Z is for Zaffiro’s Pizza

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In late October, we made a trip to a frequent location–Milwaukee’s East Side–for our final ABCs dinner. On a moderately chilly Monday night, we drove up and down the streets that make up the Brady Street neighborhood…

None of us had ever been to Zaffiro’s but we had certainly heard about it before–it was Michelle and Adam’s selection.

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Finally, after what seemed like forever, we found parking spots and walked into the past. TJ said:

Zaffiro’s is your parent’s pizza place. While that’s not necessarily a bad thing, it’s not really a good thing either. The place is old school, from the pizza to the decor.

Zaffiro’s opened in the 50s and it looked like it hasn’t been updated or refurbished since. The door opened to a moderate-sized bar, with a dining room to the right. We were seated at the front of the crowded, bit-too-bright dining room. Cindi said:

I didn’t mind the fact that it seemed more bar than restaurant; kind of added to the charm.

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Appetizers

We ordered three appetizers: Italian salad, garlic bread and cheesy garlic bread. They came out quickly and our waitress was friendly and helpful. Shannon said:

The large salad was enough to feed Colgate, Wisconsin. It was so big! Tons of goodies in there too.

Mike liked the garlic bread–especially the marinara–more than the salad, he said:

The salad was okay, the dressing they had on it didn’t have much taste but the presentation was nice.

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I liked the garlic bread. It was tastier than I expected and the marinara sauce went well with it. Jamie said:

Being a carb lover, normally I can’t get enough garlic bread…I can’t say this was the case at Zaffiro’s. A combination of too much salt and additional seasonings, took away for the buttery garlic flavor I love; perhaps the key was to cover the bread in marinara sauce, which I did not do.

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Dinner

We quickly learned that Monday nights featured a $10, two topping large pizza. This explained why nearly every table in the dining room was full. The deal was too good for all of us diners to pass up and each couple ordered their own pizza. Cindi said:

I had high expectations for Zaffiro’s pizza after reading that its somewhat of a staple in the Milwaukee area if you love thin crust, which I do. Adam and I split the pepperoni and green olive pizza. It was okay. Sauce was okay, crust was okay, toppings were okay.

Adam added:

It was a decent two-topping thin crust pizza for ten bucks.

TJ and Shannon spilt a black olive and mushroom pizza. TJ said:

Had it not been for the canned mushrooms, the pizza would have been fine. Canned mushrooms are disgusting though and should not be allowed near a pizza.

Shannon said:

I thought the pizza was okay. It was a bit greasy, but most pizza is. TJ and I only got two toppings on our pizza to fit into the $10 special. I wonder if we’d gotten our other normal toppings, we would have enjoyed it more. I like more seasoning on the pizza and Zaffiro’s seemed to lack this. However, honestly, I didn’t think the pizza was bad at all.

Mike and Jamie chose different toppings for each of their halves of the pizza. Mike said:

My half had pepperoni and green pepper. It was good for what it was. The green pepper was fresh and the sauce was good.

Jamie said:

I had cheese pizza. I don’t know what makes a sauce or cheese on a pizza good, but to simply put it, this pizza was average!

Michelle and I split a sausage and mushroom (my side had no cheese). Sausage is my favorite pizza topping, but this was nothing special–no sweetness, hotness, or discernible, tasty spice. The sauce didn’t stand out either, which surprised me because I thought the marinara with the garlic bread was good. The canned mushrooms were gross. Michelle said:

For this type of pizza, it was pretty standard and tasted as I expected it would. The pizza was a really good deal, so that is a positive.

I suppose the restaurant had its charms, but those charms were markedly different than, say, Tenuta’s. Usually, when a place has been around as long as Zaffiro’s, there is a discernible reason why. Whatever it was, I couldn’t figure it out…

Nevertheless, the price was right and the company, as always, is what really matters.

Mike summed up how a lot of us felt, he said:

Walking into Zaffiro’s, I was expecting something different. Since they have good reviews on their pizza, I expected a more Italian feel, when it was more random hole in the wall bar with a few tables to eat at. Not bad, just not what I was expecting.

TJ said:

Even bad pizza is still good pizza.

Ratings for Zaffiro’s Pizza were, as follows:

Adam: 6.5
Cindi: 5
Michelle: 5
Nick: 4
Shannon: 6
TJ: 6
Mike: 5.5
Jamie: 4

Zaffiro’s Pizza cumulative rating: 5.3

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Nightcap

We’ve graced a few restaurants on this journey that closed before we completed this quest…but we’ve never closed a place before I even finished the entry. Sadly, that happened with World of Beer on Brady, where we stopped after Zaffiro’s. The Wauwatosa location remains open.

I really enjoyed World of Beer. I got to try a couple of Founder’s beers that I was eager to try and they seemed to have something for everyone. The Monday night crowd was light and we stood at a large table and soaked in the final moments of our epic quest.

Were you looking for sappy stuff at the end here? You’ll have to wait until next month, when I’ll post a round-up! Thank you for reading along with our quest!

Visit Zaffiro’s Pizza online here.

Losing ‘Z’ nominations were: Zak’s (Nick and Shannon), Zarletti’s (Mike and Cindi) and Zebb’s (TJ).

Introduction to the ABCs of Milwaukee Dining
AJ Bombers: 6.8
Beta by Sabor: 7.9
Comet Cafe: 7
Distil: 5.8
Eatery on Farwell: 6.2
Fajitas Grill: 5.3
Ginger: 7.4
Hinterland Erie Street Gastropub: 7.5
Irie Palace: 6.2
Jow Nai Fouquet: 6.9
Kyoto: 6.3
Louise’s Trattoria: 5.2
Meritage: 6.5
Newsroom Pub: 5.4
Odd Duck: 8.2
Pizza Shuttle: 5.2
Quivey’s Grove: 6.9
Rumpus Room: 7.2
Seoul Korean Restaurant: 4.7
Tenuta’s Italian Restaurant: 7.9
Union House: 8.1
VIA Downer: 6.8
Wolf Peach: 7.7
X- Harbor House: 6.3
Yen Ching: 6.9
Zaffiro’s Pizza: 5.3

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2 thoughts on “Z is for Zaffiro’s Pizza

  1. carrie says:

    your posts alway make me miss living in MKE so much!! i still tell everyone i meet to this day there is no city that makes amazing burgers quite like milwaukee does. if you want to really get me drooling on my keyboard you’ll have to do a post about sobelmans or aj bombers. also world of beer is a sold choice in my book!

    • Thanks, Carrie! One time, I want an AJ’s burger on a Sobleman’s bun. Crazy thing, they have AJ Bomber’s at the Brewers game and I guess Sobleman’s is going to be at the Bradley Center soon, if they aren’t already. When I’m at the BC, I like to get Jake’s corned beef, tho! Enjoy the game, GO BADGERS!

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