I started working for my current employer six years ago. A few months after I started, one of my team members invited us all over to his Sussex home for a Packers party. Among the popular party foods were pizzas delivered from a nearby pizzeria.
The host told me the pizza came from Tony Maronniâ€™s, N63 W23951 Main St. The pizza was good enough â€“ and the name was catchy enough â€“ for me to remember them both all of these years later.
In September 2006, Tony Lippold and his wife Angelsita opened Tony Maronniâ€™s in a space formerly occupied by a used book store.Â Lippold, a trained chef with his education coming from a technical college and the Culinary Institute of America, spent much of his career at hotels and country clubs, including the Silver Spring Country Club.
While at the Silver Spring Country Club, Lippold often made pizzas for wedding receptions as a late night snack. Since he was complimented so much for his pizzas and he felt pizzas appealed to the masses, he considered opening his own pizzeria.
Tony Maronniâ€™s started as a take-n-bake shop, but later, Lippold added a small oven for cooking a single pizza. Then he added a second and a third as the demand grew for Lippold to bake the pizzas for customer pick-up.
Eventually, demand called for the installation of a large oven that baked 10 pizzas, then a conveyor, then multiple conveyors. Now, Tony Maronniâ€™s has a commercial oven that bakes up to 300 pizzas in an hour.
Customer demand also led to the addition of a dining room in July 2008. The dining room is filled with wooden chairs and tables topped with red and white checkered vinyl cloths.Â The walls are adorned with red brick patterns and a mural of Italian fields.Â Menus are printed on charming wooden boards tied together with thin leather straps, like the type you find in a baseball glove.
Tony Maronniâ€™s menu is larger than most pizzerias so there should be something for all tastes. Appetizers, salads, pasta, calzones, desserts and large sandwiches â€“ called grinders â€“ round out a menu of artisan and create-your-own pizza options.
The grinders seem worthy of another trip with options such as the Al Capone, filled with Italian sausage, Italian beef, mushrooms, caramelized onions, roasted red peppers and garlic all topped with melted mozzarella, drizzled with balsamic truffle aioli and served on garlic bread.
Pizza crust options include a thin and crispy Napoletana, the hand-tossed New York and the deep dish Sicilian. Pies may be ordered baked or par-baked to be finished at home and served hot from the oven.Â Tony Maronniâ€™s also offers a gluten free crust, available in a 10-inch crust starting at $10.99.
Crust sizes range from a 12-inch small to an 18-inch extra large, with cheese pizzas starting at $9.99 and extra toppings ranging from $1.50 to $4.75.
Artisan pizzas may be ordered in any of the four sizes and on any of the three crust options. Artisan pizzas start at $12.99 and include signature pies, such as the Polpetta Bella â€“ with meatballs, fire roasted red peppers, mushrooms and caramelized onions â€“ and the St. Anthony, topped with Italian sausage, Calabrese salami, sopressata, roasted garlic, roasted red peppers and ricotta.
Each month, Tony Maronniâ€™s features a pizza of the month. On my visit, the featured pizza was the Greek Supreme topped with feta, banana peppers, Roma tomatoes, black olives, spinach and lamb gyro meat.
My friend and I started with the deep dish crust, topped with sausage and pepperoni. I was expecting a pan-style deep dish pizza. What arrived was a thick hand-tossed crust. The pie was cut into squares with crispy edges around the perimeter.
The slices were strong enough to hold the toppings without flopping over, and the dough was soft and chewy.
The sauce was slightly spicy with a fairly distinct tomato flavor. Tony Maronniâ€™s sauce starts with Stanislaus crushed and fresh packed California-grown tomatoes, mixed with a puree with their proprietary seasoning blend added.
The pizza dough is made fresh daily with Lippoldâ€™s recipe at Sciortinoâ€™s bakery and has a three-day fermentation period. The dough uses a biga, a dough starter.
Lippold says a biga, "is a living thing made from flour and water and naturally occurring wild yeast, which must be fed flour and water on a regular basis to stay alive. The older the biga gets, the more flavor it imparts into the dough. Our biga is over 64 years old and has a distinct flavor of Naples, Italy, because of the wild yeast in Naples."
