The pizza was excellent. As my mother noted, a nice balance of ingredients. Unlike many Chicago pies, Burt's is not smothered in cheese, allowing you to appreciate all of the ingredients (and allowing you to have more than a slice or two). Of the toppings, the sausage stood out. The sauce had a nice tang and was again, well-balanced.

    We also ordered Great Lakes beers, something you don't see in every local pizza place (I suppose the same can be said of El Yucateco green, which Burt offered for our pizza). Burt and Sharon both suggested the Nosferatu, a seasonal malty, hoppy beer. RAB enjoyed it enough to have two.

    For me, what makes Burt's special is the pizza - - and Burt, Sharon, and the atmosphere. While there were five other parties during our visit, Burt stopped by several times to chat with us, only leaving to rescue pizzas from the oven. Twice, he thanked us for calling ahead and mentioned how much it helps him plan for the service. He was pleased to hear that the word is out on LTH that calling ahead is the way to go. Similar to nr706, we also heard Sharon ask several parties if they'd ordered ahead. When they replied that they hadn't, she didn't inquire further. No one was turned away. Of course, calling ahead worked for us as well. Within 10 minutes of arriving at Burt's, our hot, bubbly pizza was served.

    Burt also talked to us about Tony Bourdain's visit and the likely future crowds. He was in a friendly, chatty mood. To us, it felt like being in someone's home. Burt and Sharon were warm and gracious. We plan to return before the "No Reservations" episode airs and you won't be able to get into Burt's with no reservations.

    Based on this single visit, It seems like the best way to enjoy Burt's is to call ahead for a Wednesday or Thursday meal, when they aren't too busy to stop for a chat.

    (Dearest mods - - Would this post be more appropriate in a new general Burt's thread, rather than in this one? If so, feel free to move and I can edit the post appropriately. Thanks.)
  • Post #5 - October 23rd, 2008, 1:47 pm
    Post #5 - October 23rd, 2008, 1:47 pm Post #5 - October 23rd, 2008, 1:47 pm
    I tend to get mine as carry-out. I usually order a large. Anything bigger tends to be too doughy. I actually prefer the medium. But it just seems like a waste to take it home and only a medium.
  • Post #6 - October 23rd, 2008, 2:52 pm
    Post #6 - October 23rd, 2008, 2:52 pm Post #6 - October 23rd, 2008, 2:52 pm
    Insider's tip/opinion: The "Large" (14") size is, in my opinion, the optimum size to get. The XL (16") is okay, and for my personal tastes, for all the reasons stated above, I avoid the XXL (18").

    Make of it what you will, and order what you like,

    Buddy
  • Post #7 - October 23rd, 2008, 3:55 pm
    Post #7 - October 23rd, 2008, 3:55 pm Post #7 - October 23rd, 2008, 3:55 pm
    How many people can a 14'' pizza typically feed?
    Fettuccine alfredo is mac and cheese for adults.
  • Post #8 - October 23rd, 2008, 4:34 pm
    Post #8 - October 23rd, 2008, 4:34 pm Post #8 - October 23rd, 2008, 4:34 pm
    REB wrote:we ordered an XL pizza. We often order pizzas well done, but we didn't here. And, we didn't need to. The crust was crispy delicious

    As a post script, Burt's pizza reheats shockingly well in a toaster oven. Yum.
    I don't know what you think about dinner, but there must be a relation between the breakfast and the happiness. --Cemal Süreyya
  • Post #9 - October 23rd, 2008, 4:35 pm
    Post #9 - October 23rd, 2008, 4:35 pm Post #9 - October 23rd, 2008, 4:35 pm
    Blown Z wrote:How many people can a 14'' pizza typically feed?


