For the sixth straight year, October is Dining Month on OnMilwaukee.com, presented by Concordia University. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, delectable features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food, as well as the winners of our "Best of Dining 2012."
My first experience with Mr. D's II, 11078 W. National Ave., was when it was just Mr. D's on Greenfield Avenue. I was instantly drawn to the sauce. I was disappointed when that location closed and excited to see that Mike Ziegler, owner of Mr. D's II, brought it back in West Allis. I just hoped it would be the same.
Mr. D's II is located in a strip mall, and offers dine-in, carry-out and delivery. The restaurant is on the small side with around nine or ten tables, but the delivery driver was in and out frequently, so that must make up the majority of their business.
The tables were covered in the familiar red-and-white checkered-pattern table cloths. A color TV sat atop a stand with a satellite TV receiver beneath it. As I walked up to the counter to read the menu behind it, I passed a refrigerator with various Pepsi products, apple juice and water bottles.
Being my first time at this location, I wasn't sure of the SOP (Standard Ordering Procedure). I noticed a young lady flying around the restaurant bussing tables, delivering food to tables and answering the busy phone behind the counter. She was hustling!
I decided to make things easy on her, while easing my own anxiety, and waited patiently at the counter for her to take my order.
Mr. D's offers their traditional hand-tossed pizza, a thin-crust pizza and a pan-style pizza. True to form, I selected the thin crust with sausage and pepperoni, along with an order of garlic bread.
It seemed like only five minutes went by before my garlic bread came out. Unlike many restaurants that serve garlic bread on Italian or French bread, this order was made on thick slices of white bread, similar to Texas toast. I thought it was just as tasty as the more common forms of garlic bread.
Three slices were cut in half. The bread was perfectly crispy, for my taste anyway. I'm not a fan of the garlic bread that's so hard it makes your gums bleed when you bite into it. Not the case here. The center of the bread was soft, and I thought the amount and balance of garlic and butter was spot-on.
Another 10-15 minutes went by and my pizza came out (joy!). By this time, more than half the restaurant was full, a few people had come in to pick up their carry-out orders and the phone seemed to be ringing off the hook. Yet, the young lady kept her composure.
I found out many of those calls were from the same guy who was recently placed on their "naughty list" and is not allowed to order from them anymore. You have to respect a business who takes a stand to protect its employees and customers instead of trying to make a buck at any cost.
Where was I? Oh yeah, my pizza came out, and I couldn't wait to taste it! I really wanted to know if this was the same sauce that I had over eight years ago. I doubt I would remember the specific taste, but I remember the sauce being on the sweeter side.
Alas, I took the first bite, and the sauce was ... wait for it ... on the sweeter side just like I remembered and hoped it would be. So far, I haven't tasted a pizza sauce like this anywhere.
The sausage chunks and pepperoni were spicy as expected, and there was enough cheese that I had to pull it apart with my spare hand because my arm wasn't long enough to break the strands of cheese from the slice in my hand to the bite in my mouth. You know what I'm talking about.
The only disappointment I had was that my thin crust wasn't crispy enough. As I looked around at the other tables, they all stuck with the traditional hand-tossed. From where I was sitting, that crust looked crispier around the perimeter than mine. Also, since they ALL had the traditional crust, I realized I probably should have gone that route, too. The next time I visit (yes, I am definitely going back), I will order the traditional hand-tossed crust.
Getting back to the sauce – it is so good and so popular that you can actually buy it there! In fact, the table directly to my right asked for a bowl of it and used spoons to add more of it to each slice that they ate. Where else have you seen that? I haven't seen that anywhere.
While pizzas rule at Mr. D's II, they do offer other items such as pastas, burgers, sandwiches, fish fry, appetizers, salads and calzones.
Pizzas come in 12 inches and 14 inches and start at $11, with toppings starting at $.80 for veggie and $1 for meat toppings.
I'm really glad Ziegler opened Mr. D's II and brought back that sweet sauce I've been missing. I'm sure you were worried I wouldn't find it again. Who doesn't like a happy ending, right?
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