Michael Holloway
Now Serving

Big Trouble At Pizza Man

Leaky pipes and staff walkout. Plus: a Lebanese popup, Dino's returns, and goodbye Los Paisa.

By - Sep 27th, 2021 02:51 pm
Pizza Man. Photo by Joey Grihalva.

Pizza Man. Photo by Joey Grihalva.

These are tumultuous times at Pizza Man. The East Side restaurant’s leaking water pipes have caused problems for the downstairs Henry’s bar for years. And staff members at Pizza Man staged a walkout in protest of the situation only to be fired. Matt Wild has the full story:

On Friday afternoon, the East Side location of Pizza Man (2597 N. Downer Ave.) posted a message to social media saying that the restaurant would be “open for carryout and delivery only.” But the reason for that limited service was much more complicated—and much more soggier—than the local pizza staple let on…

We stopped by Henry’s Friday night and discovered a tale of two establishments. On one side (Henry’s), we found a bar that had been putting up with leaks from its neighbor for years. On the other side (Pizza Man), we found a group of about eight employees that had refused to work hours earlier because of those leaks. Those employees were now former employees, and they had stopped by Henry’s in a show of solidarity with the beleaguered bar.

Henry’s, in turn, was treating them to a round of shots…

Lebanese Pop-up Coming to 3rd Street Market Hall

A Middle Eastern concept that started as a pop-up last spring will have a residency at the soon-to-be-open 3rd Street Market Hall. Middle East Side focuses on cuisine hailing from countries in the Eastern Mediterranean, including housemade man’oushe sandwiches, harra frites and beer-battered halloumi cheese served with za’atar ranch sauce. Lori Fredrich reports:

Specials are also expected to make appearances (likely on the weekends) including items like lamb merguez sausage served on samoon (an Iraqi style bread) with cabbage slaw, pomegranate, lemon and harra sauce.

Once open, Middle East Side will offer lunch and dinner with carry-out and delivery. Once the 3rd Street Market Hall business is established, (Chef John) Chandler says he expects to launch catering services. If all goes well, he says he plans to launch a Middle East Side food truck as well, potentially as soon as next summer.

“It’s going to be so exciting to be part of this new chapter in Milwaukee,” Chandler says.

The Return of Dino’s

Dino’s in Riverwest served the neighborhood for 50 years until it closed in 2019, meaning that fans of the restaurant would only get to taste the delicious wings, pizza and fish fry that the spot was known for in their memories. However, local musicians Mike Brumm and Dan Budziszewski have partnered up in an effort to bring back Dino’s — with new food and drink menus (that will also retain some of the fan favorites) as well as an updated space. Dino’s is set to open sometime in October, with proposed hours being Tuesday through Friday from 4 p.m. to midnight; Saturday from noon to midnight and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Urban Milwaukee reports:

The food menu itself will be smaller this time around, putting an emphasis on elevated street food. The drink menu will be curated by Unspoken Services, a menu consultation service run by local musician and bartender Tyler Salzbrun.

… fan favorites like the spaghetti, pizza and chicken wings will return — either as a menu item or a daily special. A hypothetical bare-bones menu proposal on an application to the city additionally lists main dishes like veggie burritos and a fish fry. Brunch will return as well, and the restaurant will also have a kid-friendly menu with items like hot dogs and mac and cheese…

… live music will also be a returning aspect to Dino’s. Brumm plans on having bands performing at the restaurant regularly. He also ensures that Dino’s will be a great spot to catch a sports game.

Now Closing: Los Paisa Says Goodbye

A longtime Bayside staple is closing its doors for good after 14 years of slinging tacos and tequila. Los Paisa, at 600 W. Brown Deer Rd., is shutting down as a result of redevelopment of the area — the restaurant’s building has been sold, and will eventually be torn and down and replaced. Owner Manalo Torres hints that he will open a new restaurant in a different location but still in Milwaukee at a future date. Fredrich reports:

“For me personally, it’s sad to see an historic building torn down,” (Torres) says. “Back in the 1960s it was a speakeasy. And I’ve heard stories from so many people who came here then and have so many fond memories that they made here.”

Torres, who first came to Milwaukee in 2007 to visit his brother, says he could never have predicted that he’d be in Milwaukee today.

“It’s difficult to express these things,” he says… “We learned so many things during the pandemic, and it reminds me that there is hope. Just to see so many faces, who came to get curbside from us – and who learned right along with us  – it’s a very good feeling. And we are very grateful.”

Splash Studio Closes, Lives on Through Virtual Format

Splash Studio, the drink-and-paint bar opened by the Bars & Recreation tavern group that also owns Axe MKE and Nine Below, has closed its brick-and-mortar location on the East Side. Instead, the bar now offers virtual and take-home experiences, where participants can follow along with an instructional video while they drink from the comfort of their own homes. The building is now currently up for lease. Annie Mattea reports:

The bar now offers take and make kits on its website, which allow customers to purchase materials to create works of art and follow along with a video instructor. The company also has virtual sessions where customers can paint along over Zoom.

… Co-owner Marla Poytinger said there are plans in the works for Splash Studio that will be revealed soon. Closing Splash Studio and her other businesses during the pandemic was scary, she said. But it forced the company to innovate, becoming “a gift that keeps on giving.”

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2 thoughts on “Now Serving: Big Trouble At Pizza Man”

  1. GodzillakingMKE says:

    I think F Street hospitality that owns it has to have terrible management. The management at that location must be a holes. The workers should unionize.

  2. Trmott says:

    I agree with GodzillakingMKE (and am awed by that nickname). Except for the advice about unionizing. Having worked in and around labor relations, my advice would be to skip the hassle and conflict of union organizing and walk down the street with a resume and references to an establishment having a good employee relations reputation. A terrible place to work will change little by getting a union. And in some cases, it might just lock the door and call it quits altogether. This is a “golden” time for people who want to make a career/job move.

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