    I'd say three. (But, I can be a bit of a pig.)
    I don't know what you think about dinner, but there must be a relation between the breakfast and the happiness. --Cemal Süreyya
  • Post #10 - October 23rd, 2008, 4:36 pm
    Post #10 - October 23rd, 2008, 4:36 pm Post #10 - October 23rd, 2008, 4:36 pm
    Cold, makes a great breakfast, too.
  • Post #11 - October 24th, 2008, 9:06 am
    Post #11 - October 24th, 2008, 9:06 am Post #11 - October 24th, 2008, 9:06 am
    i dont think a 14" can feed three people. a 16" just fed two people with three slices of leftovers. if you have three people with appetites i think a 16" will feed them but a 14" will leave them wanting. i had burt's recently, an XL with sausage and mushroom and it was excellent.

    just call ahead and order. this should be in the thread title.
  • Post #12 - October 24th, 2008, 9:24 am
    Post #12 - October 24th, 2008, 9:24 am Post #12 - October 24th, 2008, 9:24 am
    Josephine wrote:However, after spending one memorable night with a medium size pan pizza, I have a new passion.


    This sounds so saucy - so to speak. :wink:

    I think I've only had the XXL now that I think about it. Always perfectly done from edge to center. Great hot or cold. I'm pretty sure I don't need to crave Burt's pizza any more than I already do - which the farther away I get, can get quite maddening. I will have to try to order mediums next time. That's a personal size, right?
  • Post #13 - October 24th, 2008, 10:34 am
    Post #13 - October 24th, 2008, 10:34 am Post #13 - October 24th, 2008, 10:34 am
    Related note:

    At Pequod's in the city, the medium is absolutely the way to go - there is a pretty big difference between the medium and large. Crust always turns out better w/ the medium pans.
  • Post #14 - October 24th, 2008, 2:47 pm
    Post #14 - October 24th, 2008, 2:47 pm Post #14 - October 24th, 2008, 2:47 pm
    Louisa Chu wrote:
    Josephine wrote:However, after spending one memorable night with a medium size pan pizza, I have a new passion.


    This sounds so saucy - so to speak. :wink:


    I was afraid it sounded cheesy. :wink:

    I've been chided before for finding no joke too cheap. . . I don't intend to change that any time soon.

    Louisa, I share your craving for the distant and unreachable Burt's Pizza.
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #15 - October 24th, 2008, 2:53 pm
    Post #15 - October 24th, 2008, 2:53 pm Post #15 - October 24th, 2008, 2:53 pm
    Josephine wrote:
    Louisa Chu wrote:
    Josephine wrote:However, after spending one memorable night with a medium size pan pizza, I have a new passion.


    This sounds so saucy - so to speak. :wink:


    I was afraid it sounded cheesy. :wink:

    I've been chided before for finding no joke too cheap. . . I don't intend to change that any time soon.

    Louisa, I share your craving for the distant and unreachable Burt's Pizza.


    Saucy, cheesy, and cheeky. :)

    I am now within striking distance of Burt's. Must. Eat. Soon.
  • Post #16 - October 27th, 2008, 5:53 pm
    Post #16 - October 27th, 2008, 5:53 pm Post #16 - October 27th, 2008, 5:53 pm
    Stopped by Friday night for a take-out order. I drove by just before 5pm to place my order. I was going to dinner at my aunt's in Skokie and, no way was I going to be that close and not pick something up. I felt like such a glutton. I stuffed myself at my aunt's. But when I got the pizza home, I couldn't resist having at least 1 piece. It was all I could do not to grab a 2nd. Kudos to my wife for resisting the urge. I wish I had since I was up most of the night with heartburn.
  • Post #17 - October 27th, 2008, 6:13 pm
    Post #17 - October 27th, 2008, 6:13 pm Post #17 - October 27th, 2008, 6:13 pm
    I had my first visit to Burt's last week and I have to say it won't be my last. After my first bite, I was in love. :D I couldn't believe how wonderfully fresh the pizza tasted. The spinach, tomatoes and garlic...not to mention the sausage, onion and mushrooms were nirvana to me. Both Sharon and Burt were wonderful "hosts" and I appreciated the fact that I felt as if I were eating in Burt and Sharon's home and not their restaurant. They make everyone feel welcome. I can't wait to go back and try something new.
  • Post #18 - October 27th, 2008, 8:42 pm
    Post #18 - October 27th, 2008, 8:42 pm Post #18 - October 27th, 2008, 8:42 pm
    moetchandon wrote:After my first bite, I was in love. :D I couldn't believe how wonderfully fresh the pizza tasted. The spinach, tomatoes and garlic...not to mention the sausage, onion and mushrooms were nirvana to me.

