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Doc's Dry Dock in Pewaukee is worth the 25 minute drive.
Doc's Dry Dock in Pewaukee is worth the 25 minute drive.

In search of the perfect pizza: Doc's Dry Dock

Last year, I asked a friend in Pewaukee where I could find the best pizza in her area. She told me that even though Doc’s Dry Dock, N38W27091 Parkside Rd., had changed owners a couple of times, it was still popular for thin crust pizza. I finally checked it out last week.

Doc’s Dry Dock has been in business for over 30 years, and was bought a year and a half ago by current owner Josh Goodman, who says he was interested in owning a business and found the right opportunity. Most of the staff remains from the previous ownership, so the business didn’t miss a beat during the transition.

On our visit, we arrived a few minutes before they opened at 4 p.m. on a Saturday. When we entered, I found Doc’s to be just as small as I heard. There were already eight guests sitting on bar stools, and diners sat in two of the five wooden booths in the dining room. By 4:15 p.m., all of the tables were taken. We were told they expected a party of 30 guests any minute, so we placed our order right away. It took about 40 minutes for our pizzas to arrive, so I think appetizers would have been a smart way to go.

We were startled at one point when an Amtrak train sped by, making Doc’s rattle a bit and us along with it, since the railroad tracks ran next to the parking lot.

In addition to pizza, Doc’s menu features hot sandwiches – including burgers, roast beef and chicken breasts – as well as popular appetizers, soup, chili, calzones and a children’s menu featuring chicken fingers, boneless wings, popcorn chicken and tater tots.

Pizzas come in 12-, 14- and 16-inch sizes, with cheese pizzas ranging from $11 to $16 and extra toppings for $2 to $4 each, depending on the pizza's size. Ten-inch gluten free crusts are available for the price of a 12-inch pizza.

Standard toppings include canned mushrooms, sausage, Canadian bacon, green olives, black olives, onions, pineapple and tomato, while premium toppings include fresh mushrooms, sauerkraut, sliced bacon, chicken breast…

Nori's serves up New York-style pizza that's as good delivered as it is eaten in house.
Nori's serves up New York-style pizza that's as good delivered as it is eaten in house.

In search of the perfect pizza: Nori's

In July, Esat Berisha opened Nori’s Pizza at 2951 S. 13th St. A friend who lives in the area was giving it rave reviews, so I put it on my list and recently had the chance to try the pizza when we ordered delivery from Brenner Brewing during the Packers game two weeks ago.

I was curious to see the space itself, so I visited last week. Unfortunately, I was unable to reach Berisha to hear how he got started in the pizza business.

The store was clean, which was encouraging. Nori’s Pizza has a few tables for dining in, but most of its business seems to be delivery, which is available for orders of $10 or more for a $2 delivery charge. Pizza by the slice is available with slices ranging from $2.50 to $3.50 with at least five different pizzas to choose from.

Nori’s menu includes pizza, calzones, appetizers – such as wings, pizza fries and garlic bread – and a few desserts such as cannoli, tiramisu and cheesecake.

The hand-tossed New York-style crusts come in 14- and 18-inch sizes. Cheese pizzas are $9.49 and $13.49 respectively, with toppings ranging from $1.60 to $2 each. Specialty pizzas range from $12.99 to $19.99 and include meat lovers, supreme, Hawaiian, Margherita, veggie, mac 'n' cheese, lasagna and mango habanero, which features mangoes and a habanero pepper sauce.

We ordered the meat lovers and supreme pizzas.

The meat lovers is topped with pepperoni, Italian sausage, bacon, ham and mozzarella cheese. I was impressed that the ham wasn’t diced like I usually find. Instead, slices of ham were cut and applied liberally. I was also impressed that the sausage and pepperoni were both spicy. I’ve been disappointed to find so many pizzas with very mild sausage and pepperoni, especially New York-style pizzas, so this was a nice surprise.

