Last year, OnMilwaukee.com highlighted a relatively new dining trend in Milwaukee: pizza available by the slice. It's not that there were absolutely no slice options in town, but the Slice Guide showcased a rapidly developing increase sparked by restaurants like Cranky Al's in Wauwatosa, Classic Slice in Bay View and Meglio Pizzeria on the East Side.
Around the same time, another quick pizza eatery opened in the Avenues West neighborhood near Marquette University. Sal's Pizzeria is located on the ground floor of the 2040 Lofts, luxury student apartments at 2040 W. Wisconsin Ave.
Owner Fini Elmazi runs his family-operated business in a quaint space with a handful of dine-in tables and a fireplace. From the outside, the eatery can be easy to miss as its façade tends to blend in with the towering building above it, but once inside, the food makes Sal's a worthy find.
The restaurant is named for Elmazi's father, who opened the original Sal's Pizzerias in Manhattan and Atlantic City, N.J.
In keeping with the city's trend, New York-style pizza by the slice is the star here, with no fewer than 13 varieties available at all times. They've got your basic cheese, pepperoni and mushroom slices, but it's Sal's specialty pizzas that highlight the restaurant's edge. There's not only BBQ chicken, but there's also Buffalo chicken; and rather than cheese and sausage, you'll find a bacon cheeseburger version. All slices are priced between $3 and $3.75.
The stuffed slices -- with pepperoni or spinach -- are hearty helpings baked to perfection for $4.95.
Sal's is a counter-service pizza place, though it takes not five minutes from ordering to receive your warmed slice. Each order comes with a complementary garlic bread roll, a large, warmed, dough ball saturated with rich butter and garlic -- the restaurant's signature.
Pizzas are also available as whole pies; a 14-in. medium ($9.95-$18.95) and an 18-in. large ($13.95-$20.95). Customers are welcome to design their own, thought it's difficult to pass up some of Sal's signatures, such as the lasagna pizza with ground beef, ricotta and mozzarella, the spinach with a three-cheese blend of ricotta, mozzarella and feta, and Sal's special, a heavy combination of sautéed assorted vegetables and meats.
What else is on the menu? Traditional Italian pastas -- chicken parmesan, manicotti, ravioli and lasagna -- hot subs, as well as a variety of enormous calzones and stombolis, Italian bread turnovers filled with cheeses, meats and / or vegetables ($7-$7.45).
Sal's is a quick, affordable and delicious addition to Milwaukee's pizza pickings. It's open seven days a week and offers free delivery.
OnMilwaukee.com staff writer Julie Lawrence grew up in Wauwatosa and has lived her whole life in the Milwaukee area.
As any “word nerd” can attest, you never know when inspiration will strike, so from a very early age Julie has rarely been seen sans pen and little notebook. At the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee it seemed only natural that she major in journalism. When OnMilwaukee.com offered her an avenue to combine her writing and the city she knows and loves in late 2004, she knew it was meant to be. Around the office, she answers to a plethora of nicknames, including “Lar,” (short for “Larry,” which is short for “Lawrence”) as well as the mysteriously-sourced “Bill Murray.”