I spoke with Mike Amidzich, the owner of Pizza Man, about a story I wrote about Downer Avenue merchants and the question of whether there can be too much pizza on one block.
During our conversation, Amidzich told me a couple of details that did not quite fit into the article, but I had to share because they are really great.
First of all, Amidzich reminded me that the former Pizza Man on North Avenue was not consumed by fire; instead, it was destroyed by smoke and water damage. The upstairs of the building burned, but the fire was stopped before flames reached the bar and restaurant.
Hence, the original bar which survived the water damage is in the new Pizza Man. Originally, it was sold to a private collector and then repurchased.
"A lot of people don’t know about this," says Amidzich.
The iconic sign was, however, destroyed in the fire so the sign on the new location is an almost-exact replica of the old one.
There’s a story behind the doors, too. As longtime Pizza Man fans will remember, the place had a very heavy front door with a pulley system. For years, Amidzich says customers complained about how difficult the door was to open, so after the fire, when he was originally dreaming of reintroducing his restaurant somewhere else, he never thought about rebuilding with the same doors.
However, someone wrote on Pizza Man’s Facebook page that they hoped the new joint would have the same door as the old space, and so many people liked the comment that Mike decided to install two 400-pound, solid wood doors to his new structure.
"It took four guys to move one of the doors," he says.
There is also an electric door-opening option now, unlike the former Pizza Man, for people who are differently abled – or just not feeling very mighty.
"I even use that button sometimes," says Amidzich. "Those doors are heavy."
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.