The new Pizza Man is everything the old one wasnâ€™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 wasnâ€™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 itâ€™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.
Thereâ€™s also an actual 100 percent outdoor patio, running along the Belleview side, too, offering fun views of the intersection.
Itâ€™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, Iâ€™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 Iâ€™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.
Itâ€™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 wouldnâ€™t even consider a pizza with all that business up top.
But even they could sense that up top is where itâ€™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 Feb. 12, 2016
T. Rex's bigger and badder cousin Giganotosaurus is here and so are some of his friends, until May 15. The new exhibit at Milwaukee Public Museum is full of interactives and more that your kids (and you) will love. Here are some of them.
Published Feb. 11, 2016
Thanks to Milwaukeean and photographer Adam Levin, who found a treasure trove of old Kodachrome half-frame slides of Milwaukee in an antiques store, we can offer up these gorgeous photos of the city as it appeared in the 1970s.
Published Feb. 6, 2016
Milwaukee is and has always been America's beer capital, so it makes perfect sense that the country's first African American brewery was born here thanks to Theodore Mack, Henry Crosby and their cohorts.
Published Feb. 5, 2016
The '50s might seem like light years away, but, really, you can get there in under an hour, by checking out some of these classic dining spots - including some drive-ins with car hops - in Kenosha.
Published Feb. 5, 2016
Despite the fact that it's cold outside, I wake up in the middle of the night a lot these days thinking about frozen custard. That's because I'm co-authoring a book about this delicacy at the moment and it's consuming me even more than I consume custard, which is saying something.
Published Feb. 1, 2016
Now that the Tippecanoe Library revamp is complete, attention is turning fully toward a mixed-use development that will replace the Mill Road branch. Here are some facts about the planned new library development at 7717 W. Good Hope Rd.
Published Jan. 29, 2016
Two turntables and a microphone has morphed into a laptop. But not all club DJs have given vinyl the toss. We caught up with Steven Watkins, who DJs at numerous venues around town, playing a variety of music to ask him about working as an "unplugged" turntablist.
Published Jan. 27, 2016
We're celebrating unplugged week here at OnMilwaukee - ironic, I know - but it's a perfect reminder that there is plenty to get out and do in this town if you'd just put the damn phone down for a minute (yes, guilty as charged). Here are six museums and shows worth checking out right now...
Published Jan. 26, 2016
Another remnant of old Milwaukee will soon disappear from the landscape as workers begin to deconstruct the four-story, 16-flat Vermont, 610 E. Mason St., to make way for Northwestern Mutual's 33-story, more than $100 million development that will occupy nearly the entire block.
Published Jan. 25, 2016
Each year on Jan. 25, Scotland and Scot-o-philes and poetry fans celebrate Burns Night to mark the birthday of the legendary voice of Caledonia, Robert Burns. Get in the spirit with some single malts from Islay.