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Burt’s Place: And so it ends, not with a bang, but a whimper

Burt’s Place: And so it ends, not with a bang, but a whimper
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  • Burt’s Place: And so it ends, not with a bang, but a whimper

    Post #1 - October 28th, 2015, 4:44 pm
    Post #1 - October 28th, 2015, 4:44 pm Post #1 - October 28th, 2015, 4:44 pm
    Doug Sohn had the chance to do it right. Still a young man, he made the announcement of his closing five months before his final day, giving devotees and hopeful first timers a chance to make one last pilgrimage to his highly esteemed Encased Meats Emporium.

    Sadly, there will be no heavily publicized run to the end or long lines for Burt’s Place.

    Amid months of swirling rumors and speculation, I’ve maintained the position that until I heard otherwise from Burt’s own mouth, we would be reopening once he was physically able to do so. I spoke with him today and addressed that point specifically. He responded with the firm assertion that he would not reopen.

    Some quick, general background for those who want to catch up:

    Throughout late June and early July, Burt had been suffering from ever worsening back pains. On Thursday, July 9th he made the decision to close down for a week so he could seek further medical attention and recuperate.

    Just to show he hadn’t lost his unique sense of humor, we posted a sign in the window stating, “Closed due to unexpected equipment failure.” Burt was the “equipment”. We changed the sign a couple of weeks later to more accurately reflect the true medical nature of the situation.

    To answer the big question hanging over the plate; Burt is fine and seems to be in good health. He’s been seen repeatedly working out at the gym, and he and Sharon have been spotted dining out at various places around the area.

    All I can tell you is, during the few months he’s been off, he gained some new perspective. Although he’s physically able to keep on making Pizzas, he just feels it’s time to call it a career.

    Yes, he’s planning to sell the place. Whether that sale includes his recipes and technique will be handled between him and the buyer. Stay tuned.
    Finally, if anyone knows of an Old School Restaurant looking for a wise-ass, yet dedicated waiter who excels at hand writing orders, please send me a PM.

    Thanks to everyone at LTHForum for your patronage and support. You all helped turn a neighborhood Pizza Joint into an international sensation.

    Buddy
    Last edited by BuddyRoadhouse on October 29th, 2015, 12:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  • Post #2 - October 28th, 2015, 8:35 pm
    Post #2 - October 28th, 2015, 8:35 pm Post #2 - October 28th, 2015, 8:35 pm
    Sad news, but a beautiful post. Thanks, Buddy.
    Pithy quote here.
  • Post #3 - October 28th, 2015, 9:35 pm
    Post #3 - October 28th, 2015, 9:35 pm Post #3 - October 28th, 2015, 9:35 pm
    Thank you for the update. Best wishes to you, Burt, Sharon, and all affected by this decision. Thanks for the pizzas and the memories.
  • Post #4 - October 28th, 2015, 9:38 pm
    Post #4 - October 28th, 2015, 9:38 pm Post #4 - October 28th, 2015, 9:38 pm
    Indeed. Thank you to everyone that made Burt's the special place it was.
    MJN "AKA" Michael Nagrant
    http://www.michaelnagrant.com
  • Post #5 - October 28th, 2015, 10:34 pm
    Post #5 - October 28th, 2015, 10:34 pm Post #5 - October 28th, 2015, 10:34 pm
    Hi,

    Burt did what I always expected him to do: simply close one day.

    Glad he is feeling better and can enjoy his life and family.

    Best wishes!
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #6 - October 29th, 2015, 6:54 am
    Post #6 - October 29th, 2015, 6:54 am Post #6 - October 29th, 2015, 6:54 am
    The phrase "end of an era" is bandied about quite a bit. But it really seems appropriate in this instance. Sad for us, happy and exciting for Burt. Good for him!
    Gypsy Boy

    "I am not a glutton--I am an explorer of food." (Erma Bombeck)
  • Post #7 - October 29th, 2015, 8:02 am
    Post #7 - October 29th, 2015, 8:02 am Post #7 - October 29th, 2015, 8:02 am
    Gypsy Boy wrote:The phrase "end of an era" is bandied about quite a bit. But it really seems appropriate in this instance. Sad for us, happy and exciting for Burt. Good for him!


