Pizano’s Pizza finally ready to open in downtown Milwaukee

Restaurant plans initially announced in 2014

Pizano’s Pizza & Pasta, 1154 N. Water St.

The long awaited opening date of Chicago-based Pizano’s Pizza & Pasta in downtown Milwaukee has finally been set after four years of setbacks.

The eatery, best known for its Chicago-style deep dish pizza, will open its doors at 1154 N. Water St. sometime soon. The city’s Common Council is scheduled to issue the restaurant’s licenses on Tuesday, Sept. 25, said Andrew Arena, an attorney who represents the restaurant.

Pizano’s will occupy an 8,000-square-foot space on the ground floor of Milwaukee School of Engineering’s Grohmann Tower Apartments. It shares the floor with Qdoba Mexican Eats, located on the building’s south side.

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The city’s license committee on Sept. 11 recommended approval of class B tavern, extended hours, food dealer and public entertainment premises licenses for Pizano’s.

Those licenses would allow Pizano’s to serve food daily from 11 a.m. until 2 a.m. with delivery until 5 a.m., and offer entertainment including instrumental musicians, DJs, a jukebox, karaoke, bands, and magic shows, according to a license application.

Pizano’s owner Rudy Malnati Jr. in November of 2014 initially announced plans to open the restaurant by the following spring. Due to construction delays and complications with obtaining permits, the restaurant’s projected opening date was pushed back to May or June of 2016, but the delays continued. Earlier this year, Malnati filed a new commercial alteration permit with the City of Milwaukee, and construction on the space commenced. 

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Malnati opened the first Pizano’s in 1991 and now owns six Pizano’s locations in Illinois and Rudy’s Bar and Grille in Chicago, where the family name is well known. 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.

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