    You are so right about the freshness factor, moetchandon. Burt achieves that by doing his own shopping for quality rather than taking deliveries of quantity ingredients.

    moetchandon wrote:Both Sharon and Burt were wonderful "hosts" and I appreciated the fact that I felt as if I were eating in Burt and Sharon's home and not their restaurant. They make everyone feel welcome.

    You mean Burt's Place is not their home? :wink: (I'm remembering that my daughter and her preschool friends were shocked to learn that their teacher didn't actually live in the classroom.)

    moetchandon wrote: I can't wait to go back and try something new.

    For a change of pace, try the burger and onion rings. The onion rings have gotten some LTH love, but I don't recall any mentions of the tasty burger. Like the pizza, slightly charred-I'm just not sure how Burt achieves that -does he have a grill back there just for the occasional burger?
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #19 - October 27th, 2008, 9:19 pm
    Post #19 - October 27th, 2008, 9:19 pm Post #19 - October 27th, 2008, 9:19 pm
    Josephine wrote:For a change of pace, try the burger and onion rings. The onion rings have gotten some LTH love, but I don't recall any mentions of the tasty burger. Like the pizza, slightly charred-I'm just not sure how Burt achieves that -does he have a grill back there just for the occasional burger?
    Let's avoid any future disappointments before they occur. Due to the remarkable rise in pizza orders, Burt has discontinued the burgers and all the pasta dishes. The physical requirements and focus needed for one man to do all those pizzas just doesn't allow for the distractions of the other stuff.

    Best to know ahead of time so there won't be any issues later.

    Buddy
  • Post #20 - October 27th, 2008, 9:22 pm
    Post #20 - October 27th, 2008, 9:22 pm Post #20 - October 27th, 2008, 9:22 pm
    BuddyRoadhouse wrote:Best to know ahead of time so there won't be any issues later.

    Burt's Menu
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #21 - November 1st, 2008, 2:05 am
    Post #21 - November 1st, 2008, 2:05 am Post #21 - November 1st, 2008, 2:05 am
    Happy Halloween from Burt's
    Image
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #22 - November 12th, 2008, 2:13 pm
    Post #22 - November 12th, 2008, 2:13 pm Post #22 - November 12th, 2008, 2:13 pm
    I just had Burt's for lunch....and I think I like Lincolnwood Lou Malnati's better! I like the sausage and the crust at Lou's better.
    The clown is down!
  • Post #23 - November 12th, 2008, 3:05 pm
    Post #23 - November 12th, 2008, 3:05 pm Post #23 - November 12th, 2008, 3:05 pm
    I agree. I have generally found Malnati's pizza to be far better than Burt's. Malnati's crust is much tastier and they don't skimp on the ingredients like Burt's does.
  • Post #24 - November 12th, 2008, 3:23 pm
    Post #24 - November 12th, 2008, 3:23 pm Post #24 - November 12th, 2008, 3:23 pm
    Sundaze wrote:I agree. I have generally found Malnati's pizza to be far better than Burt's. Malnati's crust is much tastier and they don't skimp on the ingredients like Burt's does.

    I don't think Burt skimps. I think he lets the crust be the star and I appreciate that. I certainly like Malnati's and definitely consider myself a fan but the amount of sausage they normally put on a deep-dish pizza is excessive and bordering on disgusting, IMO. In fact, I normally ask for sausage balls on my pies at Malnati's because it makes for a better pizza. I do not want an island of sausage covering the entire area of my deep-dish pizza. As is the case with many things culinary, with pizza, often less is more.