    I'd actually call it the end of many eras.
  • Post #8 - October 29th, 2015, 9:45 am
    Post #8 - October 29th, 2015, 9:45 am Post #8 - October 29th, 2015, 9:45 am
    I am so glad that Burt is feeling better and has decided to take the time to enjoy life with his fabulous and fun wife.
    Thanks to them both for may delicious meals and memories.
    Best kind of people
    E
    "If you reject the food, ignore the customs, fear the religion and avoid the people, you might better stay home."
    ~James Michener
  • Post #9 - October 29th, 2015, 12:32 pm
    Post #9 - October 29th, 2015, 12:32 pm Post #9 - October 29th, 2015, 12:32 pm
    Tough to read, thanks for sharing the story with us.
  • Post #10 - October 29th, 2015, 7:04 pm
    Post #10 - October 29th, 2015, 7:04 pm Post #10 - October 29th, 2015, 7:04 pm
    Burt Katz on closing Burt's Place, his legendary Morton Grove pizza house

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/dining/ct ... ype=outfit
    Never order barbecue in a place that also serves quiche - Lewis Grizzard
  • Post #11 - October 29th, 2015, 7:14 pm
    Post #11 - October 29th, 2015, 7:14 pm Post #11 - October 29th, 2015, 7:14 pm
    Dave148 wrote:
    Burt Katz on closing Burt's Place, his legendary Morton Grove pizza house

    http://www.chicagotribune.com/dining/ct ... ype=outfit


    From the Trib article:

    Katz said he wants the restaurant to continue under new ownership.

    “I’d like to find somebody that has the heart to run a store like that. It would be an opportunity for someone who wanted a place that’s had a reputation of 50 years. If someone wanted the name ‘Burt’s Place,’ that’s the draw. It would be the recipes, the location, a bundle situation.”

    Somebody step up...LTH Kickstarter?
  • Post #12 - October 30th, 2015, 7:40 am
    Post #12 - October 30th, 2015, 7:40 am Post #12 - October 30th, 2015, 7:40 am
    AlexG wrote:Somebody step up...LTH Kickstarter?


    LTH Food Group, Inc

    [Picard]
    Make it so!
    [/Picard]
  • Post #13 - October 30th, 2015, 8:31 am
    Post #13 - October 30th, 2015, 8:31 am Post #13 - October 30th, 2015, 8:31 am
    Burt has given so many, so much pleasure. This is why we need an LTH Hall of Fame.

    Someday the time will come in Brooklyn for DiFara's. Until then, enjoy every slice.
    Toast, as every breakfaster knows, isn't really about the quality of the bread or how it's sliced or even the toaster. For man cannot live by toast alone. It's all about the butter. -- Adam Gopnik
  • Post #14 - October 30th, 2015, 10:22 am
    Post #14 - October 30th, 2015, 10:22 am Post #14 - October 30th, 2015, 10:22 am
    Gebert's current front page story in Fooditor focuses on the LTH effect on Burt's:BURT’S, THE PIZZA CHICAGO’S FOODIE INTERNET MADE FAMOUS, CLOSES

    This is a thoughtful reflection on the early days of LTHForum.com as well as Burt's BB (Before Bourdain).
    "Don't you ever underestimate the power of a female." Bootsy Collins
  • Post #15 - October 30th, 2015, 11:07 am
    Post #15 - October 30th, 2015, 11:07 am Post #15 - October 30th, 2015, 11:07 am
    David Hammond wrote:Gebert's current front page story in Fooditor focuses on the LTH effect on Burt's:BURT’S, THE PIZZA CHICAGO’S FOODIE INTERNET MADE FAMOUS, CLOSES

    This is a thoughtful reflection on the early days of LTHForum.com as well as Burt's BB (Before Bourdain).

