Food & Drink

The Best Pizza Places in Milwaukee

Published On 05/19/2015 Published On 05/19/2015

Zaffiro's Pizza

Lower East Side

The Zaffiro family, who are Sicilian immigrants, started making pizzas in the early '50s, and their pies have become a quintessential Milwaukee treat. There’s no reason to stray from the most popular topping combination around these parts: the sausage, mushroom, and onion remains a stand-out. While every local pizza place in America offers this combo, Zaffiro's doesn't have to have invented this wheel to have perfected it.

Brad Krawczyk/Courtesy of Pizza Man

Pizza Man

Murray Hill & Wauwatosa

Though Pizza Man has been around for a long time (minus a temporary hiatus from a devastating fire), the pizzas have evolved with the times, and include newfangled toppings like arugula, lamb sausage, and the one topping that divides people most, cream cheese. Try it on the Artichoke a la Mode, their most popular pizza. Or go green with pesto-sauced pizza topped with fresh arugula for a fresh, bitter kick.

Alphonso's The Original

West Allis

Alphonso’s is a little take-out and delivery-only spot that is named after the owners’ mentor, Alphonso. He willed his beloved 1969 Camaro and his family’s recipes to owners Tim Szuta and Corey Washington when he passed in 2005. The Heavy Chevy is dedicated to him and his beloved drag racer, and includes just about every topping on the menu. Like all Alphonso's pizzas, the bake time is long, which ensures the middle of the pizza isn’t soggy under all that meat, veg, and cheese. If you’re not a kitchen-sink-pizza type of guy, the standard sausage and pepperoni is perfection on a crunchy crust.

Transfer Pizzeria Cafe

Transfer Pizzeria Café

Bay View

There’s a ton of pizzas to choose from at this sleek spot, which also offers lots of live music and an extensive bar. All the options come on a pillowy, fluffy crust with lots of charred bubbles. You can get a range of topics, from classics like prosciutto to, uh, the less-common salmon or shrimp. Many of the options come with a creamy garlic sauce in place of tomato, in case you want to ward off any vampires... Try it with the roasted chicken breast and pan fried potatoes.

Lacey Muszynski/Thrillist

Ian's Pizza

Lower East Side & Juneau Town

Ian's brunch is here, which means that it's now possible to start your Sunday with a Brisket Hash brunch slice, or if you have a sweet tooth, there's a yogurt, fruit, and granola concoction called Jamberry Jam, which comes topped with berries and honey pistachio ricotta cream. There's a pizza for everyone here, from a very solid, greasy NY-style pepperoni, to the ultra carb heaven mac & cheese -- which you should always, always order with bacon. Despite the range of atypical toppings, none of the pizzas are a gimmick: everything at Ian's is made from scratch.

Classic Slice

Bay View

There are a lot of vegan options to choose from at this slice (and whole pie) shop, including the Mediterranean with olive tapenade, soy sausage, and sun-dried tomatoes. If you’re more of a meatatarian, then go for the Meatallica, with meatballs, sausage, pepperoni, and bacon. It’s the preferred choice of Lars Ulrich fans everywhere.

Courtesy of Tenuta’s

Tenuta's Italian Restaurant

Bay View

This romantic Italian restaurant, known for pasta and an extensive wine list, also serves up a seriously tasty pie. The Diavola is an interesting mix of toppings with pepperoni, giardiniera peppers, cream cheese, and pineapple, for a sweet/hot combination. It’s creamy, a little meaty, and definitely wakes up your taste buds.

Little DeMarinis Pizza

Little DeMarinis Pizza

Bay View

The latest incarnation of pizza restaurants run by the DeMarini family since the 1950s, Little DeMarinis is run by the granddaughter of the original location owners, using their classic recipes. Large pizzas come in a rectangular pan with a distinctive crust that rolls up the sides of the pan. A serious throwback-joint, you can choose canned or fresh mushrooms... in case you don’t despise canned ‘shrooms, or you’re 60+ years old. Get 'em on a sausage, mushroom, and onion for a perfect, old-school combination.

Pizzeria Scotty

West View

Scotty’s makes a number of different kinds of pizza, from thin and crispy, to stuffed pizza with sauce on the top. The sweet spot seems to be in the middle, though, with the pan pizza. It’s a thick, doughy crust that’s got a nice crunch on the bottom, topped with a double helping of cheese. It’s not exactly like the deep dish you can get in Chicago, but it’s how we do it north of the border, and it's just as delicious.

