Best pizza in Green Bay?

 

Cranky Pat's pizza - Green Bay

Pizza is such a tough subject — it’s almost like religion and politics. People are very VERY vehement about their style of pizza and preferred locations for the best pizza. Recently, a question was poised on Reddit: “Where can I find the best pizza in Green Bay?” — the results are pretty surprising.

Cranky Pat’s 

Cranky Pat’s was the hand’s down winner in the race for best pizza. Considering that this is Grief Bacon HQ’s favorite pizza as well, I’m not surprised. What did surprise me is that most of the Redditors cited our favorite toppings — mushroom and cheese. Fantastic food, as long as you don’t get that one chef that always burns the pizza. This started out as Frank & Pat’s Pizza on Green Bay’s east side, but now has locations on Green Bay’s west side, as well as in Neenah and Oshkosh. Whoa, watch out or Cranky Pat’s is going to turn into a chain.

Sammy’s 

Sammy’s came in a close second. This might be a West Side versus East Side thing, honestly. Both Sammy’s and Cranky Pat’s pizzas are very close in style — crispy, thin crust pizza. In Grief Bacon’s personal tests, Sammy’s has the edge on cheese quality (it gets liquidy and melty, with generous loads of cheese) and flavor (mmm… salt) but there’s a diminishing returns as that cheese grease turns that wafer crust into smushy wet dough. Regardless, Sammy’s is a clear fan favorite — and their non-pizza offerings are pretty special too.

Rustique in Little Suamico

Grief Bacon testers haven’t tried Rustique in Suamico yet, but the word around town is that this place is a foodie haven. From Green Bay Redditor ZomBrains  ”Try the Mac n’ Cheese Pizza with a side of Pesto Fries”. Definitely not a hard working blue collar kind of fare like Cranky Pat’s or Sammy’s — which is precisely what the Green Bay pizza scene needs, in our opinion.

Happy Joe’s 

Nostalgia kicks in for Happy Joe’s big time on the Green Bay subreddit, particularly for the taco pizza. Oh, that taco pizza is amazing, absolutely agreed, but I also enjoy some of their more unusual offerings, like the pizza with sauer kraut on it (don’t knock it until you try it).  It’s best to go on a Happy Joe’s buffet night to try the variety. You may have to elbow a few screaming six year olds out of the way when they swarm the place looking for quarters to feed their skeeball obsessions.

Sgambati’s

You know what’s the worst part about Sgambati’s New York Pizza? That it’s all the way out in West De Pere — DEEP West De Pere — and Grief Bacon HQ is located out near Baird’s Creek in far east Green Bay. Almost exactly the furthest you could possibly get from delicious Sgambati’s and most certainly outside of their delivery zone. Sounds like Sgambati’s has a good opportunity to relocate near UWGB and make some fabulous college kid money — not to mention all the new money living in those subdivisions off Bay Settlement. You don’t think the Red Smith middle school moms are sick of Green Bay Pizza Co? You’d be mistaken.

One Vote Wonders

Several Green Bay-area pizza joints received just a single mention in the Reddit poll. Here they are, in no particular order:

Glass Nickel

This pizza chain received a single vote in the poll. Having had Glass Nickel a time or two, the best things about this place are the actual Not Pizza items, but the pizza is certainly not bad either. Unfortunately, the one time we ate in the actual location was so terrible that I didn’t even bother writing a Yelp review because I was certain that the bad service was a weird fluke with new staff or something. Like, it was THAT bad and no one even apologized, and in fact, seemed to insinuate that they screwed up the order but I should be happy with what I got anyway. So, I’m bitter, but still willing to give them another chance.

Old Chicago

Another single vote-getter, I’m actually quite a fan of Old Chicago’s pizza, even though it’s a chain and not a local joint (which I’m biased toward in general). It’s a little reminiscent of how I felt about old school Pizza Hut deep dish pizza (which doesn’t exist anymore). The crust is super lacy and golden, the dough is light and springy and the sauce has just a bit of spice to cut through the richness of the cheese and the crust. Plus, I enjoy sitting in the bar area, drinking hard cider and watching various sports — and Old Chicago is one of the few places in town to do that. Okay, you can watch sports at a LOT of places, but NOT while drinking hard cider or Peary.

