Burt’s Place to me represents everything that is good and right about pizza, and it’s one of the finest pizzerias on the planet. Like PCC, Burt plays by his own set of rules, sticks to his beliefs, and demands perfection. Represented in pizza form, we nearly achieved it this past Friday night.
The legend of Burt in a nutshell is that he started Pequods and a handful of other pizza joints after being fed up with his 9-5 job, has since then sold the other pizza spots off, and now celebrates His pizza only the way He wants. Burt’s pizza is the most ideal pizza in form. It’s made strictly with the freshest and finest ingredients, and the crust is carefully crafted—-not thin, not deep dish, but a perfect pan. Basically its a super incredible wet-dream version of what Pizza Hut wishes they could make with their crust.
The deal with Burt’s is that you order the pizzas in advance (a day or more) so he knows what to buy. We rolled in at 7:15pm sharp and got at it pretty quickly. A nice beer selection and cozy booths in the small tavern like room helped settle us right in. Pizzas were served promptly by the friendly staff—headed up by Burt’s wife who also rules. The pizzas were simply bursting with flavor and freshness. The quality of the ingredients and the simplicity shines through in every bite at Burts. It’s truly remarkable. To top it all off, the price was right. Something like ~$16 per each large pizza seemed like a steal.
While PCC is all about each and every member’s opinion on pizzas, and our strict scoring guidelines, Burt’s fell short of the top spot due to the lack of cheese mainly. My brief conversation with Burt eluded to his particular belief that other pizza spots dump too much cheese on pies and it takes over. So while Burt’s doesn’t rank #1 in the PCC standings, it’s undeniably one of the finest spots we have ever been, and I will sleep well at night knowing Burt does not give a fuck about rankings, or how anyone else does their pizza, but that he does it his way and his way only.
# of people in attendance: 9
# pizzas sampled: 3
pizzas: (all pan—the standard) sausage and mushroom, pepperoni and fresh garlic, sliced tomato/fresh bell peppers and spinach
overall score: 7.7
When Oprah says it’s her favorite pizza in Chicago, you gotta go check it out, right? This—along with other favorable reviews— brought us to the Bucktown location of Pizanos for another night out of delicious Chicago pizza.
While the interior was clearly decorated in a faux-old school look to appear like it’s been there forever, that did not deter our taste buds. Without a doubt, Pizanos was one of the best, if not THE best, chain type pizzarias we have experienced so far.
From the beginning they were clicking on all cylinders. Great crust right out the gate—-delicious/crispy thin crust on Chads, and the deep dish was fantastic as well. Buttery. Excellent. The cheese was abundant, the toppings were high quality and the flavors were great. Really no complaints at all with this spot. Very high marks for a chain, let alone one of the newer locations of the chain. Bucktown residents should feel blessed Pizanos expanded to their hood.
# of people in attendance: 10
# pizzas sampled: 3
pizzas: “Hey Hey” Jack Brickhouse deep dish special (sausage and mushroom), Chad’s special thin crust (BBQ chicken, BBQ sauce, chopped red onions) and a thin crust pepperoni and onion
overall score: 7.1
Get Pizza Compass on the App Store. See screenshots and ratings, and read customer reviews.
So there is a pizza app now that will point you in the direction of the nearest pizza outlet with a slice as your compass. Pretty badass if you ask me….
(not pictured: Home Run Inn sausage and mushroom)
Frozen pizza Pizza Club. What a concept. To every man, woman and child in the midwest, frozen pizzas are integrated into our daily lives from the moment of our birth. During high school and college, these magnificent, affordable and cheap frozen wonders are vital to our survival. To all the Tombstone, Jack’s, Totinos, and generic brand frozen pizza lovers out there that have at one point in their lives been so drunk they fell asleep with the oven on and woke up to a black crispy pizza, or burnt the shit out of their mouth on the sauce because they were too impatient to wait to eat the pizza after it cooled off, this PCC was for you.
The lineup we had for frozen pizza pizza club was incredible. It was deep, yet featuring all the big players. Think of it as the all-star game for frozen pizza. Preparing the feast was a small feat in itself, with 2 ovens going, and 3 racks in action. I would not advise cooking multiple pizzas together in the same oven regularly, but with proper temperature control and careful monitoring + spacing of the racks we were able to pull this off.
For comparison’s sake, the overall quality of frozen pizza pizza club was far and away much better than delivery pizza. All pizzas were cooked straight up too, with no altering via extra toppings or spices, each pie being cooked the way any frozen pizza should, at medium well.
As we started scoring the pizzas, things started to fall into place pretty quickly and somewhat obviously. Heavy hitters like Tombstone and Jack’s brought their reliable flavors and toppings to the table for solid marks, while lesser known pies like Home Run Inn and Mama Bossos delighted the crowd with their artisan and unique touches. The runaway winners of this PCC were a small batch and niche frozen pizza called Vito and Nick’s II. Assuming this is the same Vito and Nick’s that are #1 of all time in PCC, this comes as no surprise. The crust was a delicious— remarkably crispy and flaky, with an abundance of high quality cheese piled up right to the edge. Toppings were outstanding as well, with a bit of a wild card tossed in with mozzarella, broccoli and provolone on one. The basic cheese from Nick and Vitos took the crown, and the most surprising thing about it is that it was the final pizza to be cooked. Barely hungry anymore and stuffed of frozen pizza, our judges’ refined palates were able to say “hey, this is hands down the best pizza my dudes”. And it was.
Now for the lower end of the spectrum pizzas. Totinos party pizza is a classic, and it was our appetizer for the most part. It hung in there and was neck and neck with Jacks and Tombstone. The only bad pizza we had was Mariano’s house brand, “Roundys”. Man, what a piece of shit pizza. While it scored high on price, you HAVE to be fucking high to eat this pile of trash. Some pieces had almost no cheese on them as well. One PCC member just told me to “score it all zeros” for her, it was so offensive. Shitty frozen pizza happens. Life happens.
Big thanks also to Anthony Spina for bringing the Vito and Nick’s pizzas, and abundance of Old Style and PBR. This was a PCC to remember, and certainly one worthy of the record books.
# of people in attendance: 11
# pizzas sampled: 9
pizzas: Tombstone original sausage, Jack’s Mexican, Jack’s naturally rising bacon cheeseburger, Home Run Inn sausage and mushroom, Totino’s combinations (2), Roundy’s thin and crispy sausage, Mama Bosso’s Hot Mama, Vito and Nick’s II mozzarella broccoli and provolone, and Vito and Nick’s II cheese.
box or label presentation/design (replacing assmosphere): 5.2
overall combined score of all frozen pizzas: 5.4
Nick and Vito’s II cheese: 6.4
Nick and Vito’s mozzarella provolone and broccoli: 6.3
Mama Bosso Hot Mama: 6
Home Run Inn sausage and mushroom: 6
Jack’s naturally rising bacon cheeseburger: 5.3
Tombstone original sausage: 5.2
Jack’s Mexican style: 5.1
Totino’s party pizzas combination flavor: 5.1
Roundy’s thin and crispy sausage: 3