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  • Wells Brothers - Tavern Thin Across the Border

    Post #1 - February 13th, 2015, 9:43 am
    Post #1 - February 13th, 2015, 9:43 am Post #1 - February 13th, 2015, 9:43 am
    It was bound to happen at some point. The GNR nomination of a restaurant in Wisconsin that is. Why nominate a place out of state? First and foremost because it's worthy but also because to-date I believe LTH is the best resource on the internet for finding places to eat in Wisconsin. After all this time the database is near endless and with Wells Brothers being in Racine it's basically a suburb of the Northern Chicago suburbs and there's a nice contingency of LTH posters from around that way. Many of us travel Wisconsin and some have second homes there so I don't think it's a stretch to nominate a place that serves what I consider to be the best pizza in the country and is located just across the IL/WI border. Of course opinions are like DNA and everyone has some so I'll start off with some quotes from the dedicated Wells Brothers thread.

    Image

    Da Beef wrote:I'm not going to sit here and try and come up with some fancy words to describe this pizza. It was amazing. I repeat amazing.


    Sweet Willie wrote:After trying Wells Brother's, I now have a new thin crust favorite north of the border. The crust is ultra thin & crispy, and the sauce, as Fishie notes is good, but I did like the toppings, one especially to to note was mushrooms, at Zaffiro's they are canned but at Wells Bros they are fresh.


    Ram4 wrote:It was paper thin perfection. Easily one of the best pizzas I've had.


    stevez wrote:I finally made it up to Wells Brothers...this pizza took its rightful place along with Marie's, Vito & Nick's and Zaffiro's among the pantheon of great tavern style thin crust pizzas.


    G Wiv wrote:Well's is one of the friendlier places I've been in years, family run, with previous generations of owners on hand, not to mention regulars who have been enjoying Well's for decades.

    Anyone who is a fan of thin crust pizza should run, not walk, to Well's Brothers in Racine. Don't make the same mistake as me and wait 8-years.


    Cathy2 wrote:Pizza arrived pretty quickly to the table. A quick visual inspection to see sausage, onion and mushroom visible without too much sauce or cheese. I have come to appreciate the minimalist approach to thin pizza to help it retain its crunch. First bite was heaven with a very satisfying crunch. Dave148's eyes really lit up with appreciation of the crust's texture, too. The whole experience of eating this pizza was better than I ever expected.


    jhawk1 wrote:My wife and I and our 2 year old stopped by Wednesday for lunch on our way up to Milwaukee for a 2 day eating and swimming adventure. We arrived around 1:30 just as the lunch rush was over. We had a sausage and mushroom pie and man was it tasty! We loved the place...This will be a regular stop on our rotation on our trips up North. No need to stop at Brat Stop on the way up AND back!!


    jimswside wrote:This pizza was fantastic..., largest size, sausage & garlic, well done. As good, and perhaps better than the best pizza I have had @ Vito & Nicks(a pizza @ Lemont bowling alley location as a matter of fact). Crisp crust, char on the edges, great sausage, etc.


    Rene G wrote:I've long been a fan of Vito & Nick's, my favorite tavern-style pizza in Chicago. It pains me to say it but Wells Bros is clearly superior, especially since V&N developed consistency problems in the past few years. In three visits to Wells I haven't had anything other than a perfectly executed pizza.


    Touching on Rene G's words and my quote about it being the best pizza pie in the country. I say the former because tavern-thin is my favorite style of pizza having grown up on it. Like Peter it can be painful to admit that my favorite place for the preferred Chicagoan style of pizza is found in Wisconsin but it's just that good. In my mind it has everything going for it that makes a tavern style pizza great. Extra thin and cut in squares with cracker crispy edges and a cornmeal crusted bottom topped with minimal sauce and a fantastic fennel laced sausage.

    Image
    Large Sausage and Onion

    I understand if this isn't your style but for those of us who like it, this place nails it. Of course it takes more than a good pizza to get a GNR. Wells Brothers has character. Open since the 20's and serving pizza since the 50's is quite remarkable as is, it's even more so when you consider it's still in the same family. It's a place where you can find a group celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary in the dining room or a lonely man looking for another beer at the bar. It's got character and the main trait is friendliness. The attention to detail in the pizza can be tasted in other dishes such as the homemade soups, hand battered cheese curds, Wednesday night lasagna and a more than respectable Friday Fish Fry featuring Lake Perch and Walleye. Oh and pie. Spotted Cow and other Wisconsin brewed beers on tap are always cold and always bringing a smile to my face when I get the check back. Wells Brothers, Ti amo!

