By Rick Rodriguez Special to Published Sep 06, 2012 at 11:52 AM

I've driven past Pizzeria Scotty!, 9809 W. Oklahoma Ave., a few times over the years (have you noticed I do a lot of driving?), but never got around to stopping in. I also don't know anyone who has eaten the pizza there.

I happened to be in the area on my way to a Fantasy Football draft, so I figured it was time to try it out and pick up a couple of pies to share with the guys in my league.

I walked in a little before 6 p.m. on Tuesday evening and had the privilege of placing my order with owner Scott Vaughn himself. He happened to be entering some information at the register when I walked in.

It didn't take long for me to notice that this place was hopping! The phone was ringing almost non-stop with orders. I counted three different delivery drivers picking up orders and heading back out on the road. Another five guys were working hard in the kitchen, prepping and cooking and communicating with each other.

This was on a TUESDAY! I can't imagine what it will be like on the weekend with football games on Saturday and Sunday.

This business is a well-oiled machine, from the guy kneading and rolling the pizza dough to the guy pulling pizzas out of the oven and expediting orders. The latter also assisted the occasional customer picking up an order. He greeted them with a friendly and very genuine smile. These guys really cared.

What really got my attention was that the staff was having fun. It was clear as day that this crew actually loved working at Pizzeria Scotty! (the exclamation point is part of the name) and took pride in their work. Most of the kitchen staff looked like college students in their late teens or early 20s.

While I waited for my order, I heard them communicating, yelling "behind" as they walked past each other to pick up or drop off items.

One guy was working on a chicken parmesan order and asked for clarification on what to include with the dinner and when to cook it so it was ready with the pizza. He wanted to get it right. His coworker patiently answered the question. There was no eye-rolling, just one guy helping out a teammate for the common goal, a happy customer ... but I digress.

You want to know if the pizza was any good. It was actually better than good. It was "simply superb." That is what Pizzeria Scotty! strives for and they guarantee that you will love their pizza.

Pizza crust options are thin, double dough, Chicago Pan Style and a stuffed pizza. Vaughn moved to Milwaukee from Chicago in 1985, so you know he takes the Chicago-style pizza seriously. It does not disappoint.

The crust is buttery, but not too buttery like other pizzerias in Milwaukee. It's lightly crisp on the outside and then chewy. Since the crust is thicker than the thin or double dough, more sauce and cheese are added. When I bit into a slice, the sauce squeezed out from the sides of the slice onto my face. Yup, that's the right amount of sauce!

Normally, when I taste the tomato in a pizza sauce, I am disappointed because the sauce typically doesn't have the sweetness or spiciness that I'm looking for. It's like those pizzerias just poured a can of tomato sauce on the pizza. Not so at Pizzeria Scotty! I did taste the tomato, but I tasted it with a flavorful blend of spices that created a perfect sauce harmony.

The thin crust pizza is also among the best I've had. While the crust wasn't as crispy as I like throughout, it was still crispy around the perimeter and the center slices were strong enough to hold the sauce, thick layer of cheese, chunks of Italian sausage and pepperoni without falling apart and making a mess.

The menu also includes salads, pastas, appetizers, a fried chicken dinner, "Inferno Wings" and sandwiches, including the "Big Cheese" Italian beef and a meatball sandwich. Pizzas start at $9.79 for a 10-inch cheese pizza, but remember there are always specials and coupons available, like the "two 12-inch one-topping pizzas for $17.99" deal currently running.

I learned from their website that Vaughn has been working in the restaurant industry since 1968, except for the two years he spent serving in the U.S. Marine Corps after he was drafted in 1972.

The mission statement at Pizzeria Scotty! includes "delivering outstanding performance and providing value" to its customers. The website features a Specials/Coupons section. "Pushing the limits of excellence" certainly describes what Pizzeria Scotty! wants to deliver to its customers and staff. I witnessed this first-hand while waiting for my order.

When I asked Vaughn how long he's been at the current location, he answered, "27 years ... I must be doing something right." Yes you are, Scotty, and then some.

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.