By Rick Rodriguez Special to Published Jul 15, 2016 at 1:00 PM

I’m often asked "who makes the best pizza?" or "who makes your favorite pizza?" The latter is a difficult question to answer, and the former is nearly impossible to answer.

The person asking might be a deep-dish fanatic who doesn't care for a pizzeria that I suggest for a thin and crispy crust, which is my preference. I always answer the question with at least one other question –"what kind of crust do you prefer?" Even with differences in sauces and toppings, I find that a person’s preference usually starts with the crust.

For Dining Month, OnMilwaukee asked me to compile a list of my top 10 pizzerias. Since this article is about my crust preferences, I thought I would answer with a list of thin crust and Neapolitan-style thin crust pizzerias that fall in my top 10 pizzerias, so far. I cheated a bit and listed my favorite Neapolitan-style pizzerias separate from my 10 favorite thin crust pizzerias. Don’t worry, I’ve already forgiven myself.

If the Big Ten conference can have 14 schools, then I can have 13 pizzerias in my list. They are listed in alphabetical order, so everyone just relax, read this, and go get a pie.

Thin Crust

1. Alphonso's
1119 S. 108th St., (414) 755-0341

Photo: Alphonso's Facebook

2. Ann’s Italian Restaurant
5969 S. 108th Pl., Hales Corners (414) 425-5040

3. Balistreri’s Ristorante
812 N. 68th St., (414) 475-1414

4. Calderone Club
842 N. Old World Third St., (414) 273-3236

5. Caradaro Club
1417 S. 70th St., (414) 475-1080

6. Hup's Pizza
5400 W. Hampton Ave., (414) 461-7510

7. Lisa’s Pizza
2961 N. Oakland Ave., (414) 332-6360

8. Pizza Man
2597 N. Downer Ave., (414) 272-1745

9. Pizzeria Scotty!
9809 W. Oklahoma Ave., (414) 543-1300

10. Wells Brothers
2148 Mead St., (262) 632-4408


Neapolitan Favorites

11. Il Ritrovo
515 S. 8th St., Sheboygan (920) 803-7516

12. Zarletti Mequon
1515 W. Mequon Rd.

13. Mozzaluna
17700 W. Capitol Dr., (262) 790-1077

Photo: Mozzaluna Facebook

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.