    Hi,

    I appreciated the correct lineage of links on how this all started, which is sometimes lost in the noise.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #16 - October 30th, 2015, 2:33 pm
    Post #16 - October 30th, 2015, 2:33 pm Post #16 - October 30th, 2015, 2:33 pm
    Burt's could not have been more inconveniently located for me, but I feel fortunate to have eaten there as many times as I did (which was still not enough). It will be missed.
  • Post #17 - October 30th, 2015, 4:23 pm
    Post #17 - October 30th, 2015, 4:23 pm Post #17 - October 30th, 2015, 4:23 pm
    Hi- Buddy are you interested in buying the place? You would be the ideal person to take over the restaurant.
  • Post #18 - October 30th, 2015, 4:32 pm
    Post #18 - October 30th, 2015, 4:32 pm Post #18 - October 30th, 2015, 4:32 pm
    There's a huge amount of work involved in running a restaurant and no guarantees of success, even with an outstanding pedigree and history.

    Six months ago I would have given you an absolute "no" on the subject. However, certain recent events in my life have me pondering the situation in a new light. Still no firm answers, but a couple of closing doors might have me looking at an open window.

    Buddy
  • Post #19 - October 30th, 2015, 4:53 pm
    Post #19 - October 30th, 2015, 4:53 pm Post #19 - October 30th, 2015, 4:53 pm
    BuddyRoadhouse wrote:a couple of closing doors might have me looking at an open window.

    Buddy


    Please don't jump out that window!!!!
  • Post #20 - October 30th, 2015, 4:55 pm
    Post #20 - October 30th, 2015, 4:55 pm Post #20 - October 30th, 2015, 4:55 pm
    I was thinking more of climbing in, but we can do it your way too.

    Buddy
  • Post #21 - November 2nd, 2015, 4:25 pm
    Post #21 - November 2nd, 2015, 4:25 pm Post #21 - November 2nd, 2015, 4:25 pm
    Like George Carlin once said, "Take a f*****g chance in your life! Have a little excitement!"
  • Post #22 - November 2nd, 2015, 7:15 pm
    Post #22 - November 2nd, 2015, 7:15 pm Post #22 - November 2nd, 2015, 7:15 pm
    Ram4 wrote:Like George Carlin once said, "Take a f*****g chance in your life! Have a little excitement!"

    Haha, so easy to say when it's someone else spending the money! :lol:

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

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

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #23 - November 2nd, 2015, 9:23 pm
    Post #23 - November 2nd, 2015, 9:23 pm Post #23 - November 2nd, 2015, 9:23 pm
    I think it's a great opportunity for the right person. You already have a highly respected gourmet product so publicity will be easy. Update the technology a bit on the front end like maybe a 2 line phone :lol: and you've got a ready made successful business.
  • Post #24 - November 3rd, 2015, 6:56 am
    Post #24 - November 3rd, 2015, 6:56 am Post #24 - November 3rd, 2015, 6:56 am
    Well, that's the whole thing, isn't it? If you build it, will they come...?

    You could replicate the entire Burt's experience--most decidedly at another venue, of course--right down to the old radios, the creepy figurines, the sheet music on the ceilings. Hell, you could stencil Burt's visage (scary as that thought might be) on the front window. And the product itself--yes, one could learn to attain the exact balance of ingredients & cooking time to turn out a very similar pizza. Even with all that, will the buzz still be there?

    Personally, I don't think it would be a good idea to continue the reserve-a-space-in-the-oven deal that was maybe necessary but turned off a bunch of folks--albeit mostly newbies--at the same time. With Burt, it was eccentric. With a new owner, customers would not tolerate it. A second oven, bigger space would easily solve that issue.

    But some of us liked it before the Internet you-know-what hit the fan. We loved to bring our kids in there on a weeknight and kibitz with Burt & Sharon for an hour after we finished our pizza and beer. The conversational topics with Burt were far-ranging & quite interesting--it was like 'My Dinner With Andre'. And as Gebert alludes to in his article, I suspect they liked this chill aspect of owning a restaurant too.

    It will be fun to see what transpires, or whether Burt's will join the litany of Kow Kow, Jack's, Myron & Phil and Cock Robin--'all the old familiar places'. It's worked for Poochie's and Kaufman's. A revamping of Manny's looks to be a potential success. What will happen here?
    Last edited by jnm123 on November 3rd, 2015, 5:07 pm, edited 2 times in total.
  • Post #25 - November 3rd, 2015, 9:29 am
    Post #25 - November 3rd, 2015, 9:29 am Post #25 - November 3rd, 2015, 9:29 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    Ram4 wrote:Like George Carlin once said, "Take a f*****g chance in your life! Have a little excitement!"

