Great Lake, a teensy Andersonville storefront with a kitschy, homey charm, is garnering rave reviews and plenty of buzz for its gourmet pizzas, no easy feat in this 'za-obsessed town. Part of its gotta-get-in popularity is no doubt its miniscule square footage -- the place can seat 12, tops, mostly at a communal table for eight. You'll feel like you're eating in someone's kitchen, someone who can make some killer pizza. (The secret's in the thin, chewy crust made by hand by co-owner Nick Lessins, who you will see rolling the dough in back.)
The restaurant offers a tightly edited menu, usually five pizza offerings and a couple of salads based on local seasonal availability. On a recent visit, choices included a roasted beet salad, and pizzas topped with crimini mushrooms, goat cheese and black pepper, as well as smoked bacon, creme fraiche, onion and sage. Lessins' wife and co-owner Lydia Espaza will most likely ask you if you want everything on the menu, and the answer is yes, you do.
Great Lake is also BYOB, which greatly adds to its appeal, in our opinion. Make a pit stop at In Fine Spirits, a combo wine and spirits retail store and lounge that specializes in affordable New World varietals, located about a block north of Great Lake on Clark Street. Grab a bottle of Thierry Germain Saumur Champigny 2005 Cabernet Franc, a perfect foil for that dreamy crimini pizza.