Great Lake: Now fully organic, with breakfast on the way...

Great Lake pizzeria

Great Lake pizzeria Photograph: Time Out

Last night, [node:149811 link=Great Lake;] unveiled its new menu for the season. As usual, it consists of one salad and three pizzas. In other words, just another menu change for Great Lake—except for a little line of text:

All meat and dairy products used are derived from pastured/humanely-raised animals on family-owned farms. We do not support or use meat and dairy products derived from industrial/corporate animal factory farms (No CAFOs).

Is this new for Great Lake? Not entirely—the pizzeria has always used (and named on their menu) sustainable products from local farms. But until last night they were never able to say, with certainty, that their entire menu is organic.

"What's been important for Nick is to be able to say, with conviction, that 'my menu is organic,'" says Great Lake co-owner Lydia Esparza (the Nick she speaks of is her partner, Nick Lessins, who makes all of Great Lake's pizzas).

"We tried to do it from the beginning," she continues. "But you hit these little roadblocks: You discover, like, truly that [ingredient] isn't [organic], or truly that is." For example: "The more that Nick dug into [some of the] tomatoes coming from Italy, he's learned that these tomatoes are grown near wastelands, and it's been hidden by the Italian mafia. So there's been all this craziness."

The 100 percent organic menu isn't the only new development at Great Lake. Coming soon: breakfast.

"Nicole [Stemler, an employee at Great Lake] makes these amazing, amazing English muffins," Esparza says. So, together, she and Stemler are developing a breakfast menu, which they'll offer on Sundays and either Mondays or Fridays. Simple "commuter sandwiches" are what they're working on—"a light breakfast that could be either sit-down or to-go...but a nice, simple menu, not a crazy menu." (Esparza is careful to qualify the offerings as breakfast, not brunch.)

Esparza hopes to launch the breakfast in May. In the meantime, you can read more about Stemler in next week's TOC, and peruse Great Lake's new pizza menu, after the jump.

#1. Tomato Sauce, Farmers Cheese, Dante Cheese eden foods organic tomatoes, cedar grove organic farmers cheese, wisconsin sheep dairy co-op (wsdc) dante aged sheep's milk cheese, california olive ranch (cor) arbequina extra virgin olive oil, fresh herbs, sel gris de guérande (grey sea salt)              

Add Spinach (Growing Power, Organic)         
Add Mortadella (Butcher & Larder)             

#2. Roasted Tomatillo Salsa, Farmers Cheese tomato mountain farm organic roasted tomatillo salsa, cedar grove organic farmers cheese, cor arbequina ev olive oil, sel gris de guérande (grey sea salt)              

Add Oyster Mushrooms (Growing Power, Organic)           
Add Edwards Smoked Bacon             

#3 Spinach, Red Onion, Homemade Creme Fraiche, Cumin growing power organic spinach, homemade creme fraiche (kilgus farmstead & kalona supernatural), ground cumin, cor arbequina extra virgin olive oil, sel gris de guérande (grey sea salt)             

Add Edwards Smoked Bacon           


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Laura Baginski, Editor (@TimeOutChicago)