In 1978 Frank Ebert, aka "Big Ebe," grew tired of the construction business and decided to get into the restaurant business. He opened Big Ebeâ€™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 Mikeâ€™s daughter Rachel.
Big Ebeâ€™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 isnâ€™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. Iâ€™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, Iâ€™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. Iâ€™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 Iâ€™ve had vegetarian chili that had more flavor than chili with various meats, but when it comes to pizza, thereâ€™s no contest.
The sausage on the pizza was spicy and among the most flavorful Iâ€™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 didnâ€™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 Iâ€™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 Ebeâ€™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 wasnâ€™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, Iâ€™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 theyâ€™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 Ebeâ€™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 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.
Published Jan. 6, 2016
Rick Rodriguez tries out Nori's Pizza, a New York-style pizza spot that opened on South 13th Street in July. The verdict? Even after just a short period, Nori's seems to be establishing a reputation for good 'za.
Published Dec. 2, 2015
Pizza lover Rick Rodriguez grew up in Riverwest and enjoyed pizza from two neighborhood restaurants. Since then, a void in neighborhood pizzerias developed. Fortunately, in December 2014, Riverwest Pizza opened.
Published Nov. 4, 2015
Rick Rodriguez discovered Matteo's Italian Ristorante after seeing it in his entertainment book, so he drove to Waukesha to check out this classic spot, which serves up pizza along with numerous other specials.
Published Oct. 25, 2015
Rick Rodriguez spills the beans on his top picks for Milwaukee pizza.
Published Oct. 7, 2015
Rick Rodriguez has been waiting to go to this Sheboygan Neopolitan pizza spot for 10 years.
Published Sept. 2, 2015
Zarletti Downtown is one of Rick Rodriguez's favorite restaurants, so when a new location opened in Mequon - and featured Neapolitan style pizza - he put it on his list to visit.
Published Aug. 5, 2015
Rick Rodriguez visits Coach's Pub & Grill, where he samples their pepperoni and cowboy pizzas.