I was sad when Pizza Man burned, but am despondent now that Olive Pit has been shuttered.
I loved the OP bar and the nice gals who served me wine while I waited for my carry-out pie. Great atmosphere and terrific pizza. And good music.
So I have been on a quest to find a new go-to pizza. I know plenty of places, but had gotten into an OP habit, so I neglected others. Now I'm on an odyssey to reconnect with Milwaukee pizza.
I'd welcome any thoughts/recs (and am open to anywhere in Milw County), but I am posting this thread to relay my experience at a place I loved 15 years ago and just re-vsisted last night--Mama DeMarini's. If one word sums it up: creepy. When I pulled up, I thought they were out of business. Their formerly brightly-lit sign was dark. But then I noticed a beer light in the window, and what appeared to be a large mental patient or zombie shuffling slowly behind the bar. Cautious, but encouraged, I parked and went in.
I walked into a David Lynch movie. The tables were empty. Two older patrons drank in the rear near some sort of video game or gambling device. The bar was occupied by three pairs of drinkers. And a giant, sloth-like creature was lurching behind the bar. The TV was blaring "Wheel of Fortune" while the zombie played along.
I sat at the bar with the hope of ordering a pizza and getting the hell out fast. I immediately noticed a terrible, sewer-like smell emanating from the floor or wall behind me. The bartender eventually made his way to me and took a drink order. My Lakefront IPA (a favorite) reached me after several minutes, but the bartender darted away quickly without taking my order (his speedy movement in this instance, I would learn, was out of character). Unfortunately, the beer was undrinkable. A sign Mama doesn't clean her taps.
I really just wanted to order. The smell, the tainted beer, the TV, the type of clientele that would actually return for this; it was all too much. But somehow, even though there were 8 patrons in the building, the bartender was busy, slowly filling all their mixed drink orders before he finally made it back to take my order. He moved with the grace and alacrity of Montgomery Burns. I just wanted a beer I could drink. I just wanted my pizza so I could get out of what had the charm of a smelly family room in an Appalachia trailer park.
I seriously considered walking out without ordering. The bartender was giving me that chance. But I never seized it (sadly). Instead I ordered a sausage and pepperoni pizza to go. Then I moved to a table to get away from TV and the smell (by now I had identified it as the men's latrine near the east end of the bar).
I didn't drink the beer. I got my pizza in quick enough order. A server brought it to me. I told her to add the beer, then I paid and got up to leave. The bartender, once again demonstrating he was capable of quick movement now and then, wheeled and yelled that I had a bar tab to settle. I told him I paid the server and hit the door.
The pizza looked fine, except it was completely buried in sausage. I mean, I've never seen this much sausage on a pizza. I know that seems like an odd complaint, but it was overwhelming. There was no balance to the pizza. And the sausage was just ok. Not great. Overall, I give the pizza two stars on my 5-star scale. Except when I consider the hygiene of the place, then I give them one star.
The place was dubious in every way.
Anyway, my march continues.
I like Balistreri's, prefer the Bluemound Inn, and enjoy eating right at the bar. I've also really enjoyed Rustico for a "fancy" pizza, but I don't go there frequently. Bluemound Inn is definitely our go to place.
Good Gosh but I like your writing.
As for edible pizza, the two places I do when I am allowed are Momma Mia's on Silver Spring (take out ONLY!) and Leonardo's in Mequon.
Lalli's Pizza on North Ave between 88th & 89th is still my favorite. Carry out only (although there are a few tables out front for warmer weather), cash only. I am STUNNED to find that they finally have a website!
8826 W North Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53226
Lisa's Pizza on Oakland for East Side, or Zaffiro's. Zaffiro's is better for a bar, and dining in, but you need to like the cracker crust type pie.