My “Must-Haves” in 2018

“Success in life could be defined as the continued expansion of happiness and the progressive realization of worthy goals”-Deepak Chopra

For many January is a time to set resolutions, but for me it’s time to establish goals; pizza goals.  There’s a lot of pizza out there and so little time, so my top priority is mapping out the pizzeria’s around Wisconsin I’ve just gotta have in 2018.  I’ve received so many great recommendations over 2017 and appreciate them so much.  Now is my time to act upon them, so I’ve taken the advice and devised a highly anticipated pizza plan.

My 10 most anticipated Wisconsin pizzerias, pubs, parlors and ristorante’s in 2018:

Marcines Image Source
  1. Marcines, Mt Vernon.  Marcines makes the top of the list because I’ve heard more recommendations to this rural dive bar than I can count. In 2017 this was by far the most recommended place.  The continual praise has me slightly ashamed that I haven’t tried it yet. All the pizza’s are house-made and 12 inches and supposedly overflowing with toppings and cheese. I need to get off my butt and take the scenic drive to get this.

  2. Bernie’s Hometown Pizza, Racine;  I’ve heard the bold statement that this place is better the Gus’ in Whitewater WI, so game on.  That’s pretty much all that needs to be said for any pizza to make my list.
  3. Dom and Phil DeMarini’s, Milwaukee.  I trust a guy who can make a mean polish sausage, a delicate pasty and is passionate about oddly flavored potato chips.  So, I will seek the wisdom of my father-in-law Tom Radoszewki and try his “spot”.  The pizza’s are cooked on rectangular baking sheets and cut in squares.
  4. Tony’s Pizza, Waupun. The home of the “football pizza”. That’s right, a huge oval shaped pizza that is 30″x15″ and feeds 6-10 people. Several years ago I was introduced to this behemoth pie on double-date where we all shared the football pizza.  That was my kind of date night. I always day-dream of that magical evening every time I drive anywhere near Waupun.

    dom and phil
    Dom & Phil DeMirini’s
  5. Anna’s Pizza, Sun Prairie.  My brother Jeff and I have been sharing glorious pizza moments for almost 30 years, so I definitely take his word on Anna’s. Simple, greasy and from what I hear often pushing the threshold of acceptable excessive cheese, which is fine by me.
  6. Log Tavern Pizza Co., Lodi.  My friend Christine and I have shared many milestones in life; we got married on the same day, we’re having kids at the same time and we both love Rosati’s Pizza.  She compared Log Tavern to Rosati’s, so I’m going.
  7. Grandpa’s Pizzeria, Madison.  Though I live in Madison I don’t get over to it’s east side much, so this year I want to change that.  Grandpa’s serves “gourmet thin-crust pizza” in a hip looking layout on Willie Street.
  8. Sammy’s Pizza, Neenah. After I visited Cranky Pat’s last fall I got wind that they have some fierce competition in the area, so this year I will make an effort to give both sides a chance and try Sammy’s; the opposing hometown legend.

  9. Balistreri’s Italian-American Ristorante on 68th, Milwaukee. My boss knows my passion for pizza and with continuous references to this little Italian eatery that makes their pizza’s extra thin and cut in squares, it’s time to make it happen.  Supposedly, it’s got to be the one of 68th.
  10. Gus’ Pizza Palace, Whitewater.  Lately when I think of my hometown favorite Gus’ the infamous line from the TV serious Lost comes to mind, in which a desperate, disheveled Jack screams “We have to go back!”.  I need to go back home to where it all started. The cheese, the cracker thin crust, the grease, oh my. I haven’t been to my favorite hometown spot in far too long.

    Gus 2
    Gus’ Pizza Palace

The pursuit of pizza goals.

I was reading a journal of mine from almost a year ago in which I jotted down a note that I wanted to start writing a blog.  I thought to myself “heck yeah, I do that now!”.  It was neat to look back and see a goal come to fruition.

Establishing a goal to get from point A to point B makes everything way easier as it  provides us a clear path.  Author and speaker Brian Tracy describes a goal as “our road map” to keep us on track.  We have to know where we want to go in order to get there.