Green Bay Pizza Company

Given its proximity to Grief Bacon HQ, we’re pretty familiar with the GB Pizza Company product. In fact, for years, Green Bay Pizza Company was our very favorite Go To pizza happy time. But then the employees started getting lazy — when you’d call for an order, they sounded bored and like they didn’t care, and were unwilling to really look up prices or even get the order right (We won’t speak of the Onions Instead Of Mushrooms Incident of ’06), so they’re crossed off our list. Maybe we should give them another try, since they made the list.

Oley’s Pizza Cannoli  

This east De Pere venture seems to be fairly new. I haven’t tried it. Have you? Leave a comment and let us know what you think. For now, it’s on Grief Bacon’s list of places to check out.

Billoti’s in De Pere

Billotti’s has been around De Pere for so long that you practically forget it exists. Like Sammy’s is to West Siders and Cranky Pat’s is to people east of the river, Billotti’s is the go to for the old school De Pere denizens. It scored one vote on Reddit, and honestly, we haven’t been there in twenty years, so I don’t feel confident commenting on it. Clearly we’ll have to amend that issue promptly.

Gallagher’s

A favorite of office managers around town, Gallagher’s is known for its ginormous pizzas and the chicken spinach thing, which is actually pretty good. As pizzas go, however, Grief Bacon is on the fence — it’s just okay. Only one Redditor called it out in the poll, but I do wonder if it wasn’t by virtue of the weekday lunch buffet, which is a favorite of many a dude looking for unlimited ‘Za. Their breadsticks, though? LOVE their breadsticks, which are deepfried instead of baked. Mmm… extra calories.

Rosati’s

Rosati’s only received one vote for best pizza, which is surprising, as Rosati’s is another favorite at Grief Bacon HQ. Thin crust is better than their regular crust, in my opinion, and their regular menu is pretty tasty, especially their salads.

File under “Why even bother?”

A few Redditors seemed to be aiming low — or have finicky tastes that are only appeased by mediocre babysitter-worthy pizza:  Domino’s, Papa Murphy’s Take and Bake, and Sbarro’s in the mall. Seriously, guys, there’s so much better out there than this. Your life is worth more than Sbarro’s.

Jake's Pizza

Gone but not forgotten

It’s possible that the very best pizza in Green Bay isn’t even available anymore, or perhaps our nostalgia has tinged our memories of happy times. The Green Bay pizza scene has changed considerably — Godfather’s Pizza only exists in gas stations now, Rocky Roccoco’s was gone, back again and gone again (despite being a much loved Wisconsin-based pizza chain) and T.J’s Pizza is a parking lot for a dry cleaner.  Just the same, a few pizza memories were sparked on our Best Pizza in Green Bay survey.

Jake’s Pizza

Jake’s Pizza had very long run in the Green Bay pizza scene — at least three decades long. Obviously, you don’t have that kind of longevity without earning more than a few fans. Understandably, the original “Jake” wanted to retire, so he sold the business to someone he thought would retain the spirit of the place in the late 2010′s. Unfortunately, the quality suffered shortly after “Jake” left and the place shuttered for good without any warning at the end of 2012. But before the changeover, the pizza was amazing. Jake’s pizza was so good fresh from the paper bag and then even better the next morning cold out of the refrigerator. I’ve never had a pizza that I loved cold as much as Jake’s Pizza. Somehow the crust didn’t get tough, it just got softer, and the high level of cheese grease kept it from drying out overnight.was mentioned as being very missed. I’ve heard rumors, both online and on Jake’s Facebook group — that Jake’s is about to make a return to the Green Bay pizza scene. We’ll see.

Rock-A-Billy’s

Called “gimmicky” by a few, Rock-A-Billy’s was certainly unusual in terms of the typical Green Bay food scene. One Redditor commented “So many excellent and unusual flavors; General Tso’s, Crab Rangoon, Thai Chicken.” Alas, Rock-A-Billy’s closed before I ever got to try the famed General Tso’s pizza.

Flying under the radar

There were a few conspicuous absences in the Green Bay pizza round up. Not a soul was willing to vouch for Papa John’s, Pizza Hut, Topper’s, Little Caesar’s, Pizza Ranch on the east side, Figaro’s in Howard, Luigi’s in Bellevue, Marco’s on Military, or Josephine’s in Howard.