Anondyne Coffee Roasting

Anodyne Coffee

Bay View

A coffee shop that serves pizza? It's not that weird once you see the huge Ferrara wood-burning pizza oven that was imported from Italy. Thanks to that bad boy, pizzas cook in just a minute or two, in true southern Italian style. Try the classic margherita pizza first because it's just beautiful in its simplicity. Wash it down with a glass of wine or a beer -- yep, this coffee shop has booze too.

Ned's

Southgate

A south-side staple for just about as long as anyone can remember (1969 in fact), Ned's serves up the thin crust, square cut pies that Milwaukeeans love. They're heavy on the pizza sauce -- no dry pies here -- and cheese, making for a pizza that's almost gooey as you pull off a slice. The dining area is small and in need of a makeover, but hey, at least they have one.

Lacey Muszynski/Thrillist

Hup's Pizza

Hampton Heights

This tiny shack, painted bright red and green, pumps out some of the best pizza in the city. The total customer area is about 5ft square, so either wait at the bar across the street or call in your order ahead of time. The menu is small and you won't find any fancy toppings here; Hup's serves up hearty, simple pie that's been sustaining the neighborhood for decades. The Italian sausage is bold with fennel, and makes a perfect pizza topper.

Wy'east Pizza

Hawthorne Glen

The owners of Wy'east moved to Milwaukee from Portland where they operated a popular pizza truck. Those same pizzas have found a permanent home here in a renovated spot with a small dining room on Vliet St, where pizzas are cooked quickly, in a super-hot, wood-fired oven on dough that's had an extra-long fermentation time, which leads to better flavor and texture. Toppings and pizza names are influenced by the Pacific Northwest, like the Hot Marmot topped with pepperoni and hot peppers pickled in a maple syrup brine.

Flickr/Adam Kuban

Maria's Pizzaria

Lyons Park

The pizzas at Maria’s are shaped by the sheeter, which means that they come in shapes that can't be described by geometry, and they will always overflow on the pan. Get pepperoni, as it’s the kind that gently cups into a delicious grease reservoir, ready for Parmesan. The Christmas lights, paint by numbers on the walls, and the bouffant hairdos of the senior wait staff are all just amazing bonuses that add to the charm of this neighborhood spot.

Marco's Pizza

Goldman Park

There’s so much cheese -- and so many toppings -- on the pizzas at Marco’s, the middle slices can barely stand up to the weight. The thin-crust style is a bit thicker and more substantial than you'll find at most places, but there’s also just so, so much cheese. You don’t hear anyone complaining though. Go for the special, which (as usual) is the standard sausage/mushroom/onion... we really can't get enough of this classic.

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Lacey Muszynski is a Milwaukee food writer who could probably eat an entire 20” pep from Ian’s if left to her own devices. Follow her @worthhersalt.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
1. Zaffiro's Pizza 1724 N Farwell Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202

The Zaffiro family, Sicilian immigrants, started making fine thin crust pizzas in the early '50s, and its pies have become a quintessential Milwaukee treat. There’s no reason to stray at this casual spot from the most popular topping combination around these parts: the sausage, mushroom, and onions.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
2. Pizza Man 2597 N Downer Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53211

Though Pizza Man has been around for a long time, the pizzas at this popular spot with a charming deck and patio have evolved with the times and include newfangled toppings like arugula, lamb sausage, and the one topping that divides people most: cream cheese. Try it on the Artichoke a la Mode, its most popular pizza, or go green with pesto-sauced pizza topped with fresh arugula for a fresh, bitter kick.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
3. Alphonso's The Original 1119 S 108th St, West Allis, WI 53214 (West Allis)

Alphonso’s is a little take-out and delivery only spot that is named after the owners’ mentor, Alphonso. Like all Alphonso's pizzas, the bake time is long, which ensures the middle of the pizza isn’t soggy under all the meat, vegetables, and cheese. If you’re not a kitchen-sink-pizza type of person, the standard sausage and pepperoni is perfection on a crunchy crust.

Previous Venue Next Venue Venue Description
4. Transfer Pizzeria Cafe 101 W Mitchell St, Milwaukee, WI 53204 (Bay View)

There’s a ton of pizzas to choose from at this sleek spot with lots of live music and an extensive bar. They all have a pillowy, fluffy crust with lots of charred bubbles. You can get anything from mushroom and prosciutto to pizza with salmon or shrimp. Many pizzas have a creamy garlic sauce in place of tomato,which perfectly pairs with chicken breast and pan fried potatoes.

