Joey Buona’s Pizzeria & Restaurant's motto implores diners to laugh, love, and eat "with a vengeance," whether they're chowing down on a gourmet sandwich made with rustic italian bread, or sharing a multi-course family feast of pasta and steaks with loved ones. The restaurant also hosts "all you can eat" family-style appetizers, salads, pastas, entrees, and desserts on big platters. Chandeliers cast a warm glow over crimson carpets and brick walls while guests bite into slices of thin-crust style cooked pies, then debate which came first, the city or the pizza. The downtown restaurant's catering packages and banquets ring in weddings, anniversaries, and corporate events with hot and cold smorgasbords of sandwiches, sausage ravioli, chicken marsala, and tiramisu.
Dough leaps from chefs' hands and pirouettes in midair before donning Rustico Pizzeria's slew of fresh toppings such as pine nuts, goat cheese, and eggplant, with gluten-free pizza and pasta available upon request. The menu includes 10 types of sandwiches, some of which are made crispy atop a sizzling grill, and pastas arrive at tables draped in slow-stewed tomato sauce and white-wine béchamel. A rustic dining room is decked with brick walls, hardwood floors, and sturdy chandeliers. Outside, a wooden patio affords pristine views of the Milwaukee River, and an ideal station from which to christen passing ships with bottles from the Italian wine list.
Before it became a large-scale pizza manufacturer, Palermo's Pizza was simply an Italian restaurant run by Gaspare Fallucca and his wife Zina. The Fallucca's are back to their restaurant roots offering freshly baked classic and wood-fired pizzas at Pizzeria 3301 at Villa Palermo. Along with pizzas, guests enjoy homemade soups, fresh salads, and Italian desserts within a cafe atmosphere. Patrons can even tour the pizza factory, attend a tasting event, or participate in a pizza making class.
Housed in the former Brown Bottle Guest Hall and Hospitality Center in the old Schlitz Brewery, Libiamo basks in the same old-fashioned elegance that made the venue a Milwaukee landmark. A gorgeous ceiling, elaborate woodwork, and chandeliers constructed from massive antlers set the classy yet casual ambience. Paintings of rustic Italy adorn the walls and the beautiful, familiar old bar welcomes patrons like a massive, wooden old friend. As befits the historic setting, you can get original-recipe Schlitz on tap, while ghosts of departed Schlitz cans occasionally roam the bathroom area. Libiamo also lives up to the building’s illustrious precedent with a menu of some of the best authentic Italian food in Milwaukee. Appetizers benefit from Libiamo’s delicious house red sauce. Try the tender spedini—Italian steak rolled with breadcrumbs and cheeses—or fried ravioli (both $7). For lunch, order up one of the delicious and crispy panini sandwiches, like the classic Italian beef ($7.95). Equally crispy are the thin-crust pizzas, including the sophisticated pesto chicken ($9 for small, $17.50 for large) or family-recipe linguine with meatballs ($8.50).
Pizza purveyors will devour Edwardo's all-natural pies, made with 100% pure aged cheese, crisp crust, and a sweet n' secret tomato sauce. Those perusing the menu will swiftly find Edwardo's signature stuffed cheese and spinach pizza, a two-inch-tall tasty treat packed with enough hand-selected spinach to finally let Popeye defeat Emperor Palpatine ($17.25 for 9"). Edwardo's thin-crust pizzas are just as delectable, with the Hawaiian Luau pie hosting generous chunks of pineapple, savory Canadian bacon, monterey jack cheese, and sweet n' sour sauce ($12.25 for 10"). Gobble up the Chicken Pesto Passion calzone, brimming with tender grilled meat, mozzarella cheese, and homemade pesto ($7.29), or pick up two chunky meatballs, smothered in marinara sauce and roasted red peppers ($4.79), for a kicking kickoff or a supportive side dish to your meal.
Toppers' pizzasmiths craft a menu of saucy cylinders, sandwiches, and wings until 4 a.m. Swan dive into an inventive specialty pie, such as the cool chicken-bacon-ranch or the spinach-and-feta-speckled California Topper ($13.99 for a 12"), or construct your own pizza with more than 20 available toppings for an edible edifice more flavorsome than an astronaut's house of Tang ($9.99+ for a 12"). Other tongue merriments include buffalo wings ($5.99 for six), quesadillas ($7.99+), and grinder sandwiches, which come enswathing savory meats such as chipotle chicken or smoky barbecue beef ($5.99 for 6", $8.99 for 12"). Topperstix—hand-tossed breadsticks piggybacking tasty adornments that range from cheese to berry—can act as meal sidekicks, desserts, or handheld props during table-top reenactments of Don Juan's famous food fight against Duke de Lorca ($4.99+; eight dipping sauces available).