While I’m not surprised that chain restaurants like Papa John’s or Little Caesar’s didn’t rank, I’m a little surprised that Luigi’s wasn’t on the list, as it’s such a local favorite. I remember what a treat it was to haul all the way out to Sobieski for Luigi’s back before they moved further south (now there are Luigi’s pizza places in more locations). I’m also a little surprised that Josephine’s isn’t on this list — their pizza is pretty decent, although their garlic knots and pastas are probably better than the pizza itself.

Now it’s your turn: What’s your favorite pizza? Which pizza doesn’t deserve to be on the top list? Which is better — Bilotti’s, Sammy’s or Cranky Pat’s? Chime in on the comments and let’s settle this once and for all.

 

 

Cranky Pat's Pizza on Urbanspoon

Sammy's Pizza on Urbanspoon

Champion Sports Bar & Grill

Champion Sports Bar gets an appreciative nod for omitting Brett Favre’s Viking jersey from the “Wall o’Brett” but when it comes to the chow, I’m afraid it’s more of a Brett Favre fumble. This sports bar got national publicity when it appeared on the tv show “Man Versus Food Nation” last year for its Gravedigger special. That’s a $93 “burger” meant for 6-8 people, they say, although considering that it’s a 93-ounce burger surrounded by “mounds of chicken wings” maybe it’s meant for 6-8 lumberjacks.

However, when it comes to tastiness, Champion Sports Bar is clearly trying to make up for quality with quantity. The food is fried, filling and salty — just the thing to encourage you to order another round of brewskis. It’s the kind of unhealthy fare that Green Bay is known for, only unlike some of that other unhealthy fare, Champion doesn’t deliver chow worth the calories and cholesterol.

Great bar staff and servers, however, make this sports bar a fine place to watch the game and toss down some cold ones. However, the food should not be your reason for coming.

Rating: 2 stars out of 5

1007 Tony Canadeo Run
Green Bay, WI 54304

(920) 544-8367

Grapevine Cafe

 

Grapevine Cafe

If you’ve ever wanted to pretend you lived in a furniture store, Green Bay’s Grapevine Cafe will take you one step closer to that dream. This is a furniture store where you can pull up a chair and eat breakfast at their table (for sale) while gazing at pictures on the wall (and their price tags). It’s a little odd and also, a little schizophrenic with the decor.

The thing I like most about the Grapevine Cafe in Green Bay is that the place is a little bit like a maze. There are private cubbies and little nooks and crannies where tables are stashed here and there. The place could be half full but you still won’t be subjected to  overhearing another table’s conversations. It’s actually quite nice.

Foodwise, it’s a solid three stars. The menu is a little sparse but it’s definitely two steps above the typical greasy spoon breakfast that is common in Green Bay. I’ve had a mushroom/spinach/cheese omelet once which was very wonderful and the other time I tried the seafood eggs benedict, which had the benefit of having real blue crab meat as well as tiger shrimp that they had obviously cooked to order (unlike other places which reheat previously cooked shrimp so that it has the taste and texture of a fishy eraser). The hollandaise sauce was actually very delicious, which means that their chef is fantastic or it’s a really REALLY good premade sauce. It didn’t taste like a mix, per se, but I tend to doubt that anyone around here could whip up a sauce that was so perfect and smooth as well as extremely flavorful.

That being said, the Grapevine Cafe servers could use some customer service training. Each time I’ve gone, the servers seem disengaged and somewhat annoyed with having to schlep foodstuffs for customers. It’s almost like they resent not being served themselves. Really strange, actually, and kind of off-putting.

I also am a little perplexed by the coffee bar. It’s there, in the middle of the restaurant, and yet, the place doesn’t smell like coffee. Is it just for show? Or is the coffee so truly awful that no one orders it? It is a mystery.

 

2058 Allouez Ave
Green Bay, WI 54311

(920) 469-2730

Rating: 3 stars of 5

Grapevine Café on Urbanspoon

Red Lobster

Green Bay’s Best of the Bay restaurant contest ranks Red Lobster as having the “Best Seafood” for five years running. That says less about Red Lobster and more about Green Bay’s attitudes about seafood. I harbor no delusions that someone wondering which restaurant to go to will actually discover Red Lobster on this site, or make a decision about going to Red Lobster based on this review. One doesn’t ever say “Oh yeah! RED LOBSTER!” when discussing places to eat, and if one does, chances are one is not a foodie. Or maybe I’m being a review snob? Discuss.

