In 1978 Frank Ebert, aka "Big Ebe," grew tired of the construction business and decided to get into the restaurant business. He opened Big Ebe’s Pizza, 9125 W. Lincoln Ave., and 35 years later, business is still going strong.
The recipes remain the same as established by Ebert, but the business is now owned and operated by his son Mike and Mike’s daughter Rachel.
Big Ebe’s Pizza seems to be very popular. I visited on a Saturday night and a Sunday afternoon, and the delivery guys and kitchen staff were busy both times.
The waiting area featured a bench, which I appreciated. The walls were covered with dark paneling and an old menu board. The take-out window was large and faced the massive pizza ovens.
Pizza and broasted chicken are the most popular items on the menu, which also includes baked pasta, seafood, ribs, salads, sandwiches and appetizers such as cheese or apple-filled Bosco Sticks.
The pizza is available on 8, 11, 14 or 16-inch crusts. An 8-inch cheese pizza starts at $4.90 with additional toppings ranging from $.60 to $1.25. The 16-inch cheese pizza starts at $15.75 with additional toppings ranging from $2.00 to $2.50.
Pizza crusts are thin, but a deep dish crust is available for a small up-charge. The deep dish is really more of a double crust. It isn’t baked in a pan with smooth edges, as is typically the case with a deep dish crust.
The pricing grid listed variations of cheese and a topping or two, but you can obviously build your own pie. Some of the special toppings available included shrimp, jalapeno, Canadian bacon and anchovies.
I keep telling myself that I should try anchovies some day. I almost tried them on one of the 8-inch pizzas, but I chickened out. I’ll step up to the challenge and try them eventually. Some people love the flavor and describe it as salty and fishy.
I read somewhere that a pizza maker wears gloves when he puts anchovies on a pizza to prevent the next four or five pizzas he makes from tasting like anchovies. Really, I’ll try them some day.
On these visits, I ordered the vegetarian pizza on the "deep dish" crust and a sausage, pepperoni and mushroom on thin crust.
The vegetarian pizza was topped with black olives, mushrooms and finely diced onions and green peppers. I’ve learned that black olives tend to kill the flavor of a pizza for me, but the flavor of the sauce was just strong enough to counter the black olives so I could
enjoy the pizza.
The deep dish crust looked more like two thin crusts stacked on one another, and the texture was similar to the thin crust, which was slightly crispy with a light coating of flour underneath.
To truly appreciate a pizza with meat toppings, I advise you to eat one after a vegetarian pizza. No offense to vegetarians, but I just think meat toppings make a pizza taste better.
To be fair, I will say that I’ve had vegetarian chili that had more flavor than chili with various meats, but when it comes to pizza, there’s no contest.
The sausage on the pizza was spicy and among the most flavorful I’ve had on a pizza anywhere in town. The pepperoni also held its own for flavor and was just spicy enough. Both worked really well with the flavor of the sauce.
Thankfully, the canned mushrooms didn’t take away from that flavor. I prefer fresh mushrooms on my pizza. Some believe that the canned mushrooms look better on a pizza but I prefer the subtle flavor and texture of fresh mushrooms, and I’m not concerned with
the singed look they often present.
The thin crust was slightly crisp but did not have that cracker-like crunch I look for when I bite into a crust. As I expected, they make their pizza dough daily.
Big Ebe’s pizza sauce starts with a canned base, but a seasoning blend handed down from Frank Ebert to his son and granddaughter creates a balance between sweet and spicy.
I might give a slight nudge to the sweeter side, but overall, I really liked the flavor. It wasn’t the type of flavor that jumps out at you, but I definitely noticed it. The sauce was also on the thicker side, and they put enough sauce on for me to see and taste.
Since I started these pizza blogs, I’ve noticed that West Allis seems to a have concentration of pizzerias larger than any other community. Lincoln Avenue alone has five pizzerias between 60th and 92nd Streets that I know of.
Yet they’ve all been in business for years, if not decades, so there certainly seems to be enough business to go around for the area pizza lovers.
Congratulations to Big Ebe’s Pizza on 35 years!
No Talkbacks for 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 April 2, 2014
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.
Published March 5, 2014
Palermo's updated its cafe at Pizzeria 3301 with a wood-burning oven made in Italy using ashes from Mount Vesuvius and by sending its executive chef to Washington to become a certified pizzaiolo. But does the pizza live up to these lofty measures?
Published Feb. 5, 2014
Maybe I should have started with the Caradaro Club, but better late than never.
Published Jan. 1, 2014
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. A couple of weeks later, I tried Lalli's pizza, and I really liked it. 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.
Published Dec. 4, 2013
In my last job, I spent some time on Milwaukee's Northwest Side and drove past a few businesses that looked to have some history. One of them was Mama's Pizza and Italian Cuisine.
Published Nov. 27, 2013
When I started writing these blogs, my focus was on finding family owned and operated pizzerias, using recipes passed down over multiple generations. Pulo's Pizza certainly fits that mold.
Published Nov. 20, 2013
I'd heard about this pizza place that opened in July called Runaway Meatball, 3592 N. Oakland Ave., and I kept seeing ads in one of the local periodicals, so I figured I may as well pay them a visit.
Published Nov. 13, 2013
Over the years, I rarely ventured into Greendale unless I was visiting a cousin for a family gathering. I've heard great things about Ferch's Malt Shoppe over the years but still haven't had a chance to visit. I've also heard great things about Ricardo's Pizza over the years and never had a chance to visit until recently.
Published Nov. 6, 2013
I've heard about Ann's Italian Restaurant, 5969 S. 108th Pl., and driven past a couple of times, but I've never dined there. A friend recommended their pizza to me recently, so I went to check it out.
Published Oct. 30, 2013
I've heard great things about the pizza at the Calderone Club, and I've read great things about the pizza at the Calderone Club. Now, I get to write about my great experience at the Calderone Club.