By Rick Rodriguez Special to Published Nov 15, 2012 at 11:36 AM

Marco's "World Famous" Pizza, 6234 S. 27th St., started in 1959. The first time I noticed Marco's Pizza was over 10 years ago, when I used to shoot pool at Romine's.

One of the current owners, Shawn Sankarsingh, worked there for around six years before he and friends Chris Rehorst and Terry Radtke bought two locations (8411 W. Lisbon Ave. is the other) from the original owner around 10 years ago. The original owner runs a location in Oak Creek.

One of my best friends lives near the South 27th Street pizzeria and orders from it often. He's a big fan of the sauce and recommended I give the pizza a try.

The lobby was painted in white and yellow. Menus, specials and "Marco's says ..." phrases were printed on yellow paper in a black font and mounted in black picture frames. Two chairs were available for guests awaiting their orders.

Marco's features three daily "Meal Deals" with combinations of pizza, garlic bread, wings and soda. I ordered Meal Deal #1: a large two-topping pizza, an order of garlic bread and a two-liter of soda for $18.50. I added mushrooms and onions to my sausage-and-pepperoni pizza for a small up-charge. Upon request, onions are always free at Marco's Pizza.

While I waited for my pizza, I explored the menus. Besides pizza, Marco's offers buckets of chicken, shrimp or fish, as well as pastas, sandwiches, burgers, wings and Marco's "World Famous" Rollos, its version of a calzone.

There are also various specialty pizzas, including The Mexican, with ground beef, black olives, lettuce, tomato, jalapeno, onions and salsa, and the Bacon Cheeseburger. There is also a Chili Pizza.

Three pizza sizes are available: 12-inch, 14-inch and 16-inch crusts. All are hand-tossed and can be ordered thin, normal or double dough. Cheese and one-topping pizzas start at $13.50, $14.50 and $16, respectively.

When my pizza arrived in the paper pizza bag, it was heavy. I was anxious to get to my friend's house and rip open the paper to see what was creating all that weight.

I soon learned that the weight came from a lot of everything – the crust, the sauce, the cheese and the toppings. This pizza was generously prepared.

The crust was dusted with cornmeal and was crispy around the perimeter, which made those slices easier to hold. They were also strong enough to hold the cheese and toppings. It didn't take long to realize this pizza would be messy to eat, so my friend and I grabbed lots of extra napkins and kept them close.

The slices were cut as squares. The center slices were flimsy and struggled to hold the cheese and toppings. When I picked up one of the center slices, the cheese and toppings immediately slid off. I decided to cheat and use a knife and fork.

Unfortunately, I didn't care for the crust, which lacked the texture and flavor that I look for. At times, it tasted a bit overcooked. I was also disappointed that the mushrooms were canned. I prefer fresh mushrooms on my pizza.

However, I loved the sauce! It was thicker than most pizza sauces and had a nice sweet flavor to it. This was definitely one of the best pizza sauces I've tasted! I noticed on the menu that customers could buy extra sauce in four-ounce, half-pint or pint containers. I think this sauce is certainly worth buying more of.

The large chunks of Italian sausage and pepperoni were also flavorful, and the generous portions of cheese and sauce easily helped save my pizza dining experience.

The garlic bread was also among the best I've had. The half-loaf was heavily topped with butter, garlic and oregano. The flavors were not subtle. I thought this was a winner and a great value, regularly priced at $2.50!

I've always felt that the sauce makes the pizza. In fact, I feel that the sauce makes most dishes and helps me decide if I think the chef is the real deal. This sauce is likely a key reason Marco's Pizza has been around since 1959.

If you prefer a sweet pizza sauce and want to try Marco's, you have a couple of locations to choose from covering the southeast and the northwest parts of Milwaukee.

Rick Rodriguez Special to
I was born and raised in Milwaukee, and I plan to stay in Milwaukee forever. I'm the oldest of three children and grew up in the Riverwest neighborhood. My family still lives in the same Riverwest house since 1971.

I graduated from Rufus King High School and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater with a business degree.

My true passion for Milwaukee probably started after I joined the Young Professionals of Milwaukee (now called FUEL Milwaukee) which just celebrated its one year anniversary at the time. The events that I attended, and sometimes organized, really opened my eyes to what Milwaukee had to offer, as well as its potential for the future. So for the past, present, and future FUEL Milwaukee corporate sponsors out there, that organization does produce results (editorial)!

I love all of the Milwaukee Sports teams, professional and amateur. I love the Milwaukee arts scene and all of the festivals. I love that you can find a free concert in the summer just about every day of the week. I love the various neighborhoods around the Milwaukee area and the unique characteristics that they offer. I love the people who take the time to tell us about those unique characteristics. I have to hold my breath and count to ten when someone tells me that there is nothing to do in Milwaukee. Then I prove them wrong.

Most of all, I love the Milwaukee dining scene. I love how it continues to evolve with modern dishes and new trends while the classic restaurants continue to remind us that great food doesn't have to be "fancy schmancy." However, I also love the chefs that create the "fancy schmancy" dishes and continue to challenge themselves and Milwaukee diners with dishes we've never seen before.

Our media provides attention to the new restaurants, which is great, but I don't like seeing the older great restaurants close their doors (Don Quijote, African Hut) because they've been forgotten, so I try to do my part to let Milwaukeeans know that they're still out there, too. I do that through social media, online reviews, and a dinner club I run for my friends, where we visit restaurants they haven't heard of before or try ethnic cuisine they haven't had before.

My dream is that one day I can mention a great experience in Milwaukee and not have someone respond with "have you been to Chicago?" I don't like those people very much.