New "Pizza Man" could re-open on Milwaukee's east side

MILWAUKEE -- Milwaukee's iconic Pizza Man restaurant is on its way to re-opening on the city's east side. Restaurant owner Mike Amidzich announced on Thursday, November 15th, he has signed a letter of intent to lease property for a new Pizza Man.

In a news release issued Thursday, Amidzich indicates he will own and run the new Pizza Man with backing from a group of local investors. The concept will remain the same as at the original Pizza Man, with a variety of thin and deep dish pizzas, along with an array of dinners.

The tentative new location will be less than a mile from the restaurant’s previous home on the corner of E. North and N. Oakland avenues. The specific location is expected to be revealed next week.

"I've seen probably, not exaggerating, 75 different properties," Amidzich said.

The original Pizza Man opened on Nov. 15th, 1970 and eventually became an east side landmark. It was destroyed by fire in January 2010 along with several other businesses and apartments in a massive blaze that caused an estimated $3 million in damage and destroyed Amidzich's life's work.

"It was a shock. That's 40 years of my life at the time. I could not get in front of the camera. I was too emotionally broken up over it. I would have been crying like a baby," Amidzich said.

Amidzich’s plans for the new location include two floors of seating, along with a 2nd-floor outdoor terrace. The new location will hold nearly three times as many customers.

Amidzich did not immediately disclose the new location, but speculation is the new restaurant will be located at the intersection of Downer and Bellevue -- just a few steps away from the Downer Theater.

A resolution going before the Historic Preservation Commission Monday, November 19th proposes alterations to the property at that intersection by the same architecture firm Amidzich has hired.

Neighbors said they're thrilled by the prospect.

"I'm really excited. Pizza man is awesome, and I'm really looking forward to it," one neighbor told FOX6 News.

If the speculation is accurate, the location would be within a block of Via, a pizza restaurant and wine bar that has opened since the fire at Pizza Man. Via's owner told FOX6 News he would be okay with the competition.

"I think Downer Avenue can definitely support a lot of restaurants. I think this is gonna bring more people to our neighborhood," Krzysztof Zielinski said.

Pizza Man's owner says he'd like to have the doors open to the new restaurant by summer 2013, and will likely hire between 40 and 50 people.

Pizza Man customers can receive updates on the progress toward re-opening by visiting the Pizza Man Facebook page. Pizza Man is also on Twitter at @pizzamanmke.

CLICK HERE to read more about Pizza Man on