By Rick Rodriguez Special to Published Aug 21, 2013 at 10:15 AM

I’ve visited Rounding Third Bar & Grill on Bluemound Road, and I’ve taken its shuttle to Brewers games, but I didn’t know about the Rounding Third Pizzeria, 7119 S. 76 St., until a friend of mine told me about it.

I learned soon after my visit that both share the same owner, Tim Toetz, so that explains the common name question I had. I tried to reach Toetz at the sports bar, but he wasn’t in when I called.

I was told that Toetz and a couple of partners opened the pizzeria three years ago, and he bought them out earlier this year.

Rounding Third Pizzeria is located in a small strip with a couple of other popular businesses so I’m not sure why the "Now Open" sign is still up after three years. I would have thought that by now, everyone in the area would know.

The venue is small and dimly lit. There is seating for around 25-30 guests including the stools at the bar located below a large high definition flat-screen TV, where I watched the Little League World Series while I waited for my order.

The menu is concise, while still offering some variety with appetizers, a few sandwiches, pizza, calzones and fried chicken dinners.

Diners will also find full bar service available with beer, wine and cocktails.

The menu states that the pizza and calzones "are homemade and hand stretched with only the finest and freshest ingredients." I was sold.

Rounding Third Pizzeria offers a thin crust and a "house" crust. The house crust is a hand-tossed crust that is crispy and chewy, but it was more on the crispy side than it was chewy, unlike a typical hand-tossed crust.

That is likely because they bake the pizza a little longer than most places do. The crust had a bit of a char on it, which I tend to like on my thin and crispy crusts, but it worked well on this hand-tossed crust.

Pizzas come in 12, 14, and 16 inches and range from $11 to $14 for cheese pies.

Additional toppings cost $1.25 to $1.75 and include a "double dough" option for the thick-crust pizza lovers.

Specialty pizzas are available for you to choose from such as the Rounding Third Special with mushrooms, onions and your choice of sausage or pepperoni, the Home Run, which allows you to choose any six toppings, the Prince which is a veggie pizza, and the Grand Slam, which is the meat lover’s pie.

Rounding Third also offers a Hawaiian pizza, a Volcano pizza which features sausage, pepperoni, jalapeno peppers and crushed red pepper flakes, and recently added a Meatball pizza.

Specialty pizzas range from $14 to $22 and are also available in 12-, 14- and 16-inch crusts.

I started with a thin crust pizza topped with sausage and pepperoni. The crust was crunchy around the edge with a slightly crispy texture throughout. The slices were cut a pie slices, as opposed to squares, and bent only a little when I lifted them, and the cheese and toppings stayed on.

The pepperoni slices were spicy and crisp, while the large chunks of sausage delivered an additional savory and spicy flavor. The sauce was slightly spicy but also had a subtle sweetness to it. It complemented the sausage and pepperoni really well.

I’d also like to make a point that Rounding Third is generous with their toppings. I don’t believe I had a bite that didn’t have pepperoni or sausage.

The other pizza was on their house crust and topped with sausage, fresh mushrooms and green olives.

While I’ve decided I don’t really care for black olives on a pizza, I’ve also decided that I do like green olives. While black olives seem to neutralize the flavor of spicy meat toppings, green olives seem to complement them and maybe even accent the flavors of sausage and pepperoni.

I described the house crust earlier, and I have to admit that while I’m pretty loyal to the thin crust, I actually preferred their house crust over it. I think it was because they bake the crusts longer, giving it that crispy texture throughout without burning it.

The phone was ringing with carry-out and delivery orders, which impressed me considering the place had only been open five minutes when I arrived early on a Saturday.

I pictured someone sitting next to their phone and staring at their watch anxious for a heartier breakfast than ham and eggs could provide.

Pizza and beer are the staples at my annual fantasy football league draft. Since it will be held in Franklin this year, I’ll be suggesting Rounding Third Pizza as our dining option.

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.