By Molly Snyder Senior Writer Published Oct 15, 2008 at 5:23 AM Photography: Whitney Teska

October is Dining Month on OnMilwaukee.com. All month, we're stuffed with restaurant reviews, special features, chef profiles and unique articles on everything food. Bon appetit!

Since 1971, Pizza Man served up zillions of ‘zas, so whether it tops your list of favorites or not, it’s undeniably an East Side institution.

Because of its long-term contribution to the Milwaukee pizza scene -- and because it was one of the top vote-getters in OnMilwaukee.com’s "Best Of" competition -- Pizza Man is one of four restaurants competing to create a Milwaukee pizza in the OnMilwaukee.com "Slice of Milwaukee" pizza contest.

Aaron Cleavland, the general manager for Pizza Man, sums up the pizzeria’s ability to pass the test of time.

"Pizza Man is a unique mix of pizza and wine without pretentiousness," says Cleavland.

The Pizza Man menu is proof that, despite the name, the kitchen cooks up more than saucy pies. Menu highlights include massive salads like the steak and Caesar, seafood dishes such as the blackened orange roughy and steamed New Zealand mussels, and pasta dishes like the artichoke or wild boar ravioli.

But the pizza, of course, is the dish of honor. The thin crust pies have a thick and spicy sauce and are available in 12-, 14- or 16-inchers. Pizza Man offers a cornucopia of toppings, including artichoke hearts, shrimp, scallops, pineapple and pulled BBQ pork, along with all the usuals like sausage, onions and mushrooms.

Specialty pizzas like the the artichoke à la mode -- topped with cheese, artichokes, cream cheese, tomatoes and fresh garlic -- and the Hawaiian pleasure -- cheese, Canadian bacon, pineapple and cream cheese -- are favorites among Pizza Man fans.

"Our gourmet pizzas are definitely the most popular," says Cleavland.

Appetizers include potato skins, a Brie cheese plate, mozzarella marinara, escargot and conch.

Most of Pizza Man’s entrees are under $20. Pizzas start at $12.75 and all of the appetizers are under $10.

Additionally, Pizza Man offers more than 500 wines from California, Washington and Oregon, available by the glass or the bottle. Wine is served in a Reidel crystal glass.

Although some say it's in need of a facelift, the décor is a major part of the Pizza Man experience, with wildly patterned carpeting, stone walls and wooden booths complete with customers’ carved initials. The ambient lighting adds to the experience, but most unique is the front door that’s kept closed by a sandbag connected to rope and pulleys.

Pizza Man delivers to the East Side, East Towne, parts of Downtown, Third Ward, Shorewood, Riverwest, Brewers’ Hill and the Commerce Street Riverside communities.

"Pizza Man lets you take in the good life, without emptying your wallet," says Cleavland.

The OnMilwaukee.com "Slice of Milwaukee" pizza contest -- in conjunction with OnMilwaukee.com’s Dining Month -- includes four local pizzerias: Pizza Man, Classic Slice, Balistreri’s and Zaffiro’s. The four restaurants will compete to create the "most Milwaukee" pizza. The OnMilwaukee.com editors will sample the four pizzas and pick the winner. All of the recipes -- and the winner -- will appear in an article on Oct. 30.  

Molly Snyder grew up on Milwaukee's East Side and today, she lives in the Walker's Point neighborhood with her partner and two sons.

As a full time senior writer, editorial manager and self-described experience junkie, Molly has written thousands of articles about Milwaukee (and a few about New Orleans, Detroit, Indianapolis, Boston and various vacation spots in Wisconsin) that range in subject from where to get the best cup of coffee to an in-depth profile on the survivors of the iconic Norman apartment building that burned down in the '90s.

She also once got a colonic just to report on it, but that's enough on that. 

Always told she had a "radio voice," Molly found herself as a regular contributor on FM102, 97WMYX and 1130WISN with her childhood radio favorite, Gene Mueller.

Molly's poetry, essays and articles appeared in many publications including USA Today, The Writer, The Sun Magazine and more. She has a collection of poetry, "Topless," and is slowly writing a memoir.

In 2009, Molly won a Milwaukee Press Club Award. She served as the Narrator / writer-in-residence at the Pfister Hotel from 2013-2014. She is also a story slam-winning storyteller who has performed with The Moth, Ex Fabula and Risk!

When she's not writing, interviewing or mom-ing, Molly teaches tarot card classes, gardens, sits in bars drinking Miller products and dreams of being in a punk band again.