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Carini's is one of the restaurants in town that serves up authentic Neapolitan style pizza
Carini's is one of the restaurants in town that serves up authentic Neapolitan style pizza

In search of the perfect pizza: Carini's La Conca D'Oro

My introduction to Carini’s La Conca D’Oro, 3468 N. Oakland Avenue, occurred a few years ago when I was in the area and saw they were open for lunch. With a lot of help from his brothers and other family members, Peter Carini opened his restaurant in 1996, renovating, updating and adding improvements over the years – including a wood burning pizza oven, imported from Naples, Italy last year.

The name La Conca D’Oro is derived from Palermo, Italy, where Carini’s father was a fisherman. When the fisherman looked toward Palermo from the sea, it looked like a golden shell, a conca d’oro.

Carini moved from Porticello, a fishing village near Palermo, to Milwaukee in 1966 because his grandfather had already been settled here. He didn’t speak any English but learned while working, initially as a paper boy and later in the kitchen of the Milwaukee Athletic Club, where he started as a dishwasher and worked his way up to executive chef after 16 years. Much of that time was spent working with immigrant German cooks and chefs, crediting them with much of what he learned about cooking.

After working as executive chef from 1975 to '84, he left to work at Zorba’s in Brookfield and Nico’s in Franklin until he decided to open his own restaurant, which he currently co-owns with his wife Janice. She runs the front of the house and keeps the books.

A friend suggested that Carini consider adding pizza to the menu because it provided better margins, but Carini wanted his pizza to be authentic and separate the restaurant from the other pizzerias in the area. When he purchased the wood burning oven, he called his son, Gregg, to share the news. Gregg was working in Nashville at the time with a couple of gentlemen from Naples, Italy – not Florida.

Gregg Carini went to work studying Neapolitan pizzas and looking into the VPN (Verace Pizza Napoletana, or "True Neapolitan Pizza") certification process. Gregg Carini attended the culinary program at MATC and worked at th…

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Scotty's Bar & Pizza is worth a repeat visit, according to Rick Rodriguez.
Scotty's Bar & Pizza is worth a repeat visit, according to Rick Rodriguez.

In search of the perfect pizza: Scotty's Bar and Pizza

Since the readership of this pizza blog has grown to double digits, I’ve had one or two folks offer their suggestions of pizzas I should try. Most of them I’ve already written about, but once in a while, I’ll add a suggestion to my list, and sometimes I’ll be intrigued enough to check one out.

Such is the case with Scotty’s Bar and Pizza, 3921 S. Clement Ave. The key words "thin crust," "good pizza" and "small bar" were repeated by enough people that I felt a visit was warranted. I stopped in on a Saturday afternoon with a friend to find a full bar and an empty dining room. We grabbed a table and were soon greeted by Shay, a bartender who was playfully sassy and added fun to our dining experience. She was great!

Neither of the owners were there on my visit, but I was able to speak to Gary Tiedke by phone. He and longtime friend Marcie Rone bought Scotty’s Bar and Pizza 15 years ago. Tiedke owned a bar in the past and currently owns a tile company that his son manages. Tiedke said Scotty’s had such a great reputation, he felt it made sense to buy the business when it was for sale.

I peeked into the kitchen through the ordering window in the dining room and saw the two Blodgett ovens used to bake the pizzas that are made fresh. I was told that the pizza dough is made from scratch and delivered several times per week by Canfora Bakery, also located in Bay View. Canfora also makes the seeded French bread rolls that Scotty’s uses for its burgers. In fact, most of the pizza toppings are sourced from local businesses, including vegetables from Layton Fruit Market and the Italian sausage made specifically for Scotty’s by a local butcher.

There are two small dining rooms in the back and a game room adjacent to the bar. The walls are filled with old radios and other collectibles, such as clocks and metal signs representing gas stations, auto racing and classic cars. I literally enjoyed staring at the walls, while waiting for our pizzas.

Scotty’s pizza o…

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The classic combo pizza at Albanese's has a nice crisp crust and plenty of cheese, but not quite enough sauce for Rick.
The classic combo pizza at Albanese's has a nice crisp crust and plenty of cheese, but not quite enough sauce for Rick.

In search of the perfect pizza: Albanese's Roadhouse

One of the movie theatres I frequent is the Marcus Majestic in Waukesha. On my way to there, I’ve driven past Albanese’s Roadhouse, 2301 Bluemound Rd., in Waukesha, dozens of times. The parking lot was always pretty full, so I kept telling myself I would stop in when it wasn’t so busy.

It didn’t seem that would ever happen, so I just stopped in on a random Thursday evening when I was in the area. Thursday night happens to be $.40 wing night. Monday through Thursday nights also feature other specials, including an Italian style fish fry on Fridays and Sicilian style pork chops on Saturdays.

On my visits, I sat at the bar and was well taken care of by the bar manager, Phil Kelly, who happens to be Joe Albanese’s cousin. He was gracious enough to answer my questions and give me a little background about the restaurant between tending to other customers.

Albanese’s Roadhouse opened 33 years ago at the current location by Dominic Albanese. There were two other Albanese’s locations owned by family members, but this location is the only restaurant that remains. Around 10 years ago, Joe Albanese took over the business from his father, Dominic.

Albanese’s menu includes some unique items such as scungilli (conch) in the appetizer section, spedini and Italian sausage cacciatore in the House Specialties section, baked cod Neapolitan in the Seafood section, homemade amaretto cheesecake on the dessert list, as well as pastas, sandwiches, soups and salads.

Pizzas come in 10-, 12-, 14-, and 16-inch sizes, with cheese pizzas ranging from $7.75 to $13.75. Extra toppings range from $1.75 to $2.50 each. A 10 inch gluten-free crust is available for same price as a 10 inch regular crust, including specialty pizzas. Gluten intolerant diners will also find gluten-free mostaccioli on the menu.

Specialty pizzas include the Calabria topped with double pepperoni, mushrooms, and onions, the spinach special topped with spinach, tomatoes, and mushrooms, the classic combo wit…

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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…

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