Chicago pizza lovers knew this day was close, but on Wednesday the fears were confirmed with an announcement that Burt's Place was closed for good. The suburban Morton Grove legend closed in mid-July, dubbed as temporary due to owner Burt Katz's health. The good news is that Katz's health appears to have improved, but the bad news is the restaurant won't reopen.
Jeff Sanders, a waiter at Burt's, made the announcement Wednesday on Chicago-area food message board LTHForum, a post first noticed by Fooditor. This may be as close as customers will get to an official announcement from the reclusive Katz. The back pains plaguing Katz have lessened, Sanders wrote:
"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 [p]izzas, he just feels it's time to call it a career."
Since 1989, after Katz sold Pequod's, Burt's Place and its pan pizzas' caramelized crusts have been a destination for Chicagoans. The pizza appeared on the cover of Saveur, and Anthony Bourdain helped fuel its popularity on an episode of "No Reservations." Sanders wrote the restaurant will go up for sale, but "whether that sale includes [Burt's] recipes and technique will be handled between him and the buyer. Stay tuned."
UPDATE: Burt Katz announced the shutter himself in a Facebook post this afternoon: "Time has taken its toll on health and what have you. Regrettably we have to take step back at this time. We appreciate everything our customers have brought to us. Things are in a state of flux but progressing."