While I prefer chunks of Italian sausage over the sliced sausage that is commonly found on New York-style pizzas, the flavor and spice level left me satisfied. The amount of cheese applied was adequate, but I th…

The menu at Riverwest Pizza features an extensive list of specialty pizzas but also includes salads, appetizers and sandwiches.
The menu at Riverwest Pizza features an extensive list of specialty pizzas but also includes salads, appetizers and sandwiches.

In search of the perfect pizza: Riverwest Pizza

As some of you recall, I grew up in Riverwest and enjoyed pizza from two neighborhood restaurants. Since then, a void in neighborhood pizzerias developed. Fortunately, in December 2014, Shaun Hutchens and Andrea Haas opened Riverwest Pizza at 932 E. Wright St.

I think Riverwest Pizza looks more like a bar than a restaurant, due to the large bar and large flat screen TV above it. The walls are painted slate gray, and most are adorned with art from local artists – some of it for sale.  

One of the characteristics we appreciated most was the design of the tables. Haas explained that when Hutchens was pulling back layers of flooring during construction, he found bamboo flooring. He was able to refurbish the bamboo, apply the Riverwest Pizza logo to it and added a clear coat of epoxy so that they could be used as table tops.

It was quiet when we visited on a Sunday afternoon. The TV was on, but the sound was off, since music was playing. I’m not sure I could describe the genre of the music other than it was one of few genres that I don’t listen to. Maybe it was a bit punk rock-ish, so not exactly traditional dining music, but perhaps a popular choice with the regular clientele.

The menu features an extensive list of specialty pizzas but also includes salads, appetizers and sandwiches. The specialty pizzas include recipes held over from the original chef, as well as collaborations among the owners and current pizza chef Jessica Schuster, a Riverwest resident who Haas told me has a lot of pizza experience.

Riverwest Pizza only serves a thin crust, and it comes in two sizes: a 14-inch small and an 18-inch large. Cheese pizzas cost $11 and $13 respectively, with additional toppings ranging from $2 to $5 each. Specialty pizzas range from $14 to $20. I’m told personal sized pizzas are sold weekdays until 7 p.m. for $6.

"Gluten-less" crusts are also available for an additional $2. The menu explains that while the kitchen isn’t a certified as a gluten-free kitchen…

Matteo's Italian Ristorante is no longer just another entry in Rick Rodriguez's Entertainment Book.
Matteo's Italian Ristorante is no longer just another entry in Rick Rodriguez's Entertainment Book.

In search of the perfect pizza: Matteo's Italian Ristorante

For the ninth straight year, October is Dining Month on OnMilwaukee, presented by the restaurants of Potawatomi Hotel & Casino. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, dining guides, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as voting for your "Best of Dining 2015."

I learned about Matteo’s Italian Ristorante, 1608 E. Sunset Drive in Waukesha, while paging through my Entertainment Book. I still buy those books, even though I find myself forgetting that I own one until two months before it expires, every year.

One Sunday evening, upon entering Matteo’s, I noticed framed newspaper clippings sharing stories about the restaurants history and success. Behind the host’s counter are chalkboards with soups and specials for the day, posted on a partial wall that divides the counter from the bar.

The dining room was buzzing, and the servers were hustling. The Packers were on a bye week. It was much quieter this past Sunday, but business still seemed steady with dining and carry-out orders.

One of the tenured staff members, Melissa, took a few minutes to talk to me about the history of Matteo’s, which initially opened as Mateo’s with only one "T" back in 1984 but has been at its current location since roughly 1994. She believes it may have been named for an uncle of the original, and current, owner Thomas Thurner.

The restaurant has a warm supper club feel to it, with a full bar, multiple dining rooms, warm colors and plenty of wood work.

The menu includes soups, salads, panini, calzones, appetizers, pastas, pizzas, seafood and other entrees such as Sicilian steak, tenderloin and barbecue ribs. Matteo’s also features a children’s menu with pastas, chicken tenders, grilled cheese, and a burger and fries.

If you’re looking for an easy family dinner option for your home, stop by and pick up "take and bake" pans of lasagna, manicotti, shells florentine, spaghetti and mostaccioli, each including three loaves of…