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MORTON GROVE — Burt Katz, the man behind numerous popular Chicago-area pizza spots and original owner of Pequod’s, has died at 78, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Katz, a Wicker Park native, is well known for Burt’s Place in north suburban Morton Grove, which closed in 2015. Prior to that, Katz perfected his signature brand of pizza with a caramelized crust and super fresh ingredients at a number of Chicago haunts.
He bought into Inferno, an Evanston pizza place, in 1963, according to Serious Eats. After closing Inferno in 1965, Katz opened Gullivers, which is still open today under different management in Rogers Park. After a break from the pizza business, Katz returned in 1971 and opened the original Pequod’s location in Morton Grove, a popular spot that now has a second location in Lincoln Park.
Katz is considered the first pizza maker to serve a pie with a caramelized crust from cheese melted along the outside. Chicagoans still flock to Pequod’s and Gullivers to enjoy this style of pizza, though Katz divested from those businesses long ago in favor of his namesake suburban spot. (He sold Pequod’s in 1986.)
His pizza was even enjoyed by those who don’t consider deep dish a delicacy, even though Katz himself called the style pan pizza and considered it different from the original Chicago-style deep dish, the Tribune said. Anthony Bourdain filmed a segment at Burt’s Place for an episode of “No Reservations,” a show he hosted on the Travel Channel. Bourdain told the Tribune Sunday, “His was the only deep dish pizza I ever loved.”
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