Closed! Enjoy the memories…
Working in the Kitchen
Cups & Water
Shelves of local goods
I think the scarcity of seats at Great Lake Pizza is a big part of the hype around this tiny, Andersonville pizzeria. Only a few dozen can eat there on any given night. It’s not a pop-in place and it doesn’t take reservations, so if you want a seat you need to there there when they open. That’s a bit like dangling a red-checkered tablecloth in front pizza snobs, no? Well.
We were there twenty minutes after they opened, and had to walk around the neighborhood for an hour to await the call to pizza. Andersonville’s a cute neighborhood and not a bad place to kill some time. No big deal. Though it would have been a bigger issue in really cold weather since there’s no place to stand and wait inside.
We ended up with a two-top, which I regretted because there was barely enough room for water, silverware and the pizza. Every sip, movement of chairs and slice of pizza was a dance. The communal table was packed too, but at least they had little side tables for their pizza. If you want to eat at Great Lake, I say skip it and place a to-go order instead.
Pizza selections were almost as limited as the seating arrangements at Great Lake. There were three pizzas on the board with some topping choices, as well as an orange soda and a side salad. Most of the menu was given over to the long, impressive list of farmers that they buy from. I like to have reading material at dinner, and to ponder things like how many people know that Salumeria Biellese is a brand of pepperoni. I didn’t, by the way, I had to look it up.
I’ve had a lot of pizza from places that use ceramic-lined ovens lately, so I expected the crust to be crispy here. Instead I found it had a bready texture, especially along the edge, and a chewy bottom. It was also too soggy in the middle to bear up under the weight of the toppings. I dislike a floppy slice of pizza. It’s impossible to pick up with any grace, and most of the ingredients ended up on my plate.
The cremini mushroom pizza that we ordered was salty, light on the cheese, and way too heavy on the mushrooms. And I love my mushrooms. I did, however, enjoy watching the chef use a 70’s-inspired orange gizmo to shred the mushrooms into thin strips. It was fun to watch the action in the kitchen.
I’m glad I have the Great Lake Pizza experience under my belt. It’s good to know what all the buzz is about, even if they didn’t elevate my ideas about what makes great pizza. For about $15 per person, you can make up your own mind.
1477 West Balmoral Avenue
Chicago, IL 60640