Originators of the deep dish pizza, Rudy Malnati brings family’s famous nationally renowned Chicago pizza traditions to Milwaukee; Voted #1 thin-crust pizza by Oprah Winfrey
Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) and Rudy Malnati Jr. announced the famous Chicago deep dish pizza restaurant, Pizano’s Pizza & Pasta, will open on the first floor of the MSOE Tower Apartments, located at 1150 N. Water Street, in late spring 2015. Malnati owns six Pizano’s locations in Illinois and Rudy’s Bar and Grille in Chicago. This will be the company’s first Wisconsin Pizano’s location.
The family’s pizza history dates back to 1943 when Rudy Malnati Sr. opened the first Pizzeria Uno in Chicago and founded the “Deep Dish Pizza,” an innovative creation that made a meal of pizza. Rudy Malnati Jr., son of Rudy Malnati Sr. and brother of Lou Malnati, opened his first Pizano’s in 1991, keeping the family legacy and deep-dish pizza tradition alive. Pizano’s pizza has received numerous national recognitions, voted #1 thin-crust pizza by Oprah Winfrey, named one of the nation’s top by USA Today, ranked #4 on a national list of America’s 35 Best Pizzas by The Daily Meal and was featured on the Today Show as one of Chicago’s best.
“I am excited to bring my family recipes and Italian traditions to Milwaukee for the first time,” said Malnati “Our first Wisconsin location will feature our famous gourmet deep dish pizzas, our award-winning thin crust pizzas and other signature menu items. Pizano’s Pizza is looking forward to establishing itself here in Milwaukee and sharing the Pizano’s experience with students, residents and businesses in the surrounding area.”
The 8,500 square-foot restaurant will be located in the vacant retail space of the 14-story MSOE apartment building. MSOE purchased the building in 2013 and completed the first phase of construction in time for students to move in for the 2014-15 academic year. There are 102 studio and one- and two-bedroom apartments to meet the demand of MSOE’s growing student population. The second phase of construction to finish the upper floors will be completed in spring 2015.
“The Tower Apartments add more life to downtown Milwaukee,” said Dr. Hermann Viets, MSOE president. “We’ve turned a blighted property into a vibrant location, and we are pleased to have Pizano’s Pizza on campus. Not only will it be popular among our students, downtown visitors are looking forward to authentic Italian cuisine in the heart of the city.”
Pizano’s Pizza & Pasta will seat approximately 260 guests and plans include an outdoor seating area during the warmer months. Pending city approval, a full-service, U-shaped bar will serve as a focal point. A glass wall will separate the bar from the seating area and the restaurant will feature a separate takeout area where individuals and students can pick-up menu items to go or pizza by the slice. The concept will include sports memorabilia and décor with multiple large screen TVs, in a warm, family-friendly environment.
Adding to the excitement and nightlife on Water Street, Malnati said Pizano’s Pizza & Pasta will be another great location for watching the latest sporting events while enjoying a beer, cocktail, authentic, high-quality Italian fare, sandwiches and burgers. “At Pizano’s, we want to create a warm, inviting atmosphere built on great service and food – a place you will want to come back to. This is an exciting day for us as we bring our traditions of family, friendship and great food to Milwaukee.”
With Pizano’s locations in the Loop, State Street, Dearborn, Division, Lincoln Avenue and Glenview, Ill., the family recipe is known to produce the most addictive thin crust in Chicago, featuring irresistible caramelized edges. Famous deep dish pizzas, which allow 30 minutes for preparation, include a variety of restaurant specials such as the ‘Hey Hey’ Jack Brickhouse Special featuring sausage and mushroom, Rudy’s Special featuring cheese, sausage, mushroom, onion and green pepper, Vegetarian Special and Mark’s Special featuring sliced tomatoes, basil and fresh garlic. Nine-inch gluten-free thin-crust pizzas are also available.
In addition to pizza, Pizano’s Pizza & Pasta offers traditional Italian dishes and pastas such as chicken parmesan, chicken marsala, chicken cacciatore, traditional spaghetti or mostaccioli, homemade fettuccini alfredo, seafood marinara, homemade angel hair pasta, four-cheese homemade tortellini, gnocchi and a variety of additional homemade pasta dishes. Delicious custom-made burgers and sandwiches are also available, and are served with fresh cut French fried potatoes, creamy coleslaw and a dill pickle.
Appetizers include Italian favorites such as fried calamari, Portobello mushrooms, bruschetta, sausage and peppers, Annette’s tomato bread, toasted ravioli, cheesy garlic bread, cheese sticks and chicken wings. Fresh salads, such as the antipasto salad, Caesar salad, BBQ chicken chopped salad and Pizano’s chopped salad are perfect for the lunch crowd or those who may want a lighter meal. And who can’t live without dessert? Dessert offerings include the famous Holly and Little Rudy’s Chocolate Chip Cookie which serves two, Uncle Bill’s cheesecake, Annette’s peanut butter cookie and more.
About the MSOE Tower Apartments
The MSOE Tower Apartments building originally was slated to be an extended-stay hotel, but the project went bankrupt while it was under construction in 2008. Thanks to a generous donation, MSOE was able to acquire the unfinished building in October 2013 and work feverishly to complete the first phase of construction in time for the 2014-15 academic year.
Currently 184 MSOE students live in 102 studio, one- and two-bedroom apartments on the fourth through ninth floors. Construction is under way on floors 10-14 which will feature apartments and conference rooms.
The first floor features retail space, currently occupied by Qdoba Mexican Grill. Pizano's Pizza & Pasta will occupy the remaining 8,500 square-feet of retail space.
MSOE is an independent, non-profit university with about 2,700 students. MSOE offers bachelor’s and master’s degrees in engineering, business, mathematics and nursing. The university has a national academic reputation; longstanding ties to business and industry; dedicated professors with real-world experience; a 96% placement rate; and the highest ROI and average starting and mid-career salaries of any Wisconsin university according to PayScale Inc. MSOE graduates are well-rounded, technologically experienced and highly productive professionals and leaders.