I first noticed Leonardo's Pizza, 11051 N. Port Washington Rd., while visiting another nearby business.
Located in a strip mall behind a building on Port Washington Road, it can be tricky to find if you don't know where to look. You'll actually want to turn west onto West Towne Square Road from Port Washington Road, and you'll find it on your right.
It seemed quiet when I visited early on a Monday evening, but business soon picked up. A few folks entered to pick up their carry-out orders or grab tables for dining, while additional orders were being taken by phone.
I scouted the menu online before my visit and noticed there were two styles of pizza to choose from, New York style and Sicilian style.
Very rarely do I see the words "Sicilian-style pizza" around Milwaukee, so I was intrigued to try Leonardo's version. I wasn't sure what to expect, but I guessed it would be different than the last "Sicilian-style" pizza I had several years ago.
I ordered mine with sausage and mushrooms. The gentleman who took my order turned out to be the owner, Mark Mollenhauer. He told me the Sicilian-style pizza had a thick crust and was cooked in a pan. I pictured a Chicago pan-style pie.
What arrived was not exactly what I imagined. The edge was round instead of flat, which I typically find among Chicago pan pizzas.
The crust was crisp with a doughy and chewy center. The bottom had a texture similar to a Chicago pan-style, indicating the pan was possibly coated with butter or oil.
Since this pizza was so different from the last "Sicilian" pizza I had, I decided to do a little research.
The origin of the Sicilian-style pizza comes from the Sfincione out of Palermo. It is typically topped with onion, tomato sauce, anchovies and bread crumbs. The style typically comes as a thick and doughy crust and is cooked in a pan with oil, which essentially fries the crust.
It turns out that most Sicilian-style pizzas in the U.S. are square pies, even though most of the pizzas in Sicily are round. So, by definition, Leonardo's pizza is pretty close to what a Sicilian-style pizza should be.
The sausage on my pizza was spicy and flavorful, and I was pleased that Leonardo's uses fresh mushrooms. However, since I prefer a thin-crust pizza, I wasn't really a fan of this pizza style.
Instead, I preferred Leonardo's New York-style pizza. Mollenhauer told me I was not alone since the New York-style pies represent 90-95 percent of their sales.
While many local pizzerias claim to make New York-style pizza, Leonardo's tries to stay true to the style. The crust was cooked perfectly crisp and chewy, and the slices were cut as triangular slices. The thin slices of pepperoni were spicy and delicious, and the onions were diced finely, which prevented them from overwhelming my palette.
I prefer a sweet or spicy sauce, and I didn't think this sauce was either. I prefer not to taste tomato in the pizza sauce, but this sauce tasted like a fresh tomato sauce to me. So, for those of you who prefer that tomato taste in your sauce, you might enjoy this one.
Mollenhauer told me that he adds a special seasoning blend to the canned tomato sauce used at Leonardo's and batches are made almost daily.
The pizza recipes date back to the original owners, who moved here from New York. Mollenhauer started as a delivery driver for Leonardo's at age 16. Eighteen years ago, he bought the pizzeria and the business remains strong.
The menu also features pasta dinners such as homemade lasagna, hot and cold subs, salads, appetizers and calzones.
The New York pizzas come in 12, 14 and 18 inches. The Sicilian-style pizzas come in 12 and 16 inches. Cheese pizzas start at $11.65 and $13.50, respectively.
While New York-style and Sicilian-style crusts don't represent my favorite style of pizza, many of you may prefer them. Based on what I've learned, Leonardo's tries to stay true to those styles, so you may want to pay them a visit.
The author is right- this is excellent pizza. Like noted- its not located in front of the strip mall but rather back along the side- worth looking for! I'd also recommend the sub sandwiches and bring an appetite. There's a reason this place has been in biz so long- people love the za!
Maybe it's because I grew up in Mequon....but there's no doubt in my mind that Lennys has the best pizza in the Milwaukee area hands down. I love the sauce, love the cheese, love the crust. Perfect NY slice you can fold in half. I highly recommend this pizza parlor.
4 comments about 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 Rick Rodriguez
Published Oct. 11, 2016
Rick Rodriguez has been blogging about his search for the perfect pizza for four years. Now that he's retiring from his post, he shares some favorite spots from the past few years as well as parting words for readers who've followed his adventure.
Published Sept. 7, 2016
In his 100th pizza blog, Rick ventures out to Waukesha where, upon the recommendation of a friend or two, he tries pizza, garlic cheese bread and ponza rottas from Jimmy's Grotto. What's a ponza rotta? Well, you'll have to read to find out.
Published Aug. 3, 2016
Rick Rodriguez says he doesn't think he's ever written about a pizza place as new as Fixture Pizza Pub. In this installment of his pizza blog, he gives the lowdown on the space, the food and a few other interesting facts about the owners and offerings.
Published July 15, 2016
Rick Rodriguez is often asked "who makes the best pizza?" or "who makes your favorite pizza?" The latter is a difficult question to answer, and the former is nearly impossible to answer. Still, here are some his top picks for Milwaukee pizza.
Published July 6, 2016
Sometimes Rick Rodriguez looks in unexpected places for pizza - like Shaker's Cigar Bar, for instance. But does this venue that regularly gets onto lists of the most haunted bars in America make the cut when it comes to delicious pizza?
Published June 1, 2016
Despite a sizable menu that includes hand-tossed pizzas, pizza blogger Rick Rodriguez dings Zayna's Pizza for the dense crust and a Mexican pizza on which the toppings "could use a little tweaking."
Published May 4, 2016
The folks at Carini's La Conca D'Oro have a long and storied history, with roots in Italy. They serve up authentic Neapolitan pizza, along with other Italian dishes including a variety of seafood entrees.
Published April 6, 2016
It's not often Rick Rodriguez writes about reader-selected spots. But the words "thin crust," "good pizza" and "small bar" were repeated by enough people that he felt a visit to Scotty's was warranted.
Published March 2, 2016
In addition to pizza, Albanese's offers a slew of specials, including wings, Sicilian style pork chops and Italian style fish fry on Fridays. They also happen to have gluten free pizza that's worth seeking out.
Published Feb. 3, 2016
Rick Rodriguez says the 25 minute drive to Doc's Dry Dock in Pewaukee is worth the trip, especially for their BBQ chicken pizza, which sported a crisp crust with spicy sauce and a special secret seasoning.