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Piccola Home


7606 W. State St.
Wauwatosa, WI 53213
Phone: (414) 443-0800

Hours:
Mon - Thurs
11am - 9 pm
Fri - Sat 11am - 10pm
Sun 11am - 9pm

Delivery Hours:
Everyday from 5pm - 9pm


 
Pocket-sized Bartolotta pizzeria arrives in Tosa
By Kathy McCann


Pizzeria Piccola, 7606 W. State St., has just opened in downtown Tosa, in a space formerly occupied by Jitterz, a popular coffee joint. In a marked departure from the Bartolotta group's signature fine dining eateries, this "little pizzeria" venture is a pocket-sized treasure in the area's dining scene. It combines the positive aspects of a chain restaurant -- fast, good and inexpensive -- with a unique, atmosphere and wood-burning oven (and no "homogenizing of America" chain guilt) that is sure to go fork-to-fork with Noodles and Co. down the street.

Open less than a week, the Piccola folks are trying to help customers understand how their system works by posting a number of paper signs that will disappear after we catch on. On the first floor, in the glow of the wood-burning oven, patrons order, pay and receive a soft drink cup or beer or wine order, and then proceed with a number to the small second-floor dining room, where the food is delivered by a frenetic but friendly waitstaff.

The menu is honed to four side salads (a mixed-greens house, Caesar, bread [panzanella] and Caprese), a flatbread appetizer and six signature thin-crust pizzas or the option to "build your own."

The salads were refreshingly crisp and fresh: the house with mixed greens, cucumber, onion slices, a sliced cherry tomato that was flavorful, all bathed in a light balsamic dressing applied sparingly to add moisture but no bottom-of-the bowl pool. The Caesar, again great greens and some of the best croutons I've had in months. After the salads, we waited only a minute or two before the pizzas arrived.

The six "authentic Italian pizza" choices were: Margherita, vegetable, four cheese, Italian ham (prosciutto), four seasons and the Piccola with provolone cheese, fennel sausage, onions, mushrooms and black olives (the small, delicious and beloved Ligurian taggiasca!).

On any of the authentic pizzas you're welcome to request items be left off, but you can't substitute items. But the build your own option allows you to get any pizza you desire. Interesting topping choices include the prosciutto and mortadella, eggplant, artichoke and hard-boiled eggs.

The pizzas, which are about 9 inches, were crispy and full of that flavor that only a wood oven can infuse. The crust did seem a bit thick in spots, as though the dough may have been a bit cold when rolled out.

The Margherita was classic (mozzarella, tomato sauce and basil, representing the colors of the Italian flag and invented in Naples in the late 19th century to commemorate a visit by the Italian queen, Margherita), had the perfect amount of cheese (covering the dough thoroughly but not thick as a shag rug), and was unspoiled by "extras" such as misdirected attempts to spice up this classic with Parmesan cheese. The four cheese (Quattro Formaggi) pizza is a standout -- with bold cheese choices that make it stand out from lesser establishments: mozzarella, smoky Provolone, taleggio and the underutilized Gorgonzola. Order it with or without sauce.

The beverage choices were numerous, from soft drinks and lemonade, to three Italian white wines and three reds by the glass, and beer including Piccola's own Lakefront Brewery ale, Moretti red from Italy's Friuli region and Messina, a Sicilian beer less common in Milwaukee.

Having been open a mere three days, a few kinks need to be worked out as the four-person staff that mans the wood oven gets comfortable. There also was some confusion over orders in the dining room, but the staff seemed to take it all in stride, were apologetic and accommodating for any minor mix-ups. Artwork, which is on order, will add to the simple, exposed brick, rustic interior, as will the music that will come out of the now-silent speakers.

I look forward to my next visit to this affordable, petit pizza joint that is a cut above its red-checked table-clothed predecessors.

Prices range from $2.95 to $3.95 for salads; $4.95 to 8.95 for pizzas, plus toppings range from .50 to $1.95; wine choices are kept to a frugal $4-$6.50.

Hours: Monday-Friday, 11 a.m.-11 p.m.; Saturday & Sunday, 4-11 p.m.
Address 7606 W. State St., Wauwatosa
Phone: 414-443-0800
CCs: accepted

 

 
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