Chow Down In Milwaukee

Restaurant Reviews

Paulie's Pizzeria

In my eternal quest for great pizza I decided to take my Margie on a date to the new Uncle Paulie’s Brick Oven Pizzeria. Located on 76th street just north of Layton Ave in the location of the old Mad Dog Saloon. Owned by Jack Riccobono along with his brother Dominic and business partner Scott Williams this place has been dramatically redone. From the moment you enter the establishment it is certain the look of Mad Dog Saloon is thankfully gone. The wall is adorned with a giant sign that says In Pizza We Crust. I found it to be a charming introduction. Little did I know this was just the beginning. Upon entering the restaurant, we were greeted with the sounds of Dean Martin’s rendition of “Mr. Wonderful”. It never ceases to amaze me how many restaurants spend a great deal of money to create a certain feel and then ruin it by having top 40 radio music playing. Uncle Paulie’s got this one right.

We were greeted right away by a friendly young lady who I assumed to be the hostess. She showed us to one of the many tables in the main dining area. If you were a patron of Mad Dog, you will notice the area reduced by a third. We were informed this was to make way for a private dining hall that is also used for additional seating during the weekend. That room was separated by a sliding rustic door. The dining room had a modern feel with the furniture and red accent lighting. It was complimented by several rustic accents. It seems Uncle Paulie’s got the ambience right as well.

What makes Uncle Paulie’s Brick Oven Pizzeria different is the enormous rotating brick pizza oven. It is so large that twenty feet of wall had to be knocked down just to have it brought inside. The floor had to be reinforced with steel beams that are also used on NASA launch pads. It was imported directly from Italy. What makes this oven so special is that it can eliminate hot spots. By doing so they can cook their pizza perfectly and give the crust a special taste and texture. The oven can reach 1000 degrees which should allow them to cook a pizza in roughly 90 seconds.

Only minutes after we were seated we discovered the same lady who sat us was also to be our server. Her name was Kelly M. and despite having to hold down both positions she was very helpful and attentive. Our first challenge for Kelly was helping us in choosing our appetizer. We were stuck between Uncle Paulie’s portabella fries, which were sliced portabella mushrooms with tempura breading deep-fried and served with marinara. Or the Mushroom Arancini which was mushroom risotto stuffed with mozzarella cheese lightly breaded and fried also served with marinara. We chose the former.

The word ‘fries’ might have been a bit misleading. When they arrived at our table there were eight to a plate. These were about twice the thickness of your average steak fry. Being a big fan of portabella mushrooms, I was excited to dig in. We did have to wait for a few minutes as they were served very hot. Which I enjoyed because it let me know my food had come to me shortly after it had been prepared. The presentation was nice on the plate which only increased my excitement to try this dish. After slicing one in half and waiting for it to cool I dipped in sauce and took a bite. I must confess being a bit let down. The Marinara was good, but tame. It could have used a little more seasoning. The greasiness of the batter overpowered the flavor of the mushroom, although the texture was very good. I would recommend this dish if you had at least four people and did not mind rich and greasy appetizers. For the two of us it was a bit much. Next time we will go with the risotto.

We ordered the Mediterranean Pizza which had tomato, artichoke, kalamata olives, red onion, feta cheese and we also chose to add sausage to it. The restaurant was not very busy when we dinned, but our pizza took far longer than the three to four minutes they advertise it takes to cook. In fact, we waited well over fifteen minutes. When Kelly did return with our pizza and apologized for the wait we were pleasantly surprised. We were told their pizzas had a thinner crust, but it turned out to be almost more of a thin crust with a thicker border. Personally, Margie and I prefer a more pan style crust, but this looked very promising. The look of the pizza was delightful. Plenty of toppings and they looked fresh and recognizable. We both plated a piece and prepared to dig in. As we picked up our pizza we found the crust to be rather undone in the middle. So much so that when you picked up the pizza the toppings slid right off. After placing them back on the pizza we began to sample this delicious looking sauce pie. I would have to say the pizza sauce, much like the marinara lacked flavor. It tasted more like regular tomato sauce. The toppings, however, were delightful. The closer we got to the edge of the crust, the crispier it became. More of what you would expect from a brick oven. With a little seasoning added to the sauce and a little crispier crust this could have really been one amazing pizza. Uncle Paulie’s is very close on this one.

Throughout our time dining there Kelly made sure to keep checking on us as well as all the other tables. At the end of the meal we were served two mini cannoli. They had a thick crust were not too sweet and done to perfection. It was a very nice touch to end the meal. Again, Kelly made sure we had our to go containers we needed and was very pleasant to the end.

Uncle Paulie’s Brick Oven Pizzeria does a lot of things right. Their atmosphere and service are outstanding. Even having a Dean Martin movie playing on one of the televisions and the Brewer game on the other. Their cannoli are outstanding. They have an extensive beer and wine list to choose from as well as great cocktail options. Given they have only been open six weeks and are surely ironing out some wrinkles, I look forward to returning.


Written By: Neil Panosian


Go Back


Blog Search