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 March 26, 2015
I was a little disappointed the first time I stepped into Henry Koch's 1870 Calvary Presbyterian Church - that soaring red building on 10th and Wisconsin. The sanctuary has been completed remodeled and modernized. The pews are gone, replaced by stacks of movable chairs. The wooden chancel isn't ornately adorned as one might expect in a 150-year-old church, and the new hardwood floors gleam rather than creak with accumulated history. But, then, Pastor Mark McDonough converted me.
Published March 25, 2015
In all of the discussions of the siting of a new arena for the Milwaukee Bucks, the discussion has been about connecting to Wisconsin Avenue and points south of the current Bradley Center. But, let's not ignore the other side.
Published March 25, 2015
In recent years, Milwaukee Public Library has been building for the future, replacing aged branches with mixed-use developments that ensure the libraries will be community fixtures for years to come. For its next project, MPL is moving the Forest Home branch into the future by reviving an old South Side neighborhood gem.
Published March 20, 2015
Scattered around the Milwaukee area are roughly two dozen eye-catching stone cottages that look like they could've been moved from Normandy. But, you might be surprised to learn they were designed by a New York architect who also designed the Big Apple's Singer Building, a 47-story skyscraper that was, for three years, the tallest building in the world.
Published March 18, 2015
Old newspaper ads for Milwaukee clubs open a world of unwritten history.
Published March 18, 2015
Dosing its rootsy rock and roll with a shot of country and etheral, melodic pop Milwaukee's Great Lake Drifters have created a sound that is difficult to pin down. With a brand new CD, " Radio Picture Show," the band takes part in this weekend's Equinox Music Festival at Linneman's in Riverwest. We chatted with a couple of the band's members about GLD, about "Radio Picture Show" and about Equinox.
Published March 17, 2015
Nine unforgettable places to rent some shoes in Brew City.
Published March 16, 2015
Milwaukee Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Darienne Driver is one of nearly a dozen leaders of urban school districts headed to the White House this morning to meet with President Barack Obama as part of the Council of the Great City Schools' three-day annual legislative/policy conference in Washington.
Published March 13, 2015
Writing these past two weeks about disappeared Milwaukee rock clubs and Downtown in the 1980s has me a little bleary eyed with nostalgia. And my Milwaukee reminiscences almost always lead straight back to one building in Walker's Point.
Published March 12, 2015
I grew up thinking there's a practical reason it's called a pizza pie. You don't cut your apple pie into squares do you?