Gallery: Chicago's Great Lake Pizzeria in 'New York Times' Business Section

The Menu
The Menu

Great Lake features ice cream made by Hot Chocolate's Mindy Segal, one of Chicago's best pastry chefs.

Margherita
Margherita

Lessins' toppings vary depending on the season. In summer he sticks mostly to white (sauceless) pies. But in the colder months, you can get a more conventional pizza, like this Margherita, made with tomato sauce, mozzarella, and the aforementioned mona cheese.

Roughage
Roughage

You've got to get your greens somehow! The salads at Great Lake are made with impeccably fresh ingredients grown on local farms.

The Upskirt
The Upskirt

Ed says, "I would have liked a little more salt and a tad more pliancy in the dough."

Hole Structure
Hole Structure

Still, says Ed, the cross section shows just how breadlike Lessins' crust is. "This is glorious, light yeasty, pizza crust."

Get It While It's Hot
Get It While It's Hot

The grabbing hands/
Grab all they can/
All for themselves/
After all
M. Gore

Great Lake, Just After Opening
Great Lake, Just After Opening

On any given night, Great Lake offers five different pizzas, four of which are kind of permanent (there are changes based on what toppings are fresh at the time) and one of which is a special that changes much more frequently.

Zucchini-Pepperoni
Zucchini-Pepperoni

Impossibly thin slices of zucchini, tangy, salty mona cheese (made from a blend of sheep and cow's milk in neighboring Wisconsin), black pepper, with added pepperoni, reveals Nick's gift for inspired, perfectly proportioned, and wonderfully balanced toppings. His toppings are in fact the stuff of pizza genius.

Great Combo
Great Combo

Says Ed Levine, "This smoked bacon, fresh cream, white corn, mona, and chives pizza was spot-on. I could have eaten this whole pie myself."

Heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, garlic, mona, and fresh herbs
Heirloom tomatoes, fresh mozzarella, garlic, mona, and fresh herbs

Lessin's crust has a beautiful lip or cornicione, as the Italians call it. It is more breadlike than either Anthony Mangieri's was at the now-defunct Una Pizza Napoletana or Chris Bianco's pizza at Pizzeria Bianco. In fact it looks and tastes a great deal like Nancy Silverton's pizza at Pizzeria Mozza in Los Angeles.