The first time I drove past Schneider's, 3717 N. 76th St., I thought it was a supper club. It had that look about it, with the older sign and older design. The building is half house and half restaurant.
It was the word "pizza" that got my attention and convinced me to pay them a visit.
When I walked in, I was met by the bar area. The hostess station was off to my left. The bar was pretty full on this Saturday afternoon.
I was told that Schneider's was originally called the Colonial Inn prior to 1994. In 1994, an ownership change made it Schneider's Colonial Inn. Then it just became known as Schneider's.
Current owner, Leung Chu, bought Schneider's nine years ago. He was at his other restaurant, China Town on North Avenue., so I didn't get to meet him.
When I reviewed the menu, I was impressed by the low prices and decent selection, but I also remembered that you get what you pay for.
Appetizers ranged from $2.00 for garlic bread to $7.95 for the combo plate with breaded mushrooms, mozzarella sticks, onion rings, and chicken tenders.
Ribs, chicken, sandwiches, salads and soups filled another section of the menu. I asked my server if the soups were homemade, and she told me that the chili and clam chowder are made from scratch, but most of the others come from their food service provider.
Dinner specials include Peel and Eat Shrimp on Wednesdays, a Saturday night steak night and a Friday Fish Fry with cod, perch, walleye and bluegill starting at $7.95.
Saturday afternoon also features a $1.50 Schneider burger from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The pizza comes in three sizes : 9, 12 and 16 inches. Twelve-inch cheese pizzas start at $7.95 with additional toppings at $1.25 each.
I ordered my pizza with the works. The sausage and pepperoni weren't spicy but had good flavor. The mushrooms were canned, but worked well with the green peppers, onions and black olives.
The sauce had a nice slightly spicy flavor to it and was a bit on the thicker side. Schneider's starts with a canned base and then adds its own seasoning blend to it.
All of the pizzas are served on a very thin and very crispy crust, just how I like it. However, when I asked about how the crust and sauce were made, I learned that the crust was pre-made, like the type you buy in the grocery store.
Cue the e-Trade Baby "shocked look." I did not see that coming. The menu states the pizzas are "homemade." I don't think pre-made crusts qualify.
Many of the pizza places I've visited start with a canned sauce or paste and add their seasoning recipe to it, but this is the first time I've heard that a pre-made crust is used, other than the gluten-free crust from one of my earlier blogs.
I'm going to assume that, at some point, in Schneider's history the pizzas were truly homemade. They just aren't now.
The sign outside says they deliver. The take-out menu has that information crossed out. Schneider's could certainly benefit from updating their signs and menus to prevent confusion.
I assume the bar business and inexpensive prices have helped Schneider's maintain a loyal customer base which helps the business continue.
If I saw Schneider's pizza in the freezer section at the grocery store, I'd probably buy it, but I expect more when I see the words "homemade pizza," so a return visit is unlikely.
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.