The Suitcase Lady

Pizza

March 17, 2010, 12:47 am

I am old enough to remember the time in America B.P. ……Before  Pizza. I recall walking home from grade school and spotting a sign on a corner storefront. “Filippo’s Pizza” it read. The minute I got home, I asked my mother, “What’s pizza?”

“That is something foreigners eat,” she said. “We don’t eat pizza.” And she didn’t for all her 89 years.

I, however, went off to high school and was invited to go out for that foreign food. Naturally, I loved it at first bite.

I recently heard a restaurant critic review the best pizzas in Milwaukee.  She was right on the mark. Our house was situated dead center between two of her top four picks.

Maria’s defies description. The walls are entirely covered with paint by number pictures, many with religious themes. All empty spaces in the room are ablaze with Christmas lights and decorations, regardless of season. The place is such an art happening that the pizza, albeit delicious, seems secondary.

We discovered Ann’s Italian Restaurant in Hales Corners because my husband bought a Chevrolet that was a total lemon. That car  went back to the huge Chevy dealership every other week for repairs, and we noticed a small, lone bungalow house on the periphery of the vast car lot. The house was converted into a pizza restaurant, and its parking lot was always jammed. Something good was going on there.

Ann’s quickly became our favorite place to eat out. Not only is the pizza crisp and cheese laden, the decor is ambient. The various rooms are best described as rococo redux.  And, for some delightful reason, wine at Anne’s is served in large stemmed water glasses. One glass will cause anyone to forget a bad day, week or month.

The restaurant critic also mentioned the newest craze in pizza… pizza by the slice. Bear in mind that the slice covers a large dinner plate and is almost too heavy to lift. The slices come with such nontraditional toppings as macaroni and cheese and steak and fries. This fad just reinforces my belief that pizza should never be thought of as lunch or dinner. It should be thought of as decadence.

I invite you to weigh in, literally, on your favorite pizza hangouts.

Facebook Comments (No FB? Use bottom box)

6 Comments for this entry

  • Thelma Friedman

    HEY RUSS… I MUST USE CAPS TO SEE WHAT I AM TYPING!

    I RECALL YOU TOOK ALL OF US THERE… TO EACH PIZZA PLACE … SOME YEARS AGO!

    OH DEAR MARY, YOU ARE IN MY KITCHEN TO THIS DAY! MISS YOU, OLD FRIEND!

    WE HAD SUCH FUN!

    LOVE TO BOTH OF YOU!

    T

  • PSanafterthought

    My first job was at Ned’s pizza in Milwaukee. It probably disappeared a long time ago. It was in the basement of one of those Milwaukee bungalows. The pizza was delicious, my gold standard, with thin crispy crust, and whatever toppings you wanted. The owner paid his help way way above minimum wage! This amazes me when I look back on this and compare to the pay that my kids have been able to get now. In fact, I was paid $2/hour by Ned in 1966, (almost no tips to add to this.) And my son worked for Olive Garden in NC in 2009 where the pay was $2.13/hour, plus tips, but he said that people there sure don’t tip more than 10%, plus during the lunch time, they usually ordered soup and a breadstick, so few tips were generated. Obviously, your posting generated lots of rambling thoughts for me.

  • Alan

    Well, in Madison, you can’t beat Roman Candle on Willie St. or Glass Nickel on Atwood Ave. However, I just read an article in The New York Times that talked about the recession prompting a $1 per slice pizza war between two local chains: $99 Fresh and 2 Bros. We’ll be in Manhattan in April, so I’ll let you know if the cheap eats are really the best deal in town.

  • Daun

    There were two in San Diego where I grew up. One was Flippi’s Pizza Grotto in the heart of the Italian District of San Diego (later I would go to this India Street district to pick up authentic items when my home ec students were studying “foreign cooking.” Flippi’s had a deli in front with cheese and salami hanging from the ceiling and a few rows of very interesting Italian groceries. The pizza has thick crusts, which I prefer. My favorite remains cheese, black olive, onion, and sausage. On my way home from jr. high was NIcolosi’s. They too had great pizzas, but I have a taste memory of their torpedo sandwiches on their own homemade Italian bread–dripping w/ herbed olive oil and vinegar and cheeses and cold cuts. No wonder I was a chunky kid.

  • Noreen Strehlow

    I too remember a time before pizza and how I loved to go to Nana’s Pizza in Cudahy on our way home from CYO or YMCA dances. Dino’s was also a local pizza place that was near the two Cudahy movie theaters; the Majestic and the Cudahy. (I think) Triple feature horror flicks or Elvis movies were favorites. I haven’t really found any favorites here in AZ unless you count our occasional do-it-yourself pizza nights. What I miss most? Rocky Rococo’s!

  • Carolyn

    We spent last evening eating Lisa’s pizza, with old friends and a new Lisa’s convert. I like your places too, but Lisa’s is much closer to our house–and we love it. The new convert had his own pizza and I couldn’t believe how fast he inhaled it. I think I raised my sons (often but not daily) on Lisa’s, now when they come to town or sometimes for a birthday celebration Lisa’s is their place of choice. Thanks for introducing me in the past to Ann’s and Maria’s.