By Julie Lawrence Special to Published May 28, 2009 at 11:27 AM

The new Brick 3 Pizza has arrived in the former African Hut spot at 1107 N. Old World 3rd St., and from the looks of it, it's being well received.

Sure, pizza's not a hard sell in this town, but when you see the customer line extending through the dining area and going down the back hall, there's got to be more than a classic crust, sauce and cheese combo responsible.

We're willing to bet it's the lasagna pizza, piled high with chunky mounds of beef and ricotta cheese. But then again, you never know. The other slices looked pretty tempting, too.

Owners Tan Lo and Rick Barrett, who also own the forthcoming Moderne Condominiums located just north on 3rd Street and Juneau Avenue, opened Brick 3 in early May as a Downtown source for New York-style pizza. On any given day, you'll choose from about 10 varieties, available in 20-inch pies ($19.50-$34.50) or large slices ($3-$5.25).

All the classics are there, including the Milwaukee favorite -- sausage, mushroom and onion -- but general manager Figo Akcay has something of a passion for pizza and his creativity is manifested in the form of full Italian meals on soft crust.

The Caprese ($4.95, $33.50), for example, looks more like the savory salad it's named for, and probably requires the same utensils to eat it. The generous slices of fresh mozzarella are made in-house, as is the tangy red sauce and garlic-infused olive oil.

The Philly cheese steak ($4.50, $27.50), too, pushes the envelope on what a slice of pizza can accomplish for your hunger. Imagine the traditional hearty sandwich; now imagine it sans bun and ingredients spread out across your pizza.

Every so often Akcay will offer up a special or two not found on the daily menu. (Note: keep your eyes open for his stromboli.)

Still, nothing quite compares to the sight of Brick 3's 34-inch pizza, which the owners call the biggest in Milwaukee. Whether the title is accurate is irrelevant; this beast of a feast is enough to feed at least 10 people, although that probably depends on how hungry those 10 people are.

"Milwaukee's biggest pizza" starts at $45.45 for cheese and adds an extra $4.50 per topping.

The menu also expands out of pizza territory into other Italian-influenced fare, such as meatball and chicken parmigiana sandwiches, calzones, garlic bread, fried ravioli, tiramisu and cannoli.

Brick 3 recently began its delivery service (minimum $10 purchase with $3 delivery fee) as well as curbside service and catering. The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday through Wednesday and 11 a.m. to 4 a.m. Thursday through Saturday. It is closed Sundays. 

Julie Lawrence Special to staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.

As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”