A fourth generation restaurateur, Ferrante’s owner Amy Ferrante-Gollwitzer mines her rich ancestry to feed the North Shore irresistible Italian cuisine made from enduring family recipes. Pie guys go for specialty pizzas such as the olive oil and garlic-coated tomato basil ($22.15 for a large) or the Amy’s, a meaty mix of sausage, pepperoni, bacon, and ham (22.15 for a large).
Chow down on hearty sandwiches while sipping fruit smoothies at The Hub, a cozy spot offering a bevy of huggable, Chicago-inspired comfort eats amid an inviting atmosphere. Patrons can choose from a host of menu items that satisfy both discerning and cast-iron palates. Allow taste buds free reign across the asiago roast beef panini, a melty marriage of roast beef, asiago cheese, ground mustard, optional red onions, and toasty italian bread ($6.49). All-beef Chicago-style hot dogs bench-press neon relish, diced onion, yellow mustard, and sport peppers atop a poppy seed bun ($3.39 each). The Hub features plentiful vegetarian options, such as the veggie dog ($3.19), three-cheese panini with mozzarella, provolone, and fontina on tart sourdough bread ($5.95), and harmoniously crunchy salads ($5.95–$7.95). Smoothies ($3.75 regular, $5.50 large) sweet-talk blushing tongues with a variety of flavors, including the breezy Brazilian Orchard (with açaí, peach, pear, and apricot), strawberry pineapple, and bubblegum. Bubble teas ($3.75) and milkshakes ($3–$3.50) pack a flavorful punch that’s more rejuvenating than outrunning a territorial badger during a morning jog.
Downtown Pizza’s chefs crown their signature pies with inventive toppings such as hawaiian jerk sauce and sliced corned beef before pairing them with wings, pastas, or gooey desserts. Tufted leather booths squeak as diners vie for the final slices of German pizza loaded with sauerkraut, bratwurst, and potatoes or steamy pot-pie pizzas that pile tender bits of chicken atop rosemary-crumble crust. Vegetarian pizzas arrive slathered in creamy pesto sauce or topped with marinated mock duck, and six varieties of sauce souse the breaded and baked chicken wings. Hanging lights emit a soft glow that accents the retro pizzeria’s red and turquoise walls on which vintage plates and kitschy salt and pepper shakers perch in shadowboxes and await puppet-show requests.
Villaggio's authentic Italian cuisine and New York–style pizza fill out the menus with Tuscan flair. Unfold the lunch menu to furnish an empty stomach with endless homemade soup, Italian house salad, and warm homemade breadsticks ($6.50), or multitask with a BlackBerry in one hand and a sausage-and-mushroom calzone in the other ($6.99). Authentic Italian dinners at Villaggio harness the renewable energy of the tides with mussels di Napoli, simmered with white wine, garlic, butter, and onions ($7.99). Savory house specialties, include breaded eggplant parmesan dressed in marinara, parmesan cheese, and mozzarella ($10.99) and charcoal-grilled, balsamic-marinated pork chops served alongside garlic mashed potatoes ($12.99).
Tazinos Pizza & Salad Bistro provides patrons with a buffet-style smorgasbord of specialty pizzas, pastas, and salads. Already cooking at three locations, a fourth eatery in downtown Milwaukee is slated to open its doors this summer. Each casual restaurant revolves around an all-you-can-eat menu of fresh, nutritious Italian fare, including pizzas crafted from natural Wisconsin cheeses and dough that is kneaded onsite every morning using unbleached flour and absolutely no high-fructose corn syrup, trans fats, MSG, or magic beans. Pies range from classic pepperoni and authentic Italian margherita to the specialty Tailgater, topped with Klement's bratwurst, green peppers, brown mustard, and barbecue sauce. Salads, such as a sweet Asian-style slaw, and pastas, ranging from mac 'n' cheese to garlic-and-herb fettuccini, keep forks gainfully employed, and each meal is rounded out by a selection of soups, desserts, and spicy pepperoni rolls.
On Saturday and Sunday, Sunriza pizzas fend off the morning munchies with renditions of breakfast favorites in pie form. Topping choices include eggs and bacon, eggs ranchero, and morning-fresh veggies, and each slice may be enjoyed alongside other breakfast staples such as french toast, cereal, and mini cinnamon rolls.
The doughsmiths at Salvatore's Pizzeria assemble a menu of five specialty pizzas and six sandwiches made with fresh ingredients and dough and bread crafted by Peter Sciortino's Bakery, a Milwaukee staple. Like Pavlov's dogs on their Sicilian vacation, mouths water instinctively when the scent of fresh-mozzarella-and-marinara appetizers ($5.95) fills the air. Medium Veggie Lovers pizzas ($15.65) round up a posse of pugnacious greens, olives, onions, and green peppers to coax bubbling cheese into settling amid Salvatore's famous crust, and a medium supreme pie ($17.10) ups the ante with sausage and pepperoni. Sandwiches such as the meatball sub ($6.95) accompany sides of fries and expertly transport saucy contents, illustrating why the best suitcases are usually constructed from bread.