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5. Ian's Pizza 2035 E North Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53202 (East Side)

Ian's gourmet pizza is made with exceptional ingredients and expertly prepared, with options like a very solid, greasy NY-style pepperoni, to the ultra carb heaven mac & cheese -- which you should always, always order with bacon. Despite the range of non-traditional toppings, everything at Ian's is made from scratch. This spot is also open for brunch, which means that It's now possible to start your Sunday with a Brisket Hash brunch slice of pizza.

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6. Classic Slice 2797 S Kinnickinnic Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207 (Bay View)

At Classic Slice, there are a lot of vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options to choose from on the menu, including the Mediterranean with olive tapenade, soy sausage, and sun-dried tomatoes. If you’re more of a meat eater this hip spot has you covered with the Meatallica pizza, which comes with meatballs, sausage, pepperoni, and bacon.

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7. Tenuta's Italian Restaurant 2995 S Clement Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207 (Bay View)

This romantic Italian restaurant, known for pasta and an extensive wine list, also serves delicious pizza. The Diavola is an interesting mix of toppings with pepperoni, giardiniera peppers, cream cheese, and pineapple for a sweet/hot combination. It’s creamy, a little meaty, and definitely wakes up your taste buds.

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8. Little DeMarinis Pizza 2860 S Kinnickinnic Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53207 (Bay View)

Little DeMarinis Pizza keeps it all in the family by passing down classic Italian recipes through generations. Large pizzas come in a rectangular pan with a distinctive crust that rolls up the sides of the pan. This old school spot is an ode to the original family recipes with an array of pizza toppings, and vegan options as well.

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9. Pizzeria Scotty 9809 W Oklahoma Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53227

Scotty’s makes a number of different kinds of pizza, from thin and crispy, to stuffed pizza with sauce on the top. The sweet spot seems to be in the middle, though, with the pan pizza. It’s a thick, doughy crust with a nice crunch on the bottom, topped with a double helping of cheese. This spot also serves casual Italian favorites like mozzarella sticks, garlic bread, and a variety of chicken wings.

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10. Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co 2920 S Kinnickinnic Ave, Bay View (& other locations), WI 53207 (Bay View)

Born in 1999, Anodyne Coffee Roasting Co. is a cool, rustic and spacious coffee shop that also serves wood-fired oven pizza. Using a huge Ferrara wood-burning pizza oven that was imported from Italy, this bad boy cooks pizzas in just a minute or two, in true Southern Italian style. Pair your slice with a shot of espresso or a glass of wine.

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11. Ned's Pizza 3246 S 27th St, Milwaukee, WI 53215

A south-side staple since1969, Ned's serves up the thin crust, square cut pies that Milwaukeeans love. They're heavy on the pizza sauce -- no dry pies here -- and cheese, making for a pizza that's almost gooey as you pull off a slice. The dining area is small, but they do have delivery and takeout options.

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12. Hup's Pizza 5400 W Hampton Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53218

This tiny spot, painted bright red and green, pumps out some of the best pizza in the city. The menu is small and you won't find any fancy toppings here; Hup's serves up hearty and simple pie that have been a neighborhood favorite for decades. We suggest getting the Italian sausage, which is bold with fennel, and makes a perfect pizza topper.

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13. Wy'east Pizza 5601 W Vliet St, Milwaukee, WI 53208

The owners of Wy'east moved to Milwaukee from Portland where they operated a popular pizza truck. Those same pizzas have found a permanent home here with a small dining room on Vliet St, where pizzas are cooked quickly, in a super-hot, wood-fired oven on dough that's had an extra-long fermentation time, which leads to better flavor and texture.

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14. Maria's Pizzaria 5025 W Forest Home Ave, Milwaukee, WI 53219

If you've ever envisioned an abundance of pizza, you can literally see your dreams come true at Maria's Pizzaria, where the pizza overflows off the sheeter pan. This old-school neighborhood spot is charmingly decorated with Christmas lights, and the bouffant hairdos of the senior waitstaff add to the pizzerias character.

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15. Marco's Pizza 6234 S 27th St, Milwaukee, WI 53221

There’s so much cheese and toppings on the pizzas at Marco’s that the middle slices can barely stand up to the weight. The thin crust is a bit thicker and more substantial than most places, and each pie has a surplus of cheese. The special, as usual, is the standard sausage, mushroom, and onion combination, on top of sweet pizza sauce.

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