If the response to my article about Milwaukee Public Schools’ mock chicken leg lunch – which has been offered by the district for decades – is any indicator, two things are clear:
Everyone either loves the mock chicken leg – made mostly with pork, there’s no chicken in it, hence the "mock" – and way more people love it than hate it.
With that in mind, the folks at Bounce Milwaukee, 2801 S. 5th Ct., have created a limited edition mock chicken leg pizza.
According to Bounce co-owner Ryan Clancy, the pizza has a creamy white savory sauce, mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, onion, chives, tater tots and diced mock chicken leg.
"As a former MPS teacher, I’m well aware of the sheer bliss that Mock Chicken Leg Day inspired in my students," said Clancy, who owns Bounce with his wife Becky Cooper-Clancy.
"I like to think that I was a pretty good teacher, but I had nothing which could compete with those. They’re also mostly unique to MPS, at least in the area. In conversation, you can generally pick out who went to, or worked in, an MPS school when you bring them up in conversation, so they seem to have become a matter of pride."
Clancy was formerly a teacher at Professional Learning Institute, a now-defunct MPS instrumentality charter program.
"It served the needs of our students extremely well, but enrollment suffered from non-instrumentality charters / voucher schools," Clancy says, adding that $2 from the sale of each mock chicken leg pizza will benefit Parents for Public Schools Milwaukee, which, as its name suggests, is a parent group that advocates for MPS specifically and public schools in general.
"It’s our own little shot across the bow in the struggle against school privatization," Clancy says.
"We’re always looking for ways to support our public schools, so we reached out to Jenni Hofschulte from Parents for Public Schools - Milwaukee to see if we could have sales from this support her organization, and she was thrilled."
Remember, I mentioned earlier, that not exactly everyone loves breaded mock chicken leg, which is, incidentally, also generally available in local grocery store meat sections, too. Some of those people work at Bounce.
"It took several days to convince our kitchen staff that this wasn’t an elaborate joke," Clancy admits. "The ones that had experienced the majesty of the mock chicken leg got it immediately, but we had a fair amount of employees who haven’t yet accepted the MCL into their lives, and needed to be converted."
Clancy says that although the pizza will likely have a limited run at Bounce, response in the first days of its appearance has been great. So, maybe it’ll be around for a while, or return periodically.
For the record, despite what Clancy has posted on Facebook, Clancy is not also creating a mock chicken leg cocktail, and naming it my honor.
"I wasn’t serious about the cocktail," he says now, backtracking, "though it might make for a unique bloody garnish."
Born in Brooklyn, N.Y., where he lived until he was 17, Bobby received his BA-Mass Communications from UWM in 1989 and has lived in Walker's Point, Bay View, Enderis Park, South Milwaukee and on the East Side.
He has published three non-fiction books in Italy – including one about an event in Milwaukee history, which was published in the U.S. in autumn 2010. Four more books, all about Milwaukee, have been published by The History Press.
With his most recent band, The Yell Leaders, Bobby released four LPs and had a songs featured in episodes of TV's "Party of Five" and "Dawson's Creek," and films in Japan, South America and the U.S. The Yell Leaders were named the best unsigned band in their region by VH-1 as part of its Rock Across America 1998 Tour. Most recently, the band contributed tracks to a UK vinyl/CD tribute to the Redskins and collaborated on a track with Italian novelist Enrico Remmert.
He's produced three installments of the "OMCD" series of local music compilations for OnMilwaukee.com and in 2007 produced a CD of Italian music and poetry.
In 2005, he was awarded the City of Asti's (Italy) Journalism Prize for his work focusing on that area. He has also won awards from the Milwaukee Press Club.
He can be heard weekly on 88Nine Radio Milwaukee talking about his "Urban Spelunking" series of stories.