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 May 22, 2015
Back in 1996, some folks saw the closing of West Allis-West Milwaukee School District's Roosevelt School, 932 S. 60th St., as "inevitable" and that prediction came true later that year. Now, it seems that the demolition of the building might also be inevitable, though nothing has yet been officially decided.
Published May 20, 2015
It's that time of year again. The time when I'm thrilled that my kids are thrilled to sign up for Milwaukee Public Library's Super Reader summer reading program.
Published May 19, 2015
Standing amid the surviving buildings of the old Concordia College, it's easy to imagine what an inviting campus this was back in the day. Low-rise buildings - most of them in that collegiate gothic style that shouts "university" - surrounded the quad on all four sides, creating an intimate, protective environment. These days, most of the buildings survive and they're owned by the Forest County Potawatomi, which has plans to renovate the entire campus.
Published May 18, 2015
Leo Minor is a relatively faint constellation up in the northern sky that comprises an array of 37 distant stars. Closer to home Leo Minor is a nom de bass of local veteran musician Jason Todd. Though this Leo Minor is just one star, it draws on a vast array of musical influences. The latest result of the ongoing project is a white label vinyl 7" 45.
Published May 15, 2015
This morning the folks in the facilities department of the West Allis-West Milwaukee School District were kind enough to give me a tour of a closed school building. As an added bonus, my tour guide offered to show me an interesting school nearby, too. The contrast was striking.
Published May 14, 2015
Adventure Rock will host a groundbreaking next Wednesday for its new East Side location on the corner of Commerce and North.
Published May 13, 2015
I'm enjoying watching the progress of some vintage Milwaukee buildings being prepared for the future.
Published May 13, 2015
If you're champing at the bit for the next Doors Open MKE, you'll have to wait until September. But you can get your hometown exploration fix thanks to DOMKE's elder Historic Milwaukee Inc. sibling, Spaces and Traces, which is back for its 34th year this weekend.
Published May 11, 2015
A while back I had the pleasure of exploring the 1876 cream city brick house at 1363 N. Prospect Ave. Designed by architect James Douglas, for grain broker Gilbert Collins, the house has since been converted to office space, but it retains many of of fabulous details. The other day, Cobalt Glassworks' Jon Schroder sent me some photos of newly restored vintage windows from Collins House.
Published May 11, 2015
We're lucky in Milwaukee, because we have an array of bakeries that keep life here sweet. Here are seven of my favorites, for very specific reasons.