Tonight, one of Chicago’s premiere deep-dish pizzerias reopens its doors after two years, this time with new owners. The wait is finally over for Burt’s Place, 10 months after founder Burt Katz’s death. New owners Jerry Petrow and John Munao have done their best to preserve Katz’s legacy while making a few changes that they hope will make customers more comfortable.
“This is Burt’s place,” Petrow said. “It’s not as much about my journey, he created it.”
So far as of noon on Friday, Burt’s has received about 60 pre-orders for opening night, Petrow said. The spruced up interiors are a reflection of Katz’s personality, and Petrow and Munao been remodeling since June 15, 2016. They used leftover cedar from Katz to build the new bar, and it clashes with the rest of the wood in the restaurant. They didn’t hire a fancy design firm to modernize the insides; nothing matches.
“But because it’s Burt’s, it worked, it works in my opinion,” Petrow said. “When the round peg didn’t fit the square hole, we kind of made it fit.”
They’ve kept some of Katz’s personal effects. Even though the new ownership isn’t Jewish, they still have the “Jews make the best pizza” sign. There’s a figure collection of old actors displayed on the wall including Humphrey Bogart, James Cagney, and Jack Benny. The plaque that shows where Anthony Bourdain sat is still there, too. So is the blown-up Saveur magazine cover that featured the restaurant.
The changes include the cedar bar, as the new ownership expanded the beer and wine options. There’s also a vintage sign that reminds customers that Burt’s Place is now accepting credit cards.
Take a look around, Burt’s Place place opens at 4:30 p.m. today.
Burt’s Place, 8541 N. Ferris Road, Morton Grove, (847) 965-7997, open 4:30 p.m to 9:30 p.m. on Sunday through Wednesday; 4:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Thursday through Saturday. Call ahead to preorder pizzas before arriving for dine-in service—at least until that policy is relaxed.