When I lived in New Berlin, I noticed a sign pointing toward the back of a strip mall with the word "pizza" on it. I turned into the parking lot from Greenfield Avenue and proceeded to the side of the strip mall that paralleled Ranch Road.
I then noticed a very familiar sign in the window â€“ "Vitucci's" â€“ in the same font and color as the East North Avenue bar bearing the same name.
I had to ask the obvious question, and yes, they are related.
Frank and Gale Vitucci opened Vitucci's Pizza, 14185 W. Greenfield Ave., in 1997. Frank's brother is well-known Milwaukee bar owner Mike Vitucci (Whiskey Bar, Belmont Tavern).
Frank has more than 25 years experience cooking in pizzerias and Italian restaurants, but the recipes he uses are his own. Frank's wife, Gale, and their daughter also work in the pizzeria. I went back recently for their great pizza. When I entered, Frank was making fresh pizza dough. The counter in front of him had a mound of dough next to a mound of flour. He was also just about to start on a pizza that was ordered before I walked in.
Nonetheless, he greeted me and offered his assistance whenever I was ready. I placed my order for Vitucci's supreme pizza (cheese, small chunks of Italian sausage, fresh mushrooms, onions, green peppers, black olives and slices of pepperoni) and an order of cheese bread. Then I sat on the bench in the waiting area and took a visual tour of the establishment.
The decor has something for everyone. The walls were adorned with Brewers, Packers and Bucks memorabilia, as well as movie posters and photos from "Jaws," "Rocky," "Indiana Jones," "Goodfellas," "Scarface" and "The Godfather." The refrigerators were topped with flowers, and a magazine rack with some of the popular issues sat next to the bench. What really caught my eye was the display of Slingin' Pizza Elmo (yes, the "Sesame Street" character) on the front counter, which I admit made me smile and added a nice contrast to the rest of the decor.
Vitucci's Pizza is big on using the best and freshest ingredients. Most of the pizza crusts are hand-tossed, but other options include thin crust, thick crust, super thick crust and a double-decker style crust, which fuses two separate pizzas into one delicious pie. Sizes are 8, 12, 14 and 16 inches.
Prices are very reasonable, with a 12-inch cheese pizza starting at $8.50. Thursdays feature Gale's spinach pizza, made on thick crust with a white cream sauce. You can certainly add other toppings, and I'll bet fresh mushrooms and chicken would go great with the spinach.
Another interesting pizza on the menu is the spaghetti, meatball, sausage and meat sauce pizza. The spaghetti is mixed into the pizza sauce with mushrooms, garlic, onions and parmesan. It takes a bit longer to make this pizza because Frank makes the spaghetti fresh when the pizza is ordered. It isn't sitting in a refrigerated batch waiting to be reheated. I'll have to go back for this one soon!
Besides pizza, Vitucci's menu offers garlic bread, cheese bread, the cheese bread special (topped with onions and tomatoes), calzones, lasagna (meat, veggie or cheese), a meatball sandwich, sausage patty sandwich and Bosco Sticks (stuffed with mozzarella, or dessert style stuffed with apples and topped with sugar and cinnamon).
The pizza sauce is also made fresh here. I would say the sauce is on the thin side and has a subtle spiciness to it. The word I would use to describe the pizza I ordered is "balanced." No one ingredient really stood out, but all worked really well together to create a great-tasting pizza.
The crust was crispy around the outer perimeter, which I'm a big fan of, and sturdy in the middle to hold the toppings. Vitucci's is generous with the cheese and other toppings. I also enjoyed my cheese bread. Frank suggested sprinkling a few onions onto it, which added another dimension of flavor. I now plan to request onions on future cheese bread orders.
Vitucci's Pizza has developed quite a reputation for great pizza over the years. They've never been written about by any of the city's dining critics, but word of mouth has worked well. While I waited for my pizza, a couple of guys came in to pick up their order. It was their first visit to Vitucci's, but they'd driven past a few times and read great reviews online.
Vitucci's has a customer loyalty program and is currently running two Stimulus Package Specials (call the restaurant at (262) 641-5490 or check their website for details). Hours are 4:30-8:30 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, 4:30-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 2-8 p.m. Sunday. Vitucci's offers carry-out and delivery only (call for delivery area).
The Vitucci name goes beyond Milwaukee nightlife. I guess operating successful businesses runs in the family.
No Talkbacks for this article.
Post your comment/review now
Disclaimer: Please note that Facebook comments are posted through Facebook and cannot be approved, edited or declined by OnMilwaukee.com. The opinions expressed in Facebook comments do not necessarily reflect those of OnMilwaukee.com or its staff.
Recent Articles & Blogs by Rick Rodriguez
Published Oct. 3, 2017
Milwaukee loves pizza. Our neighborhoods are filled with pizzerias - all unique, bursting with flavor and filled with storied histories. One Milwaukeean has eaten his way through the lion's share. His hard work translates into your guide to great pizza in greater Milwaukee.
Published Oct. 11, 2016
Rick Rodriguez has been blogging about his search for the perfect pizza for four years. Now that he's retiring from his post, he shares some favorite spots from the past few years as well as parting words for readers who've followed his adventure.
Published Sept. 7, 2016
In his 100th pizza blog, Rick ventures out to Waukesha where, upon the recommendation of a friend or two, he tries pizza, garlic cheese bread and ponza rottas from Jimmy's Grotto. What's a ponza rotta? Well, you'll have to read to find out.
Published Aug. 3, 2016
Rick Rodriguez says he doesn't think he's ever written about a pizza place as new as Fixture Pizza Pub. In this installment of his pizza blog, he gives the lowdown on the space, the food and a few other interesting facts about the owners and offerings.
Published July 15, 2016
Rick Rodriguez is 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. Still, here are some his top picks for Milwaukee pizza.
Published July 6, 2016
Sometimes Rick Rodriguez looks in unexpected places for pizza - like Shaker's Cigar Bar, for instance. But does this venue that regularly gets onto lists of the most haunted bars in America make the cut when it comes to delicious pizza?
Published June 1, 2016
Despite a sizable menu that includes hand-tossed pizzas, pizza blogger Rick Rodriguez dings Zayna's Pizza for the dense crust and a Mexican pizza on which the toppings "could use a little tweaking."
Published May 4, 2016
The folks at Carini's La Conca D'Oro have a long and storied history, with roots in Italy. They serve up authentic Neapolitan pizza, along with other Italian dishes including a variety of seafood entrees.
Published April 6, 2016
It's not often Rick Rodriguez writes about reader-selected spots. But the words "thin crust," "good pizza" and "small bar" were repeated by enough people that he felt a visit to Scotty's was warranted.
Published March 2, 2016
In addition to pizza, Albanese's offers a slew of specials, including wings, Sicilian style pork chops and Italian style fish fry on Fridays. They also happen to have gluten free pizza that's worth seeking out.