Personal reminders I gave myself when setting my pizza goals:

  1. Be specific: I need to know exactly where the pizzerias are located and what’s good on the menu in order to arrive, get the full experience and enjoy the pizza. When coming up with goals we have to be very detailed about what we want to achieve.
  2. Visualize achieving the goal. Taste the sauce, feel the stretch of the cheese and the grease of the pepperoni.  Picture the joy of accomplishing your goal and what that will feel like.
  3. Write them down.  The act of putting down the pizzas I want on paper, commits them to memory and increases my likelihood of eating them. Writing down our goals helps us bring them to life.  In research done by psychology professor Gail Matthews at Dominican University, people are 42% more likely to complete a goal if they write it down.
  4. Break it up into steps.  Just like a pizza cut in squares is easier to take down, ambitious goals aren’t as daunting if we slice them up into manageable pieces.

What pizza taught me:

January is a great time to put down some goals and set our trajectory for the year. Whether we’re excited about eating excellent pizza or making any changes in life, when we have the end in mind the odds of success are much higher.

What I’m eating:  A Tombstone pepperoni while contemplating my goals.

What I’m reading: The Four: The Hidden DNA of Amazon, Apple, Facebook, and Google –Scott Galloway










Pizz-servere in the New Year

“Perseverance is not a long race; it is many short races one after the other” – Walter Elliot

When it’s -10° outside everything seems more difficult.  It’s harder to crawl out of bed, harder to get motivated and even harder to order a pizza, with higher volumes of people ordering for delivery. With a couple months of seasonal depression looming, we all have times when we simply don’t feel like doing anything.  In these moments when we are losing our passion, it’s more important than ever to persevere.

Fortunately, it’s always easy to eat pizza, and a cozy New Years Eve bash has me reflecting on small, simple daily wins we can give ourselves to endure and see our commitments through.

Emil’s Pepperoni

Enduring the cold with Emil’s.

This New Years Eve with a bitter cold outside and the thought of staying out late partying looking bleak, Tess and I opted to watch the ball drop with a couple friends and some frozen pizzas. Emil’s frozen pizzas that is (my friends have long debated the correct pronunciation of Emil’s, with some claiming an emphasis on the E, like E mills (Kane I’m looking at you) or on the Em, like Em ills or even Em eals).

As midnight approached we were accompanied by one of our favorite couples Steve and Rachel.  We shared some laughs as we picked slices from a three course round of frozens and played “Heads Up!” on Tess’s phone.  Steve and Rachel know my passion for pizza well, and in anticipation of our little New Years celebration provided the pizzas (thank you Steve and Rachel, excellent selections and execution).  That night they also introduced me to Urban Pie Brady Street Eight Cheeses and Creamy Garlic Alfredo Sauce pizza, but that earns its own post later on.

I’m a big fan of Emil’s not just because my Great Grandfather shared the same name, but because they are native to Watertown, WI and are delicious.  Emil’s are typically served-up out of those old-school boxy metal pizza ovens in taverns and bowling alleys all across Wisconsin.  They bake great at home too and are found in many freezer sections.  Emil’s is always a solid choice loaded with a unique mozzarella/colby cheese blend and a thin yet flaky crust.


Emil’s was my New Years Eve inspiration.  

Just as it can be increasingly difficult to muster the energy for a night of partying on New Years Eve in the cold, sometimes commitments in our life can feel equally as taxing. Even though I have an insatiable appetite for pizza, some days I just don’t feel like taking pictures of pizza or writing about it and I just want to eat it in peace.

When I start to feel like hibernating I know that if I just take bite size chunks out of my endeavors everyday I will feel accomplished.  That’s the magic of perseverance; we can break up tasks into small, manageable portions.  “Winning the daily private victory” was what Stephen R. Covey the best selling author of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People said. If we see our passions through we will have an internal pride and contentment within ourselves.

Here are some reminders I gave myself to get off my butt and write this blog (applicable to any situation where you need to get off your butt).

  1. Aim for small wins to build momentum. By continually chipping away at our goals we slowly but surely create a snowball effect and end up where we want to be. Our efforts compound.
  2. Visualize the big picture.  Imagine how great you will feel when you stick to your guns and get stuff done.  The end victory is more rewarding than any instant gratification.
  3. Remember a sense of purpose.  Sometimes we have to remind ourselves of the “why?” in why we do what we do.  For me, writing this blog is about the daily practice of honing my skills with writing, challenging my creative thinking and problem solving. Committing to this discipline is fulfilling to me, so I just have to remember that “why”.

What pizza taught me:

Our perseverance is rewarded with a sense of accomplishment. We can find warmth in knowing  we didn’t stray from our path in the glum winter days and that pizza delivery times will only get shorter.

What I’m eating:  Emil’s pepperoni and Emil’s sausage & mushroom pizzas

What I’m reading: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People -Stephen R. Covey


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