Jeffrey Merlot
Dining with Mr. M

Pizza Man is back!

After giving Pizza Man some time to settle in, Mr. M drops by to discover it's just like the good old days, and brings an Italian recipe of his own along for the ride.

By - Oct 6th, 2013 12:28 am
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Pizza Man signWe wanted to let the new Pizza Man settle in for a little while before checking out its new location at 2597 N. Downer Avenue, just a hop and a skip away from its old, pre-fire address on North Avenue on Milwaukee’s East Side.

A lot of the burned-down restaurant’s interior feels largely recreated at this new location. The front door, for example, again has the rope-and-sandbag weight mechanism aiding its opening and closing. The main bar located on the first floor looks a lot like the old one. And the booths also very closely resemble those of the original venue. Upstairs, a gorgeous wine-bottle chandelier welcomes you to another full bar, a lot more interior dining tables and something the old location did not have: A rooftop, outdoor dining terrace (unfortunately out of commission when we visited, due to inclement weather). The bathrooms rather contrast the restaurant’s recreated, vintage décor, with sleek and modern black porcelain.

Pizza Man lower barBut how well are they recreating the pizza and other food served at the original restaurant? Our answer: “On the money!”

Those of you who remember the delicious, butter-saturated garlic bread should be turning cartwheels because it’s back and just as good as ever. We shared the chop salad that comes with six pieces of the famous, old Pizza Man garlic bread for $13. The chop salad is composed of everything but the kitchen sink – various kinds of green lettuce, baby plumb tomatoes, red onion slices, green and black olives, diced mozzarella, what is either thin strips of ham or mortadella (“bologna”), sliced hearts of palm, celery chunks, sliced yellow hot pepper and more drizzled with Chopped salad and garlic bread-pizza mana light Italian vinaigrette. Then we had a medium (14”) thin-crust pizza. We ordered the basic one with cheese and tomato sauce and added pepperoni, mushrooms and green-olive slices at a total cost of $21.50. As usual, we ordered too much and took half of the pizza home with us. It was just as we remembered it at the old place. We savored a lovely California Pinot Noir with it for $9.75 per glass.

Lots of other options, besides the famous thin-crust pizza, are on the menu. An array of pasta dishes may be had for between $10 and $15. Dinner entrees include a rack of ribs, classic Parmigiana, chicken Marsala, veal Milanese and, among others, grilled salmon, which range in price between $14 and $19.  Upon arrival, the owner advised us that the deep-dish pizza would be back in about three weeks.

Famous thin-crust pizza at Pizza manDessert is Italian gelato or what our waiter described as “life-altering” or “life-changing” tiramisu. We were so full that we had to pass.

Yes, people, Pizza Man is back!

Pizza Man
2597 N. Downer Ave.
Tel.: (414) 272-1745
Major credit cards accepted.


Mr. M’s Chicken Marsala Recipe for Two

This is a classic, simple Italian-American dish created by Italians in the U.S.A.

PizzaMan-Bottle chandelierIngredients:

2 skinless, boneless chicken breast “supremes” (halves) – pounded 1/4 inch thick
8 ounces fresh crimini, porcini or other mushrooms, sliced
3 heaping tablespoons all-purpose flour for coating
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly-ground, black pepper
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper or red-pepper flakes
1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
3 tablespoons butter
6 tablespoons sweet Marsala wine (make sure it’s imported from Sicily!)
1/2 cup chicken stock/broth


Make sure the chicken cutlets are very thin; pound them down to about ¼” thickness between two sheets of wax or parchment paper using a meat mallet or long side of a rolling pin. I butterfly each supreme by carefully gliding my knife through the thickest part straight through the narrow ends so as to cut each horizontally into two, flat scaloppini. Then I only have to pound down the thicker ends.

In a small, paper bag or shallow dish or bowl, mix together the flour, salt, pepper and spices/herbs. Coat chicken pieces in flour mixture by either shaking well in the sealed paper bag or by simply dredging them through the mixture on a shallow plate (I prefer the bag-shaking method).  In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon the butter over medium-high heat. Place the chicken in the pan, and lightly brown on both sides. Transfer browned chicken to a plate and set aside.

Add another tablespoon butter to the pan and add the mushrooms. Season the mushrooms with a sprinkling of more salt and pepper and sauté until golden and their liquid is given off. Pour in the wine and bring to a boil; deglaze pan with the wine. When the wine is reduced by half, add in the broth and cook until the sauce has reduced by one-third to an half, just until thickened slightly.

Lower the heat to low, return the chicken to the pan, cover and simmer 10 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear. Swirl in the remaining butter and check/adjust seasoning.

Serve immediately – goes great over fettuccini pasta (remember, you only need to boil two ounces of pasta per person). I like to boil the pasta until al dente, then finish it in the pan with the chicken.

0 thoughts on “Dining with Mr. M: Pizza Man is back!”

  1. Anonymous says:

    Does Pizza Man still have an entrance with curved bricks? And a bar with all the liquers in the world?

  2. Anonymous says:

    No more arched entrance, but it looked like they still serve all the liqueurs in the world.

  3. Anonymous says:

    tell me, where do I buy Plumb tomatoes? or is it “plum?”

  4. Anonymous says:

    It’s “plum” tomato, and there is a variety of them. You can find them fresh at most supermarkets where they’re usually labeled “Roma” tomatoes. But I think the best are the San Marzano tomatoes imported from Italy in cans.

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