Pizano’s Pizza & Pasta, a Chicago-based restaurant featuring the city’s iconic deep dish pizza, will open its first Wisconsin location in the spring in the MSOE Tower Apartments building at 1150 N. Water St. in downtown Milwaukee.
The restaurant will be owned by Rudy Malnati Jr., who owns six Pizano’s locations in Illinois and Rudy’s Bar and Grille in Chicago. The Malnati family’s pizza history dates back to 1943 when Malnati’s father, Rudy Malnati Sr., managed and later became partner of the original Pizzeria Uno, where deep dish pizza began in Chicago. Boston-based Pizzeria Uno now has 140 locations. Malnati’s brother, Lou Malnati, established Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria in the Chicago area in 1971. It now has 39 locations.
Rudy Malnati Jr. opened the first Pizano’s restaurant in 1991.
“I am excited to bring my family recipes and Italian traditions to Milwaukee for the first time,” said Rudy Malnati Jr. “Our first Wisconsin location will feaure our famous gourmet deep dish pizzas, our award-winning thin crust pizzas and other signature menu items.”
The 14-story MSOE Tower Apartments building, located at the corner of Water Street and Juneau Avenue in the Water Street bar area, was originally going to be a Staybridge Suites hotel. But construction of the hotel was halted in 2009 and the property went into receivership. It was purchased last year by MSOE, which is finishing the construction project as an apartment building for students and faculty. Once complete, the building will have about 150 apartments. Currently, 184 MSOE students live in 102 apartments that have been completed in the building. Work on the top five floors of the building will be completed in the spring and will have additional apartments and conference rooms.
“The Tower Apartments add more life to downtown Milwaukee,” said MSOE president Hermann Viets. “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.”
For years the only tenant in the building was a Qdoba Mexican Grill restaurant on the ground floor. The Qdoba will remain and Pizano’s will occupy the remaining 8,500 square feet of retail space on the building’s first floor. Pizano’s will have seating for 260 and plans to have additional seating outdoors during the warm weather months.
Ted Klumb of First Weber Commercial brokered the lease for Pizano’s and Kendall Breuning of Sunset Investors represented MSOE.