    I also think the overall quality of ingredients at Burt's is superior to Malnati's.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #25 - November 12th, 2008, 3:53 pm
    Post #25 - November 12th, 2008, 3:53 pm Post #25 - November 12th, 2008, 3:53 pm
    ouch, Ronnie :| that sausage patty at Malnati's with the Butter Crust just does it for me. overall, it is my favorite deep dish. excess is the point of that pie and i bite into it hook line and sinker. Burt's is a different pie and has its own high points, but overall the Malnati's Deep Dish Butter Crust Sausage is my all time favorite 8)
  • Post #26 - November 12th, 2008, 4:08 pm
    Post #26 - November 12th, 2008, 4:08 pm Post #26 - November 12th, 2008, 4:08 pm
    MBK wrote:ouch, Ronnie :| that sausage patty at Malnati's with the Butter Crust just does it for me. overall, it is my favorite deep dish. excess is the point of that pie and i bite into it hook line and sinker. Burt's is a different pie and has its own high points, but overall the Malnati's Deep Dish Butter Crust Sausage is my all time favorite 8)

    Don't get me wrong, I do really enjoy Malnati's but I've come to appreciate the modified version described above, which has become my regular order there. I think in the standard configuration, all that sausage fat rendering out and having nowhere to go finally got to me. The way I order it now, I can eat a lot more of it, which makes me very happy. :)

    Still, I give Burt's the edge but I agree that they're not entirely comparable.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #27 - November 12th, 2008, 5:15 pm
    Post #27 - November 12th, 2008, 5:15 pm Post #27 - November 12th, 2008, 5:15 pm
    I am so with you.

    If I wanted to eat a whole tube of Jimmy Dean, I'd just go get one and skip the pizza.

    Burt's is one of the few places I order sausage, precisely because he doesn't grotesquely overdo it.
    Watch Sky Full of Bacon, the Chicago food HD podcast!
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  • Post #28 - November 12th, 2008, 5:30 pm
    Post #28 - November 12th, 2008, 5:30 pm Post #28 - November 12th, 2008, 5:30 pm
    oh come on now, and if i wanted beef, i would just make a roast :lol: burt's is a different kind of pizza, the sausage is very lean and sparse, the ingredients are fresh and the dough is made everyday. it comes together nicely, but its not comparable to the "city of big shoulders" malnati's deep dish sausage pie. malnati's dough is homemade (though maybe frozen), the tomatoes i believe are home canned and the sausage, in its great and glorious amounts, is a tasty Italian style. the pie comes together nicely in the big and hearty meal Chicago tradition. quite tasty, and although I prefer it to Burt's, different
  • Post #29 - November 20th, 2008, 9:06 am
    Post #29 - November 20th, 2008, 9:06 am Post #29 - November 20th, 2008, 9:06 am
    We were tired, hungry, and cranky last night after dealing with the dealership for a recall notice so I made an audible, called Burt and headed up Lincoln for a medium sausage and mushroom.

    It was just what the doctor ordered. Good conversation, great crust and impeccable ingredients. Next time we're ordering a large and adding spinach and black olives.

    PS, I had a Great Lakes Beer Co. "Elliot Ness" amber ale which blew me away with it's aroma and depth of flavor. I will be looking for it this weekend.
    I used to think the brain was the most important part of the body. Then I realized who was telling me that.
  • Post #30 - November 20th, 2008, 9:09 am
    Post #30 - November 20th, 2008, 9:09 am Post #30 - November 20th, 2008, 9:09 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    MBK wrote:ouch, Ronnie :| that sausage patty at Malnati's with the Butter Crust just does it for me. overall, it is my favorite deep dish. excess is the point of that pie and i bite into it hook line and sinker. Burt's is a different pie and has its own high points, but overall the Malnati's Deep Dish Butter Crust Sausage is my all time favorite 8)

    Don't get me wrong, I do really enjoy Malnati's but I've come to appreciate the modified version described above, which has become my regular order there. I think in the standard configuration, all that sausage fat rendering out and having nowhere to go finally got to me. The way I order it now, I can eat a lot more of it, which makes me very happy. :)

    Still, I give Burt's the edge but I agree that they're not entirely comparable.

    =R=

    Great idea! I get a little sickened by the sausage overdose too, so I'll try this next time I'm at da 'nati's!
    pizza fun

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