Pizza Man is reopening, probably on Downer Ave.
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It’s been nearly three years since Milwaukee’s beloved Pizza Man was destroyed in a fire, leaving nothing but an empty lot where the iconic restaurant once stood. Since then, rumors of a new location have occasionally surfaced, though nothing concrete has ever taken hold. But now it appears that the long wait for a new Pizza Man may finally be over. According to a press release posted on Facebook, owner Mike Amidzich has taken the “first steps” toward reopening the restaurant. The location isn’t specified, but if this story from The Business Journal is any indication, it’s probably the long-vacant Lixx building on the corner of North Downer Avenue and East Belleview Place. (Both Pizza Man’s press release and The Business Journal piece list Rinka Chung Architecture, Inc. as the restaurant’s designer.)
The entire press release is below.
PIZZA MAN EYES EAST SIDE LOCATION FOR RE-OPENING
Lease Letter of Intent Signed on Restaurant’s 42nd “Birthday”
MILWAUKEE (Nov. 15, 2012) Forty-two years after its birth and three years after its fiery demise, Milwaukee’s iconic Pizza Man restaurant has taken a first step toward re-opening. Restaurant owner Mike Amidzich today announced he has signed a letter of intent to lease property for a new Pizza Man.
Amidzich will own and run the new Pizza Man with backing from a group of local investors. The concept will remain the same as at the original Pizza Man, with a variety of thin and deep dish pizzas, along with an eclectic array of specialty dinners like wild boar ravioli, chicken artichoke, ribs, spinach crab cheese melt, fresh calamari, steamed mussels and their famous escargot. Pizza Man will also start to revive its famed 600-choice (by the glass) wine list, which earned it 16 straight “Awards of Excellence” from Wine Spectator magazine. The tentative new location will be less than a mile from the restaurant’s previous home on the corner of E. North and N. Oakland avenues.
“Taking this first step towards re-opening is a great 42nd birthday present for Pizza Man,” said Amidzich. “After three years of searching for the right investors and the right location, we are finally starting the process to re-open. We hope to become part of this neighborhood again. That said, there are many hurdles to overcome. We know we will need the support of a lot of people, including the City and neighborhood, to make this project a reality.”
The original Pizza Man opened on Nov. 15, 1970 and eventually became an East Side landmark, as popular with wine aficionados as it was with pizza-loving UWM students. It was destroyed by fire in January 2010 along with several other businesses and apartments in a massive blaze that caused an estimated $3 million in damage.
Amidzich’s plans for the new location include two floors of seating, along with a 2nd-floor outdoor terrace.
“The unique outdoor seating component is essential to the success of Pizza Man, and was what attracted me to this location,” said Amidzich.
Rinka Chung Architecture, Inc. has been hired to design the renovation.
“We plan to take a contemporary approach to the design that preserves the rustic urban charm of the original Pizza Man,” said Matt Rinka. “The outdoor seating component is what drew Mike to the location and the design, but will also help connect the energy of Pizza Man to the street, bringing vitality to an important corner.”