Milwaukee Pizza Spots that Give Chicago a Run for its Money
True, MKE doesn’t have a signature style of pizza like Chicago. But that doesn’t mean that Milwaukee pizza is living in the shadow of it’s deep-dish loving neighbor. In truth, Milwaukee restaurants may have the advantage—access to local cheese and farm-fresh veggies certainly can’t hurt when it comes to crafting flavorful pies and often inspires chefs to get pretty experimental in the toppings department (mac n’ cheese pizza, anyone). Check out our list below to see our picks for which restaurants serve the very best pizza in Milwaukee.
Clock Tower Acres
Not content to simply sling traditional pies, this cafe also crafts out-of-the box pizzas, such as the La Bella, which swaps red sauce for garlic cream sauce and adds onions and artichokes. On some nights each week, the tunes of a jazz combo fill the room; the eatery also prides itself on its gluten-free pizzas and extensive wine list.
Specializing in hand-tossed NY-style crust, Classic Slice serves its pies with a little edge. To wit, take stock of its signature pizzas, such as the Meatallica, locked and loaded with four kinds of meat, and the Top Gun, smothered with bacon and goat cheese mashed potatoes. Meanwhile, vegans throw up the horns for the meat- and dairy-free options.
Lower East Side
Why mess with tradition? Bobby Zaffiro opened this spot in 1956, and set to work crafting pies topped with his wife’s special-recipe sauce. To this day, even with his son running the show, the thin-crust pizzas are made the “old fashioned way”—by hand and topped with classic toppings and that same delicious sauce.
4. Pizza Man
In 1970, Pizza Man was one of the only pizzerias that delivered. Today, it still delivers any of its traditional or out-of-the-box pies, such as its most “famous,” the artichoke a la mode, with fresh basil, cream cheese, and sliced tomato. It also serves 250 varieties of domestic wine, with 30 available by the glass and some on tap.
5. Ian's Pizza
Lower East Side
Ian’s most popular pizza is its mac n cheese pie, but the chefs also use other comfort foods as toppings, such as bbq brisket and chipotle sweet potato. You can also snag a more traditional pie here, or grab a slice for a quick bite.
This thin-crust pizza has remained virtually the same since 1968, when Jim Balistreri opened the venue. Expect classic pizzas, traditional pasta dishes, and a long menu of other Italian favorites.
7. Ned's Pizza
Bob and Don, friends since the third grade, made their dreams come true when they opened this pizzeria in 1969. Patrons can also take home par-baked versions of their thin crust pizza.
It’s not hard to tell that this spot’s been run by the same family since 1957, with the old school neon lights outside, checkerboard tablecloths inside. Today Maria’s daughter and granddaughters run it, preserving the religious paint-by-number pictures that were once used to cover cracks. Known for its huge party-cut pizzas, Serious Eats calls what the kitchen creates “soul food.” Pro tip: Maria’s accepts cash only.
Lower East Side
This outlier crafts Detroit-style four-corner pizza from house-baked dough. They also strive to be environmentally friendly, by using biodegradable bags and making regular donations to community organizations. The eatery keeps diners entertained with video games, a photo booth, and jukebox, and boasts a bunch of awards, including Best Delivery Menu 2012 from Shepherd Express.
10. Hup's Pizza
Though Hup’s Pizza is housed in a tiny garage-sized building, you can’t miss it’s green and red facade. Though the menu’s simple and they only do carryout and delivery, diners flock here for the generous toppings.