If you can do at least one meal there, Frank's Pizza Palace is highly recommended. I was in Appleton last October and just took a chance when I drove by (never heard of it). It was right out of a Chicago neighborhood. It's very similar to one of my all-time favorites - Marie's. I've come to realize that most pizzerias still around from the 1950's have all been good no matter where I am having one at!
Frank's - since 1955.
Marie's - since the late 1940's.
Zaffiro's (Milwaukee) - since 1954.
Q's Pizza - since 1959.
Wells Brothers (Racine) - since 1921 (pizza a little later)
If you are a fan of super thin crust, tavern style pizza, with great sausage, this is right up your alley.
Don't forget about Maria's (Milwaukee) Since 1957.
Maria's has been on my must try list for years since reading about it on here. I finally made it over there last night and you can put another one on the board for ReneG. The pizza and atmosphere were both right up there with the best I have had and experienced in my lifetime quest for the perfect extra thin and crispy pizza pie in a time honered tavern thats served generations of families. Zaffiro's was always my favorite pizza and then I found Well's Brothers...well now I got Maria's. The truth is all three are amazing and along with Q's and Vito & Nicks they make up my starting five of best pizza parlors in the Midwest. I have not been to Frank's in Appleton but its at he top of my list.
Story behind Maria's. Gotta love the spots with a history.
I'd hate to say it and some might call it blasphemy but the state of WI might have us beat in pizza. I'm sure there was a time when these little tavern style joints that use houses were abundant in Chicago but theres not many good ones left anymore. Since Milwaukee and other parts of WI haven't been totally taken over by corporate America and the Kitschy bars they still have quite a few amazing pizza parlors. Maria's, Zaffiro's and Well's Brothers are proof of this.
I have said before that I am a fan of basically tavern style only. I'll eat other styles of pizza and enjoy them but none have me wanting them and needing them like a top notch tavern style pie does. Important factors in achieving a sublime pie include the feeling of an old school tavern. you know like the old family picture, old tables and chairs, old school bar and of course those red table cloths and just some character that makes it unique-it helps to have been around since the '50's. Maria's succeeded at this better than any tavern I've been to. The only difference in ReneGs original description was it was flooded with Brewers memorabilia for summertime baseball and 4th of July decorations. Its not too far from the Brewers stadium (5 minute drive) if you ever head to a game-Maria's is the ideal place to eat before or after with a group.
The dining room at Maria's
Next parts that are the most important is the actual pie. Real Italian sausage chunks laced with flavor. Check to that, when you first walk in you can see the bucket of fresh sausage they use and its some of the best I've had flavor wise and they sure don't skimp on it. Its important that the pie is actually thin-check. I cant say for sure b/c I haven't measured every one but Maria's was as thin as i can remember. Was it crispy? oh yes, no joke an edge piece I ate this morning was still crunchy, loved it. Not only that though-the middle pieces were as good as the edge ones and I've never experienced that before. On top of all this they have a signature prep for their tavern pie. If you order a large in comes out as a square and the crust always overlaps the trey its served on. The crust was also perfect in my book. Im getting real hungry again thinking about it so Ill stop talking and show y'all the pictures...here you go.
large is a must...youll really want leftovers
a signature of Maria's is the pie is always too big for the trey
I'll put this up there with the best pizza in America
Thanks again to ReneG and LTH for another five star find in the roadfood world. If you like Zaffiro's, Well's Brother's, Q's, Pat's, Vito & Nicks, Marie's and the rest of them then give this place a try. Its still in the family as we were served by Maria's daughter Bonnie and she was as nice and helpful as could be. Talk about a deal a large pie is about 16 dollars. Its already an old favorite of mine.
5025 W Forest Home Ave
Milwaukee, WI 53219-4505