Sign in | Register now | Like us on FacebookLike Us | Follow us on TwitterFollow Us

Milwaukee's Daily Magazine for Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Wed
Hi: 47
Lo: 38
Thu
Hi: 52
Lo: 34
Fri
Hi: 44
Lo: 32
Advertise on OnMilwaukee.com
Tenuta's offers thin crust, deep dish, stuffed crust and - pictured here - a virgin crust, merely stretched, topped and baked.
Tenuta's offers thin crust, deep dish, stuffed crust and - pictured here - a virgin crust, merely stretched, topped and baked.
Tenuta's Italian Restaurant opened back in Bay View in December 2003.
Tenuta's Italian Restaurant opened back in Bay View in December 2003.
The thin crust - here supporting a sausage, mushroom and pepperoni pizza - is one of the 10 best Rick has tried on his quest.
The thin crust - here supporting a sausage, mushroom and pepperoni pizza - is one of the 10 best Rick has tried on his quest.
The meatball appetizer at Tenuta's.
The meatball appetizer at Tenuta's.

In search of the perfect pizza: Tenuta's

I’ve been hearing about Tenuta’s, 2995 S. Clement Ave., in Bay View from a few friends over the past few years, so I thought I’d finally pay a visit.

My friend and I stopped in around 4:30 on a Sunday afternoon. There were a couple of guests at the bar and a few tables already occupied, a good sign considering they opened merely 30 minutes before. 

Warm colors on the walls, stained glass above the entrance, and plenty of natural light from the large picture windows provided a comfortable setting.

Owner Frank Tenuta was on site, but General Manager Brenden Fuerstenau kindly took some time and filled me in on the history of the restaurant. 

Frank Tenuta’s parents moved here from Italy in 1966. His father worked for DeRango’s in Racine and later took ownership of the restaurant. There are currently several DeRango’s pizzerias in the Racine area, and they’re owned by at least three different families, including the Tenuta family, represented by Frank’s brother Dan.

Frank Tenuta, meanwhile, worked in his parent’s restaurant along with his brothers. Tenuta moved to the Bay View area when he married his wife, Jodi. He opened the Tenuta’s restaurant in Bay View on Dec. 19, 2003.

Most of the staff has worked at Tenuta’s for over five years. Fuerstenau has been there more than nine years and has been general manager for the past two years. Since he started out making pizzas, he was a great resource without giving away their secrets.

I peeked at the menu on the website before visiting and was surprised to see so many variations and options for pizza. Even with the preview, I still hadn’t come up with a strategy. Luckily, I had some help.

Pizza crust options include thin, virgin, deep dish, and stuffed crust, all available in 12- and 16-inch sizes.

The virgin crust is barely touched, just stretched a bit, topped and baked. The deep dish is baked in a round pan and removed before serving. The stuffed crust is the deep dish pizza topped with an…

Read more...
Is that a s'mores pizza covered in marshmallows? Yes. Yes it is.
Is that a s'mores pizza covered in marshmallows? Yes. Yes it is.
The wood-fired oven at Pizzeria 3301 at Villa Palermo.
The wood-fired oven at Pizzeria 3301 at Villa Palermo.
Pizza Margherita.
Pizza Margherita.
Pizzeria 3301 was updated in January last year.
Pizzeria 3301 was updated in January last year.
The prosciutto and arugula pizza from Pizzeria 3301.
The prosciutto and arugula pizza from Pizzeria 3301.

In search of the perfect pizza: Pizzeria 3301

I’m sure you’re familiar with Palermo’s frozen pizzas. But this blog is not about frozen pizzas. Some of you have taken the Palermo’s factory tour, learning the history of Palermo’s – going back to the bakery opened in 1964 by Gaspare and Zina Fallucca who came to Milwaukee in 1954 – and sampling the hand-stretched pan pizza that tour guests enjoy.

However, did you know that in January last year, the Fallucca family took their company to another level by updating the café at Pizzeria 3301, 3301 W. Canal St., and installing a wood-burning oven that was made in Italy using ashes from Mount Vesuvius? It’s true. Pretty cool, right?

Further, did you know that Palermo’s sent two executives – Executive Chef Arturo Napoles Carrera and a food scientist – to Washington last September to take a four-day class led by a representative of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana (AVPN), who was flown in from Italy so they could become certified pizzaioli, aka pizza makers?   

I hope that got your attention because I only know of one other person in southeastern Wisconsin with that distinguished designation, Transfer Pizzeria’s chef and co-owner Vasyl Lemberskyy. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s a big deal.

It is my understanding that, according to the AVPN, there are rules and regulations covering the manufacturing of the oven that can be used to bake the pizza, the wood used in the oven, the ingredients used in the pizza such as San Marzano tomatoes for the sauce, the technique used in making the pizza including temperature of the water and amount of salt to use for the pizza dough based on the weather, etc.