    Haha, so easy to say when it's someone else spending the money! :lol:

    =R=

    Actually Ronnie I have stepped up to the plate and went all in on a business venture. I walk the walk! :wink:
  • Post #26 - November 3rd, 2015, 10:22 am
    Post #26 - November 3rd, 2015, 10:22 am Post #26 - November 3rd, 2015, 10:22 am
    Artie wrote:I think it's a great opportunity for the right person. You already have a highly respected gourmet product so publicity will be easy. Update the technology a bit on the front end like maybe a 2 line phone :lol: and you've got a ready made successful business.

    I think it could be akin to moving the Cubs to Rosemont. I really do wonder how successful Burt's would be continuing on without Burt's direct involvement. I think for a lot of people, he's the main attraction.

    Ram4 wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    Ram4 wrote:Like George Carlin once said, "Take a f*****g chance in your life! Have a little excitement!"

    Haha, so easy to say when it's someone else spending the money! :lol:

    =R=

    Actually Ronnie I have stepped up to the plate and went all in on a business venture. I walk the walk! :wink:

    So, are you going to finance the "new" Burt's, too? :lol:

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

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

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #27 - November 3rd, 2015, 3:50 pm
    Post #27 - November 3rd, 2015, 3:50 pm Post #27 - November 3rd, 2015, 3:50 pm
    ronnie_suburban wrote:I think it could be akin to moving the Cubs to Rosemont. I really do wonder how successful Burt's would be continuing on without Burt's direct involvement. I think for a lot of people, he's the main attraction.


    Perhaps an even more apt analogy would be Hot G Dog. All the same cooks preparing the same sausages (with some changes to the toppings). Are the lines down the block on weekends? Not in the least bit. There's a certain cachet for customers that the food and space alone won't provide.
  • Post #28 - November 3rd, 2015, 4:41 pm
    Post #28 - November 3rd, 2015, 4:41 pm Post #28 - November 3rd, 2015, 4:41 pm
    gnarchief wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:I think it could be akin to moving the Cubs to Rosemont. I really do wonder how successful Burt's would be continuing on without Burt's direct involvement. I think for a lot of people, he's the main attraction.


    Perhaps an even more apt analogy would be Hot G Dog. All the same cooks preparing the same sausages (with some changes to the toppings). Are the lines down the block on weekends? Not in the least bit. There's a certain cachet for customers that the food and space alone won't provide.

    Yeah, well put.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

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

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #29 - November 3rd, 2015, 10:09 pm
    Post #29 - November 3rd, 2015, 10:09 pm Post #29 - November 3rd, 2015, 10:09 pm
    gnarchief wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:I think it could be akin to moving the Cubs to Rosemont. I really do wonder how successful Burt's would be continuing on without Burt's direct involvement. I think for a lot of people, he's the main attraction.


    Perhaps an even more apt analogy would be Hot G Dog. All the same cooks preparing the same sausages (with some changes to the toppings). Are the lines down the block on weekends? Not in the least bit. There's a certain cachet for customers that the food and space alone won't provide.

    Exactly what I was thinking.
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #30 - November 4th, 2015, 2:20 am
    Post #30 - November 4th, 2015, 2:20 am Post #30 - November 4th, 2015, 2:20 am
    gnarchief wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:I think it could be akin to moving the Cubs to Rosemont. I really do wonder how successful Burt's would be continuing on without Burt's direct involvement. I think for a lot of people, he's the main attraction.


    Perhaps an even more apt analogy would be Hot G Dog. All the same cooks preparing the same sausages (with some changes to the toppings). Are the lines down the block on weekends? Not in the least bit. There's a certain cachet for customers that the food and space alone won't provide.

    It's also a new name and a new location and no obvious outward sign of its previous connections other than word of mouth. If they had stayed put, kept the name, kept the same menu, kept the fixtures, etc., the lines might still be there.

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