On Monday night, neither Steph or I felt like cooking, and we both needed a break from Passover seder leftovers (there’s only so much kugel you can eat), so we walked down the block to our favorite Milwaukee pizza place: VIA Downer. (We decided it was okay to eat out on a weeknight because we had a CityTins discount there to use.)
VIA is one of those cozy restaurants that is equally perfect for a date night, a night out with friends or family, or a simple after work dinner, and it’s so nice to have a place like that so near to our apartment. On this particular Monday night, they were setting up for live music by the Eric Jacobson Quintet, and the place was already nearly full.
The cozy vibe, the friendly waitstaff, and in this case the live jazz music are all nice, but let’s face it: it’s all about the pizza, and the pizza is amazing. This is that amazing stone-fired crust that’s crispy without needing to be too thin, with plenty of those wonderful enormous bubbles. All pizzas are also available gluten free for an extra $2. (If you’ve eaten at Transfer, this is the same owner, and I’m pretty sure it’s the same miraculous pizza formula.)
I typically try very hard to be adventurous at restaurants and try new menu items each time I go, but after I tried their garlic sauce pizza on my first time there, there was no going back. The sauce is so delicious and smooth, with a garlic flavor that is unbelievably sweet. It’s creamy and actually quite greasy, but when you eat it you don’t even care because it is just that good.
Our personal favorite is La Bella (garlic sauce, mozzarella cheese, artichoke hearts and onions, $12), which is just about perfect. On this particular occasion, Steph ordered La Bella and I ordered a Greek pizza (garlic sauce, mozzarella cheese, feta cheese, fresh tomatoes and kalamata olives, $12), another repeat standby that is consistently excellent. The cheese is plentiful and the toppings are fresh and flavorful. If you order an appetizer or salad, the twelve inch pies are plenty big enough to split between two people (unless you’re really hungry), but we usually each order one so we can have lunch for the next day as well. (And because, why order one when you can order two?)
In addition to the pizzas, VIA also has a very appetizing entree menu as well as a pasta menu (pastas can also be made gluten free for $2 extra), but I will probably never try any of them because the pizza is just that good.
We’ve been to VIA many times, and it hasn’t disappointed yet. This isn’t one of those health-nut pizza joints where you get a vegan hummus pizza with whole grain flaxseed crust topped with arugula. These pizzas are cheesy and greasy and you may feel a little bad about yourself after, but if you’re going to have pizza, you may as well have the best.