It's all to protect the integrity of the true Neapolitan pizza from the fast food chains and food manufacturers that improperly call their pizzas, fresh or frozen, "original Neapolitan pizzas."

There is also an official American delegation of the AVPN, allowed by the Italian government to be "a legal entity able to give special d…

Read more...
A pepperoni and sausage thin crust pizza from the Caradaro Club.
A pepperoni and sausage thin crust pizza from the Caradaro Club.
Rick's journey for the perfect pizza finally brings him to the Caradaro Club in West Allis.
Rick's journey for the perfect pizza finally brings him to the Caradaro Club in West Allis.
The pizza bread - with fresh mushrooms - from the Caradaro Club.
The pizza bread - with fresh mushrooms - from the Caradaro Club.

In search of the perfect pizza: Caradaro Club

I’ve wanted to try the pizza at Caradaro Club, 1417 S. 70th St., since I bought my house 10 years ago. You’ve likely read or heard about the history of pizza in Milwaukee being traced back to 1945 with the original Caradaro Club founders John CARAvello and Joe ToDARO.

Damien Jaques wrote a great article on the Caradaro Club for OnMilwaukee.com back in August 2011, and I’ve referenced those two names in several of my past pizza blogs, with chefs or owners who worked for or learned from individuals that worked at the original Caradaro Club. 

Wally Kutch bought the Caradaro Club in 2002 from Consiglio "Connie" Cirillo, who bought the business from Caravella and Todaro around 1970.

The West Allis Caradaro Club has a vintage look to it. The lobby had a wooden bench, two light brown bar stools with arm rests and light brown paneling. I stepped up to the carryout window and asked for a menu. To my right, another window provided a view of the kitchen.

While I waited for my order, a delivery guy came in to pick up his next order, and I heard someone mention "the other store."

I asked the delivery guy if Caradaro still had the second location at 5010 W. Vliet St. He nodded and told me the pizza tasted exactly the same at location. He said it with such conviction I had to ask, "Are you the owner?" He smiled and said, "Yes, I’m Wally," then extended his hand for me to shake.

One of the best pizza conversations I’ve had soon followed.

Kutch was very friendly and genuine. I could have listened to his stories for hours about his days as an engineer, making the popcorn wagons for Koepsell’s and his love of pizza from favorites including the Caradaro Club, Hup’s – which I blogged about in September 2012 – and Roseanne’s. 

Wait! Did he just name Roseanne’s as one of his favorites? The same Roseanne’s my parents took me to as a child? The same Roseanne’s I mentioned in my very first blog as the pizza that inspired this very quest to find one that r…

Read more...
Lalli's Pizza is located at 8826 W. North Ave.
Lalli's Pizza is located at 8826 W. North Ave.
Lalli's hand-tossed pizza is one of the best Rick has tasted.
Lalli's hand-tossed pizza is one of the best Rick has tasted.
A sausage and pepperoni pizza on Lalli's thin crust.
A sausage and pepperoni pizza on Lalli's thin crust.

In search of the perfect pizza: Lalli's Pizza

Nine years ago, an office discussion turned to favorite pizzas, and a co-worker announced that his favorite pizza was Lalli’s Pizza, 8826 W. North Ave. Our manager and another team member debated him even though they never tried Lalli’s, mostly just because they seemed to enjoy antagonizing him.

A couple of weeks later, I tried Lalli’s pizza, and I really liked it. My co-worker was elated to have a little back-up in the office when I shared my experience with the team. 

I recently visited Lalli’s Pizza again, and I enjoyed the pizza as much as I did on my first visit, which speaks to their consistency. The lobby was busy with carry-out customers, so I wasn’t the only one who appreciated their commitment to quality.

Lalli’s Pizza was founded by Anthony "Tony" Lalli, Sr. around 1975. He wasn’t satisfied with his occupation at that time and decided to start his own business, a pizzeria using recipes that he created and are still in use today.

Lalli’s was originally opened on 55th and Center Streets. Later, two other locations opened, including the current location almost 20 years ago. Health issues led to Lalli’s decision to consolidate operations to the current location.

Lalli’s is still owned by Anthony Lalli, Sr., along with his wife Veronica, daughter Nicole Sommerfeld and son Anthony Lalli, Jr., who manages all of the day-to-day operations.

Lalli’s shares a building with Club Tap. The lobby has been remodeled since my first visit. It has the appearance of a section of an Italian villa with a light cream color. There are also benches for customers waiting for their orders.

The menu consists of appetizers, hot and cold subs, sandwiches served on oven toasted French bread, pizzas, pizza bread, Italian dinners, salads and pastas using spaghetti and mostaccioli imported from Italy.

Pizzas are available in a 12-inch small, 14-inch medium and 16-inch large. Crusts are made as hand-tossed, but thin crust is also available upon request at no…

Read more...