    Wells Brothers
    2148 Mead St
    Racine, WI 53403
    (262) 632-4408
  • Post #2 - February 13th, 2015, 9:49 am
    Post #2 - February 13th, 2015, 9:49 am Post #2 - February 13th, 2015, 9:49 am
    HI,

    There was a Wisconsin GNR nomination last cycle: Coffee Pot, which did not succeed.

    I deferred from Wells Brothers and Frank's Diner for the same reason: it already has a huge following and national recognition. I like giving props to the little guys who don't always catch the attention and yet offer great food.

    Nonetheless, I like Wells Brothers tremendously. A friend believes they are more consistent than Vito and Nick's. It is easier for me to reach Well's than Vito and Nick's.

    I heartily offer my support.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #3 - February 13th, 2015, 9:55 am
    Post #3 - February 13th, 2015, 9:55 am Post #3 - February 13th, 2015, 9:55 am
    Cathy2 wrote:HI,

    There was a Wisconsin GNR nomination last cycle: Coffee Pot, which did not succeed.

    I deferred from Wells Brothers and Frank's Diner for the same reason: it already has a huge following and national recognition. I like giving props to the little guys who don't always catch the attention and yet offer great food.

    Nonetheless, I like Wells Brothers tremendously. A friend believes they are more consistent than Vito and Nick's. It is easier for me to reach Well's than Vito and Nick's.

    I heartily offer my support.

    Regards,


    Yes I forgot about Coffee Pot. I disagree about national recognition though. They were listed in an article back in the 90's. To the best of my knowledge they've never been on Food Network, not on Roadfood, never featured in Saveur etc... It does have a huge following on this board though, thus the nomination.
  • Post #4 - February 13th, 2015, 10:27 am
    Post #4 - February 13th, 2015, 10:27 am Post #4 - February 13th, 2015, 10:27 am
    Da Beef wrote:Yes I forgot about Coffee Pot. I disagree about national recognition though. They were listed in an article back in the 90's. To the best of my knowledge they've never been on Food Network, not on Roadfood, never featured in Saveur etc... It does have a huge following on this board though, thus the nomination.

    First, this is a great nomination, which I fully support. I've only been there 3 times but the pizzas are as memorable for me as the ones being put out at Vito & Nick's.

    Personally, I also agree about national recognition being a non-factor in a general sense. For me, that doesn't matter. If a place is cranking out great, distinctive food and the folks who own it, manage it and work there do it with a sense of pride and gusto, that's more than enough for me. In the end, I want our list to be filled with nothing but great places. If a portion of them are already known to some degree that doesn't diminish the GNR list in the least. When you consider the vast number of travel/food programs on television and internet these days, it seems like just about everyone's going get a mention at some point. If a place that's somewhat known also appears on our list, that's a good indicator that it's actually a quality place and not just known because some TV producer happened to learn about it (here or elsewhere). Again, just my personal opinion about the issue.

    =R=
    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French
  • Post #5 - February 13th, 2015, 11:07 am
    Post #5 - February 13th, 2015, 11:07 am Post #5 - February 13th, 2015, 11:07 am
    Hi,

    We all make our choices for a variety of reasons, I prefer to highlight those not generally known.

    I knew of Wells Brothers for many years, though I never quite knew where it was. Ironically, I was within a block or more many, many times without realizing it. Once you know where it is, finding it is not a problem.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #6 - February 13th, 2015, 11:34 am
    Post #6 - February 13th, 2015, 11:34 am Post #6 - February 13th, 2015, 11:34 am
    I have only eaten at Wells Bros. a handfull of times, but their pizza is one of my favorites. I also dig their lake perch quite a bit - pretty sure I have always gone with perch and pizza on my visits.

    I consume minimal food media, especially Chicago food media, so I never heard of Wells Bros. until I read about it here on LTH. Glad I did.

