#91 Zaffiro’s

May 25th, 2016

Milwaukee, WI

Our last pizza stop in Milwaukee was one of the classics – Zaffiro’s. Zaffiro’s has been making pizza since the 1950’s, and it has a solid following in the city. It was predominately a bar when it opened, but it was able to expand into the shop next door in the 70’s and it has stayed in the same location ever since, with the same family as owners.

Again, this is Milwaukee-style pizza, and had a super thin cracker crust. The crust holds up to the cheese and toppings here, and there was plenty of both. There was more cheese on this pizza than there had been at Pizza Man, and the cheese layer was definitely thicker than the crust itself.

We ended up choosing to order the “EBF” or “Everything but Fish” pizza. It came with both pepperoni and sausage, mushrooms, peppers, and onions. Also, black olives, which we picked off. I guess we could have ordered it without olives, but we really don’t like to be difficult, and we already had requested that the meat stay on one side of the pizza.

So, the big question is obviously: which pizza did we like better? We both gave the slight edge to Pizza Man. Mainly because it felt fresher and had more unique topping combinations. If you are looking for the traditional pizza (with the Milwaukee-style crust), then Zaffiro’s is where you should go.

There are now offshoots of Zaffiro’s pizza around Wisconsin and neighboring states. Similar to the abundance of Patsy’s around NYC, these seem to be related somehow to the original and they bake similarly-styled pizzas. However, they also have a different website from the original Zaffiro’s that we went to. We’d be interested to see how the other Zaffiro’s Pizzeria & Bar compares.

If anyone is really up for a challenge, those alternate Zaffiro’s have a good one: the “Big Z” challenge.  (Or at least this was going on last year – they may have discontinued it by now). I think that Eric and I could have finished 4 square feet of pizza, especially with that thin crust. But that would have had to be its own road trip.

Also, according to this article, the average person eats 46 pieces of pizza per year. Um, I think we are wayyy past that….

To visit:

Zaffiro’s
1724 North Farwell Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53202

#90 Pizza Man

May 24th, 2016

Milwaukee, WI

After lunch in Minneapolis, we hopped in the car again for the 5 1/2 hour drive over to Wisconsin. We only had to make one stop on the way into Wisconsin – for cheese, of course! We pulled in to town just in time for dinner.

The first stop on our pizza list in Milwaukee was Pizza Man. We were still a little full from the great pizzas at Pizzeria Lola, so we were glad to see that these were thin crust pies. We ended up splitting the Avantgardener pizza, which was topped with eggplant, ricotta, and peppers, and also a brussels sprouts salad.

If we lived in Milwaukee, this would be on our most-visited restaurant list. The pizza is good, but we’d also go for the wine list and to sit outside on the second floor deck. We obviously didn’t go to the pre-2010 location that was destroyed in a fire, but we love what they’ve done with the new restaurant since they re-opened in 2013. Especially the giant wine bottle chandelier that we wish we could recreate in our house.

This thin crust-style pizza is called “Milwaukee-style”, unsurprisingly. Over here on the East coast, we rarely see pizzas cut into squares like this. In the Midwest, this is really a thing.

We are both history dorks (although me more so than Eric), so of course I needed to look up why and how this cracker-thin crust started. As it turns out, pizza first came to Milwaukee in 1945, at a restaurant called the Caradaro Club. The two owners decided to combine the round, Neapolitan style and the square, Sicilian style, and this is what they came up with. It is easier to eat while drinking beers than slices, and so this style of cutting is also known as a “tavern cut”. You can read more about this here, if you are interested.

Milwaukee-style pizza also typically has a sweet sauce that is spread just so that it covers the crust. It is usually, but not always, topped with shredded mozzarella cheese. It was a little surprising how many pizzas were cheese-less, considering Wisconsin is known as the Dairy State. The crust reminded us a little bit of Pi Pizzeria in St. Louis, or Tappo Thin Crust in NYC, although neither of those is cut “tavern style”. The thin crust was really appreciated by our waistlines, because this was pizza #5 in three days (and there was plenty more to come).

We followed up our pizza dinner with a quick tour of some of Milwaukee’s breweries. We really wanted to try this beer, but after a bit of Google searching, we realized that the brewery was closed. We went to Lakefront Brewery, though, and also found ourselves in the Sugar Maple bar, which had an excellent selection of beers on tap.

 

To visit:

Pizza Man
2597 N Downer Avenue
Milwaukee, WI 53211