The large chunks of Italian sausage were slightly spicy and delicious. The pepperoni, sourced from Patrick Cudahy, was also flavorful and had a little spice. It was nice to find the rare combination of spicy pepperoni and sausage. You would think it would be more common, but itâ€™s been a rare find for me so far.Â
Tony Maronniâ€™s sausage is made with another of Lippoldâ€™s recipes by his cousin Vinny, a butcher in Germantown and namesake of the artisan pizza Cousin Vinnyâ€™s Favorite, which is topped with double sausage, double mushrooms and pepperoni. Lippold told me that one of the key ingredients in the sausage is the meat of the pigâ€™s neck, which provides "a good fat."
We also ordered the artisan St. Anthony pizza on the thin Napoletana crust. The hand-tossed crust was crispy at the perimeter, but the pie slices were soft due to the weight of the toppings and the grease from the delicious sausage, Calabrese salami and spicy sopressata. Thatâ€™s a trade Iâ€™m willing to make.
The garlic, roasted red peppers and ricotta added a savory supplement to the already flavor-packed pie.
The color contrast of the red peppers against the bright white ricotta cheese made this pizza visually pleasing. Thankfully, this pizza tasted as good as it looked. It was definitely a flavor combination Iâ€™ll start looking for at other future pizzerias.
All of the cheese used at Tony Maronniâ€™s is made from Wisconsinâ€™s own Grande Cheese Company. In fact, Lippold takes pride in using the freshest local ingredients that he can find.
With 19 different artisan pizzas and more than 30 toppings to choose from when building your own pie, I think Tony Maronniâ€™s is worth a visit. I think Cousin Vinnyâ€™s Favorite will be next when I return.
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 May 6, 2015
Mangia Wine Bar received a major remodel a little over a year ago and features a wood burning pizza oven behind the bar, where patrons can enjoy a glass of wine or cocktail while pasta and pizza dough are being made just a few feet away. The combination of Executive Chef Jason Gorman and a wood burning pizza oven warranted a drive south to Kenosha for pizza.
Published April 2, 2015
Bay View has become a popular part of town to eat and drink over the past few years. It's also a place where one can find a pizzeria in the back of a small tavern with a completely different name and a completely different owner. Such is the case with Vinchi's Pizza, which has been located inside The Bubbler at 3158 S. Howell Ave. for the past three years.
Published March 4, 2015
My first experience with Cranky Al's, 6901 W. North Ave., was during the Chili'n on the Ave event in Wauwatosa a few years back. Since then, I've been hearing about their pizza and their doughnuts - the crullers in particular.
Published Feb. 4, 2015
This month's installment of Rick's quest for the perfect pizza takes him to ... the lower level of a Best Western?
Published Jan. 7, 2015
Rick's pizza journey takes him to SALA, where he talks sauce and tries one of the best pizzas he's ever had.
Published Dec. 3, 2014
Rick's constant search for perfect pizza in Milwaukee took him to Brian's in Oak Creek, where things didn't quite go as planned.
Published Nov. 5, 2014
I am one of the many that participates in fantasy football leagues. One year, a league commissioner ordered pizza from Michaelangelo's, at 8330 W. Puetz Rd in Franklin, for our draft party, and I enjoyed it enough to add it to my list.
Published Oct. 1, 2014
I googled Magellan's upon getting a recommendation and learned it offered the self-proclaimed "best pizza in Waukesha." I haven't had great experiences with Waukesha pizza, so I figured I'd give this place a visit.
Published Sept. 3, 2014
Early last year, there was quite a bit of buzz over the transformation of Palermo Villa into Divino Wine and Dine, 2315 N. Murray Ave., and equal buzz about Dean Cannestra taking over the space after closing his previous venture, Libiamo.
Published July 2, 2014
Rick's quest for the perfect pizza brings him to Capri di Nuovo, the revamped and renovated rendition of a recently closed popular West Allis Italian restaurant.