Lichterman cherished Katz's caramelized cheese pizza edge so much that it's a key in his growing-by-popularity-daily Seattle catering business: Windy City Pie.
Lichterman, a Lakeview native who attended Oscar Mayer Elementary until sixth grade, follows Katz's strict obedience to quality over quantity. Lichterman makes only about 30 pizzas a day, delivering them to customers standing outside his commercial kitchen who text their orders ahead of time.
"I went to Burt's Place in 2012 and I was fortunate enough to meet him and spend a lot of time talking to him," Lichterman, 31, said of Katz, who died this year at age 78. "I thought Burt was doing something pure and special. He was focused on doing one thing and doing it very well — knowing that he was making the best product he could and not cutting corners."
Lichterman, who first fell in love with Chicago pizza when an Oscar Mayer classmate introduced him to Pequod's, sells his 12-inch pan pizzas for about $25 each. Ingredients include blue cheese, candied bacon, roasted garlic and super-fresh mozzarella cheese. His crust is super doughy, much like the Papa Del's pizza he craved while a student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Lichterman is a computer engineer by trade but had been working on his pizza recipes for about 10 years. His friends said the pizzas were so good that Lichterman should start his own business. He did so last year, and Windy City Pie has taken off — with no advertising.
"I never really thought I'd end up doing this, but being my own boss has been one of the most important things," Lichterman said. "To really have something live or die based upon your commitment to it is a beautiful thing."
Litcherman also said he's also given former Chicago residents a pizza place to call home, as evidenced by the area codes on the orders texted to him.
"I see a lot of 773s, 217s, 708s, 847s and 312s," he said.
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