The new Pizza Man is everything the old one wasn’t. Except, in the case of the most important thing: the pizza itself.
Before it burned in January 2009, the old Pizza Man was dark, and it was cavelike -- or "intimate" depending on which side of the glass half-full/half-empty divide you fell. The pizza was great and the wine list very impressive.
I know the old place on the corner of Oakland and North was a landmark and I certainly viewed it as such. But I rarely felt the urge to go in anymore. It felt dated and, again, too dark and, until it was gone, I wasn’t especially nostalgic about the dining room (insert "gasp!" here).
But last July, Pizza Man remade the old Lixx space on the corner of Belleview and Downer and while upon entering you get a blast of old Pizza Man vibe, inside the space feels bright and open and modern.
Then you go up the stairs -- past the funky wine bottle chandelier -- and it’s magic. Most of the dining room up there is topped with a retractable skylight that on a cold or rainy day guarantees the kind of illumination patrons could only dream of old location could only dream of. On a warm and sunny day, those panels slide open and, voila, Pizza Man has a rooftop dining room.
There’s also an actual 100 percent outdoor patio, running along the Belleview side, too, offering fun views of the intersection.
It’s really awesome and unlike most anything else in Milwaukee. In this way, Pizza Man has more than simply reopened in a new space. It has reinvented itself.
Except, I’m happy to say, when it comes to the food.
On a recent visit, we had the eggplant strips ($8), which -- sorry Venice Club -- are now the best I’ve ever had in Milwaukee.
Chef Zak Baker plates up delicious eggplant strips that are battered and deep fried crunchy. Not too oily, not at all mushy (because we all know they get kinda gross when they're mushy). Simply delectable.
The Pizza Man Special ($20 for a 14-inch medium) was, as always, top-loaded with fresh ingredients -- sliced black olives, sausage, pepperoni, sliced green peppers, onions and fresh (not canned) sliced mushrooms.
It’s amazing that the slender Pizza Man crust can handle it all, but it did.
The kids devoured their grilled cheese ($5) and buttered noodles ($6) and then even tucked into the pizza, which, in itself, says something, because typically they wouldn’t even consider a pizza with all that business up top.
But even they could sense that up top is where it’s all happening these days at Pizza Man.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Bobby Tanzilo
Published July 6, 2015
A year before it is slated to open in the former Pabst Brewery's Building 29, the new international student housing development under construction at 10th and Highland was open Monday for peek into the progress.
Published July 4, 2015
As the 11-day music blowout was about to get underway, we caught up with the Big Gig's Talent Buyer and Production Supervisor David Silbaugh - who explained his work as Summerfest drum tech back in 2008 - to learn a bit more.
Published July 1, 2015
As the 11-day music blowout we all call Summerfest was about to get underway, we caught up with the Big Gig's associate booking director Scott Ziel to get a peek behind the scenes.
Published June 29, 2015
Thanks to my co-worker Jill Jensen-Matelski, I saw this cool Summerfest 1970 poster that you can see above. She found it on the Facebook group "You know you are from Milwaukee WI if you remember..." My eyes immediately went to "Roland Kirk" and I was blown away. Then I saw Sly and the Family Stone, James Brown, Sarah Vaughan and so many other amazing acts.
Published June 29, 2015
As the 11-day music blowout we all call Summerfest was about to get underway, we caught up with the Big Gig's associate entertainment director Vic Thomas to get a peek behind the scenes.
Published June 28, 2015
How on Earth does one explain the ongoing success of The Flaming Lips? Don't get me wrong, frontman Wayne Coyne and company make interesting and engaging music and put on a hell of a show, but since when has that been enough? We found out Saturday night at Summerfest.
Published June 27, 2015
Saturday night marked Maritime's first Big Milwaukee Gig since it released its paean to its hometown, "Milwaukee," in April. So, did Brew City turn out to return the love?
Published June 26, 2015
U2 is in the midst of an eight-day, five-gig run at the United Center in Chicago as part of its iNNOCENCE + eXPERIENCE Tour. We went down to have a look and a listen.
Published June 24, 2015
Living rock and roll legends the Rolling Stones took the stage at the Marcus Amphitheater Tuesday night for what may well be their last Milwaukee appearance. Here's what happened when the Zip Code Tour steamed into 53202.
Published June 23, 2015
When Paul Weller came to Chicago's Vic Theater last week I had to go. And, because Weller is so defined by Britishness, I decided to make the jaunt an English themed trip.