In Dining

Your Denny's days are over; say hello to Streetza at 2 a.m.

Streetza keeps the party going with late-night pizza

Scott Baitinger and Steve Mai sell pizza by the slice out of a truck Downtown at bar time. How many of you are kicking yourselves for not thinking of this idea first?

It's called Streetza, and it's a concept as simple as it is brilliant. Via the company's active Twitter and Facebook accounts, the owners keep fans well-informed and well-fed by posting updates as to their exact location and slice specials of the day.

Streetza's default locale is the intersection of Water Street and Juneau Avenue, but Baitinger says he's willing to park wherever the people want him. In late May, Streetza's Twitter following requested North Avenue, and they obliged.

Baitinger hopes to add more trucks with regular stopping points on Old World 3rd Street, Milwaukee Street and Walker's Point in the future, but for now, he and Mai are making a go of it with a single vehicle that he describes as somewhere between the size of a FedEx truck and an ice cream truck.

It's just big enough for two people and a slew of pizza ovens, which is perfect since all their prep work is done from a 4,000-sq. ft. commercial kitchen in West Allis. Baitinger, a former chef and food critic, and Mai, who used to manage Riverfront Pizzeria Bar and Grill and Ricardo's Pizza, have more than 15 signature pizza varieties but are constantly coming up with new, creative daily specials, many of which have been suggested via text or tweet from customers. They sell the slices for $5-$6.

"I think people's initial perception is that we're making Jack's pizza in a truck but once they have it, they realize it's really good food," says Baitinger.

He calls his dough "a happy medium between thin New York style and thick Chicago style," and uses local and organic produce and meats to top cleverly-named pizzas, such "meatballs the movie, wait we mean the slice," "Wisconsin Stair Fair chili," "farmer's market" and, perhaps the most sought after, "the brew crew sausage race," which piles all the Klement's racing sausages (yes, even hot dog) onto a blend on five chesses. And vegans, they're working on a soy-cheese variety sure to surface this summer.

Streetza has sold more than 700 slices in just more than two weeks to the post-party hungry masses, a number made more impressive by the fact they only hit the streets from 10 p.m. until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturdays.

As the summer progresses, you'll start to see Streetza out on Thursday nights, as well as at various street fairs and festivals and gatherings like Bay View's Chill on the Hill. And Downtown workers can soon consider Streetza a lunch option, as the truck plans to park near Water Street and Wisconsin Avenue over the noon hour.


Talkbacks

sarah1161 | July 27, 2009 at 3:57 p.m. (report)

This pizza is great! Had it at Chill on the Hill, fresh, great ingredients:)

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Nippersinker | June 15, 2009 at 10:26 a.m. (report)

I had a Streetza slice Saturday night--I paid $3.75 for a slice of veggie. It was good, but I don't think I'd pay $5-6. It was a decent sized slice, but it wasn't as big as typical New York-style slices.

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CiaoRagazzi | June 13, 2009 at 4:24 p.m. (report)

Saw truck last night: Sign said $3.75 - THAT'S more like it

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CiaoRagazzi | June 12, 2009 at 10:47 a.m. (report)

Fine, some sober people would pay $5 for 1 piece of pizza. I wouldn't. I doubt I'm the only one who feels that way.

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CoolerKing | June 11, 2009 at 6:43 a.m. (report)

From what I saw in their photostream, they sell a nice sized New York style slice of pizza. If it was late and I needed some ballast I'd buy one. $5 for a large slice doesn't seem too extravagant.

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