    Great nomination.
    R.I.P. jimswside - 5/2/16



    @GrubSeeker
  • Post #7 - February 13th, 2015, 2:15 pm
    Post #7 - February 13th, 2015, 2:15 pm Post #7 - February 13th, 2015, 2:15 pm
    And now I need to travel. Anyone organizing a meal here?
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #8 - February 13th, 2015, 3:08 pm
    Post #8 - February 13th, 2015, 3:08 pm Post #8 - February 13th, 2015, 3:08 pm
    I like Wells Brothers pizza very much and would love to go there again. If anyone does try to organize a group, could I suggest a Saturday, given the driving distance? (Even for me in Lake County, it's still an hour north.) They're closed Sundays and Mondays.
    "I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."
  • Post #9 - February 13th, 2015, 3:28 pm
    Post #9 - February 13th, 2015, 3:28 pm Post #9 - February 13th, 2015, 3:28 pm
    I've never been and would love to go as well--let's pick a date!
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #10 - February 13th, 2015, 11:32 pm
    Post #10 - February 13th, 2015, 11:32 pm Post #10 - February 13th, 2015, 11:32 pm
    Ditto to wanting to try this place. I'd make the trip.
  • Post #11 - February 18th, 2015, 8:24 am
    Post #11 - February 18th, 2015, 8:24 am Post #11 - February 18th, 2015, 8:24 am
    Ask and ye shall receive - viewtopic.php?f=19&t=41805
    "Sandwiches are wonderful. You don't need a spoon or a plate!"
    Paul Lynde
  • Post #12 - February 18th, 2015, 5:24 pm
    Post #12 - February 18th, 2015, 5:24 pm Post #12 - February 18th, 2015, 5:24 pm
    This is a fantastic nomination and long overdue. Where else can you get world class tavern style pizza, homemade pie and possibly witness the full Albert!

    Wells Brothers Pizza for GNR? Yes Yes Yes
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #13 - March 7th, 2015, 8:17 pm
    Post #13 - March 7th, 2015, 8:17 pm Post #13 - March 7th, 2015, 8:17 pm
    A bunch of us went to Wells Brothers for lunch today.

    Sausage and Hot Giardiniera Pizza
    Image

    You can read about our meal here, but if the Full Albert treatment weren't enough to convince you that Wells Brothers is a neighborhood joint, today's encounter will. Wells Brothers was doing a pretty brisk business this afternoon. Not full up, but there weren't very many tables left, yet a group of old timers were hanging out around one of the round tables playing some furious cribbage like it was a lonely Tuesday afternoon; met with nothing but smiles from the staff. They've probably been playing at that table since the 50's.

    "High Stakes" Cribbage
    Image

    I know I already endorsed this nomination, but this is just one more reason that this place deserves the award.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #14 - March 7th, 2015, 8:27 pm
    Post #14 - March 7th, 2015, 8:27 pm Post #14 - March 7th, 2015, 8:27 pm
    Loved it--definitely a GNR. Can't believe it took me this long to get there. Old school delicious! Thanks to Dave for setting it up!!
    "Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit; wisdom is not putting it in a fruit salad." Miles Kington
  • Post #15 - March 8th, 2015, 11:29 pm
    Post #15 - March 8th, 2015, 11:29 pm Post #15 - March 8th, 2015, 11:29 pm
    I've been going here for a few years now thanks to Kenosha friends and yesterdays meal was everything a GNR should be. The best thin crust around, homemade pies and lots of wonderful locals enjoying their afternoon and playing cribbage, I got a warm feeling just being there.
    For what we choose is what we are. He should not miss this second opportunity to re-create himself with food. Jim Crace "The Devil's Larder"
  • Post #16 - March 11th, 2015, 8:05 am
    Post #16 - March 11th, 2015, 8:05 am Post #16 - March 11th, 2015, 8:05 am
    Wells Brothers for GNR, yes Absolutly!

    Love the place, people, pizza, pretty much everything about Wells screams old school love and apreciation for each and every person who has the good fortune to walk through the door.

    Wells Brothers, Count me a Fan!
    Sauce on the side, always, implied, axiomatic..........never a doubt, BBQ sauce without.

    Low & Slow
  • Post #17 - March 15th, 2015, 10:31 am
    Post #17 - March 15th, 2015, 10:31 am Post #17 - March 15th, 2015, 10:31 am
    Family and I drove 90 minutes last night to try this place out. I called earlier in the day and made a reservation, one thing I can't stress enough for a Saturday night as the place was packed.

    We ordered a medium with Sausage and then another medium with Sausage and Giardiniera and all of us couldn't have been more blown away. Perfect crust, no soggy middles. We've been to Vito & Nicks in the city so we had something to compare it with. The wife said she'd come back again and was well worth the drive. So a nod in favor to Wells was the consensus on our drive back.

    Only miscue on service was the waitress bringing the wrong beer to the table. She apologized, said these were on the house and brought back the correct ones.

    For sure a GNR.
    It's nice to be important but it's more important to be nice......that's what people will remember.

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