Burt Katz, one of the key players of the Chicago pizza scene for decades, passed away Saturday at the age of 78. He specialized in Chicago’s famed deep-dish pizza, which he preferred to call pan pizza. His pies were not quite as deep as a standard Chicago pizza, and they also featured a personal trademark that has become a local favorite: his caramelized crust, in which the outer rim of the pie is crusted over with almost-blackened chewy and crisp cheese.
Mr. Katz’s opened his first pizzeria in 1965 (now closed), but Gulliver’s, which he opened in 1965, and Pequod’s, started in 1971, remain open and still feature pizzas based largely (but not entirely) on Burt’s original concepts. His most recent project, Burt’s Place, was opened in 1989 and closed last year due to Mr. Katz’s failing health. We send our condolences to the friends, family, and loyal customers of Burt Katz.