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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Hot spots for National Pizza Day

Maura Caruso
Photo by Isaiah Gencuski
Ian’s Pizza is one of many favorites among students.

The Elmazi family knows good pizza, but Marquette students may not know about them or their 30-year-old family restaurant, Sal’s Pizza, located under the Marq on the corner of 22nd and Wisconsin.

Beginning in New York in 1988 before moving to Madison and then Milwaukee, Sal’s Pizza, owned and operated by Efraim Elmazi, honors the recipes and traditions that keep the restaurant close to its East Coast roots. And Sal’s daughter, Burbuge Elmazi, who helps out the pizzeria along with her husband when she’s not taking classes, keeps things a family affair for a staff at Sal’s that prides themselves on having the taste and style of a classic New York slice.

“Our main focus is New York style,” Burbuge said. “So just handmade, hand-tossed and we make everything fresh every day.”

With National Pizza Day (Feb. 9) quickly approaching, Sal’s, and the delicious homemade smell that wafts from its front door is a great spot for those who have not tried it, as well as those who are already regular customers at the joint.

“We have students, regular customers and all year-round customers,” Efraim said. Both he and Burbuge said that the shop has families and original customers who only have to walk in or call for the Elmazis to know their order. And while Efraim said he did not know about the national holiday honoring pizza, the restaurant will have plenty of slices to offer to customers just like any other day.

A lot of students on campus also didn’t know about the holiday, but once they heard the news, they were sure to convey their love of pizza and where they planned to go to celebrate.

A number of students mentioned Papa John’s as one of their first and favorite options for pizza. Located on Wells Street between 16th and 17th Streets, the franchise has $5 pizzas every Tuesday that students commended for fitting perfectly into a broke college kid’s budget.

Alex Liberato, a freshman in the College of Business Administration, said she loved both Papa John’s prices and the extra goodies with its pies.

“It’s cheap, and it comes with those garlic and pepperoncinis,” Liberato said.

Daniel Marshall, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences, said that the Papa John’s Tuesday deal was inviting. But when asked where in particular he would go to celebrate National Pizza Day, he sided with the smaller family owned business.

“My favorite place around here is probably Sal’s Pizza,” Marshall said. “It’s just better. It’s better than Domino’s and Papa John’s.”

When it came to the habits of Sal’s younger crowd, however, the father-daughter duo said that their best-selling and more fun pizzas like barbecue chicken and mac ‘n cheese are the favorites. But sticking to their goals of a home-base ambiance and a really good slice, the Elmazis don’t see themselves as defined by their eclectic pizzas.

“Sal’s is different than other franchises, and we’re just a small business,” Burbuge said.

While Sal’s was spoken highly of for its small business feel and relatively close location, Ian’s Pizza was also frequently mentioned as a great place to visit on National Pizza Day. While it might be beyond walking distance, Ian’s has made a name for itself with its multiple locations in both the Madison and Milwaukee areas and renowned mac ‘n cheese pizza.

Ryan Fazio, a sophomore in the College of Business Administration, said Ian’s is by far his favorite place to get pizza in the area. When asked about his favorite kind of pizza to get at Ian’s, Fazio said, “the mac ‘n cheese. You can’t go wrong with that.”

Seconding Fazio’s enthusiasm, Gabrielle Demeuse, a sophomore in the College of Health Sciences, immediately mentioned Ian’s when asked where she’d go if participating in National Pizza Day.

Milwaukee might very well fall short when it comes to giving National Pizza Day the attention it deserves, seeing how cities like Chicago, Cleveland, Phoenix, Los Angeles and Seattle host pizza festivals to celebrate the day. But that doesn’t mean the city doesn’t provide a fair share of places to get a pie on the national holiday.

And while there are still several options to choose from, the pizzas students will pick vary from person to person. Nick Ladewig, a sophomore in the College of Engineering, said he likes to stay true to traditional pizza recipes.

“I consider myself a pizza purist, so I don’t like exotic pizzas like pineapple or even white pizzas like Alfredo that much,” Ladewig said. “I just like classic pepperoni, mushroom and just the regular stuff.”

So for classic fans like Ladewig or those who like to go just a bit outside of their comfort zone with a slice of Ian’s or Sal’s mac and cheese pizza, Milwaukee has several good options for places to celebrate National Pizza Day. No matter one’s topping preference, budget or ideal sauce-to-cheese ratio, a Marquette student can find a way to celebrate this unique day within blocks of where they live.

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    TerryFeb 6, 2018 at 8:09 pm

    Very well written article and lively video story!
    Keep up the good work Ms. Tracy!!!!