Why I Love Milwaukee: An Eye for MKE Pie

“Here in Milwaukee, if you can’t find a good food place, you’re walking with your eyes closed.”


WHO: Sara Libbey, 52, is a Milwaukee lifer, a senior designer with Do It Yourself Bathroom Center in West Allis who sells handcrafted jewelry on the side. She’s also a connoisseur of Milwaukee pizza, which only deepens her love for her hometown.

WHERE: Balistreri’s Bluemound Inn, 6501 W. Bluemound Rd. Pizza is a big thing in our family.


Everybody’s version of pizza is different. Still, it’s got to be hand-tossed. Then it’s got to have that dark, charred, bottom of the crust so it’s crispy. And nothing can be perfect – no perfect edges. Using fresh mushrooms is a good thing, too.

You’ve got to have friendly service. If you don’t have good service, your pizza doesn’t taste good.

Here in Milwaukee, if you can’t find a good food place, you’re walking with your eyes closed. On the South Side, you can find Southern food and real barbecue restaurants, places where there’s no room to sit down and you’re just standing, eating, making a mess. That’s awesome.

But with pizza, no one is fussy. My favorites are probably Balistreri’s – I’ve been going to Balistreri’s since I was a kid – and there’s this little tiny place on South 76th Street called Tanino’s.

When we found Tanino’s, a friend and I were going out for dinner and couldn’t decide where to go. We were driving past and realized it was such a small place on such a major street but we didn’t know it. I remember saying, “Why don’t we try it?” That was probably 15 years ago, and we’re still going back.

– As told to Adam Rogan

This story is part of Milwaukee Magazine‘s November issue.

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Adam is a journalist who recently returned to his Wisconsin home after graduating from Drake University in December 2017. He interned with MilMag in the summer of 2015 and has been a continual contributor ever since. Follow him on social media @Could_Be_Rogan