“Pizza Man” may be dead, but we’ve got your replacement: the top 5 pizzas in Milwaukee

Posted on 24 February 2010 by Thomas Klind

Little did I know thee, Pizza Man. Actually, none did I know thee; I never went. I’m not really all that upset over it. I suppose that on some level I’m still trying to get over the loss, but it’s kind of like when someone really close to someone you kind of know passes away. You feel like you’re not really allowed to be upset, but you just kind of feel bad anyways? I’ve narrowed down the reason: I love pizza. It just hurts me so much that I never had an opportunity to sample the delights of Pizza Man.

As an homage to the pizza that never was (in my stomach that is), I’d like to rank the top five pizza places in Milwaukee and the area immediately surrounding. These rankings are designed on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being awful and 10 being fantastic, or in other words, with 1 being Angelo’s and 10 being Heaven.

#5 – Brick 3 Pizza: Score – 7.5

Okay, so maybe this could be viewed as a shameless plug for someone who advertises with us, but really. I first had Brick 3 over the summer when I was working at ESPN radio downtown. It is actually really good. Located on Old World Third, Brick 3 Pizza is a great place to stop in before or after a Marquette game.

#4 – Pizzeria Piccola: Score – 8.5
A Wauwatosa classic. I think the rest of Tosa would disown me if I didn’t mention that perhaps the widest selection of good pizza in the city comes from this western suburb. Located on what would be about the equivalent on 76th and State, Pizzeria Piccola offers personal-sized pizzas that are fantastic. Don’t skip on the flatbread, it’s fantastic! If you’re still not convinced on finding your way into Tosa for this pizza, then perhaps a quote from Fr. Naus might suffice. “If I could eat one thing for the rest of my life, I think I would eat this pizza.”

#3 – Ricardo’s Riverfront Pizzeria – 8.7

The top three were tough to score. I’d have to say that Ricardo’s barely loses out to the top two by the slightest of margins. The pizzas are marketed as specialty pizza, meaning that you shouldn’t come in if you aren’t at least willing to entertain bacon, spinach, pine nuts, Thai curry, or any other interesting flavors on your pizza. That’s not to say that the regular pizzas aren’t unbelievable, but there is something to be said about a place that thinks outside the box. Located on East Erie Street in the Third Ward, Ricardo’s Riverfront is a new location for a pizza that has been in town for over 40 years.

#2 – Balistreri’s 68th Street –
Come on, you have to go. If you’re a fan of just good food in general, Balistreri’s on 812 N. 68th street is THE quintessential pizza place in Milwaukee. Although Balistreri’s didn’t win in my rankings, they do win almost every award in the city for best pizza. I recommend the Balistreri’s special, as well as the fried eggplant and calamari. For your own good, just go (They also offer take out).

#1 – Zaffiro’s – Score: 9.9
I recently debated a Chicagoan on the best type of pizza: thin crust vs. thick crust/deep dish. Of course, being from south of the border, this person thought they knew everything about everything. I’m sure it probably doesn’t need to be said then that this person was completely wrong (as all Chicagoans tend to be on most issues: See “Chicago Cubs are totally gonna win the World Series after adding Milton Bradley this offseason” conversation that took place in every sports bar known to man this past year). Being a Milwaukee man, my conclusion is straightforward. Thin crust!

Zaffiro’s is the best pizza in Milwaukee. The cracker thin crust is unreal good. I mean it, it’s unreal. The ingredients are basic, and the atmosphere is as close to “hole in ht wall” as you can get, but take my word for it, Zaffiro’s pizza will blow your mind. Zaffiro’s is located just north of Brady on Farwell.

Runners-Up:
Mama Mia’s on Burleigh
Barbiere’s on Bluemound – Best Garlic Bread in town
Lisa’s – I’ve never been there, but its because every time I go, there is an hour and a half wait.
Lali’s – North Ave. and 89th street in Wauwatosa. Really good.

by Tom Klind
[email protected]

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