The real reason I’m writing this review is that we ate at  the Green Bay Red Lobster tonight. Reader, I feel the need to confess this because afterward, we both had the unspoken disappointment with ourselves for having chosen this establishment. It was probably more of a fifth choice, with our first four places being closed for the 4th of July. However, with the majority of Green Bay getting ready to enjoy fireworks downtown, the Florida-based chain restaurant had lots of available tables. (Yes, it’s important to note that Red Lobster is from Florida, because they would really really love you to believe that they are from Maine. They are not, and there is not a single Red Lobster in the state of Maine. The more you know.)

Our dinner at Red Lobster was, you know, dinner at Red Lobster. The cheddar bay biscuits are basically the chemically-superior method of carb/fat delivery in golden brown garlicky soft pillows of joy. The caesar salad was limp and warm. You know what is not delicious? Warm caesar salad. You can soothe your wounded heart with more biscuits, though, and that’s all that matters.

Our grilled plates were acceptable: the bay scallops were tiny and in an unappetizing white-ish water. The stuffed flounder was fishy and stuffed with filler that make you forget that you’ve gotten less than a 3 ounce portion of fish. The shrimp scampi is greasy and delicious and a touch overcooked. Ah well, pass the biscuits!

Incidentally, the photo that Yelp has been provided is a commercial photo provided by Red Lobster. Don’t fool yourself. Your food won’t look like that. It will look like disappointment swimming in white-ish water.

The staff, however, is top rated, and basically the best reason to come to Red Lobster. Of course, they are probably the highest-paid waiters in Green Bay, because our grilled platters, at $15 a plate, were one of the cheapest options on the menu.

Really, though, we just wanted the biscuits, and maybe a little bowl of shrimp scampi, and then I’d be happy. Actually, just send more biscuits.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

1251 Lombardi Access Road
Ashwaubenon, WI 54304
(920) 497-1505
Red Lobster on Urbanspoon

Stadium View Bar and Grill

Photo courtesy sanfeili4

The Stadium View is either where you go to get drunk or one of those lunch places you stop at because you’re in Ashwaubenon and you don’t feel like hitting one of the plethora of chain restaurants on Oneida. I can’t speak to the venue as a party zone, but judging from the venue and prices, the trixies go to ‘Duzzi’s and the older ladies who maybe like country music and guys who drive Harley’s go to party at the Stadium View.

It’s placed on Holmgren next to two other sports bars and if you blinked, it really wouldn’t matter which one you went to. Stadium View has the dubious quality of having a banquet hall attached to it, which means that if you go when there’s an event in progress, you’re going to have to park a quarter mile from the door to the bar.

Two years after the Green Bay smoking ban and the smell of nicotine has ALMOST cleared from the dank corners of the Stadium View’s front bar area. The ladies really work for their tips, covering an acre of bar between the tables and the kitchen, yet always seem to be handy for your single free refill of soda (really, guys, it’s fountain syrup, it costs you four cents a gallon… you could just offer free refills like every other sports bar in the city). While the theme is All Packers All The Time, the ample tv screens are typically tuned to some sport or another. On my last visit, though, the primary screens were tuned to some kind of home improvement show touring the homes (CRIBS?) of ultimate fighting champions. They have hot tubs and tanning beds in their bedroom! The more you know.

But this half-assed attempt at a hometown atmosphere only counts so far — it’s the food that matters, right? Well, this is where Stadium View earns its half-hearted review. Sometimes the food is SO GOOD that you want to send a drink back to the chef. And then other times… it’s not so much and you look at your dining partner and say “Why did we come here again?” My only guess is that they have several different people working the kitchen and it really matters if you get the good chef or if you get the person who overcooks the hamburgers into hockey pucks and turns the cottage fries into roofing tiles. Also, somewhere along the way, the bar owners assumed that people who like the Packers also love non-stop country music. Not so, guys.

In general, it’s cheap eats out of baskets lined with wax paper. If you are looking for a gut bomb, you’ll do just fine at the Stadium View. If you aren’t working off a hangover and want to actually taste delicious food, I’d hit the place next door and get one of the fresh pizzas at The Bar.

1963 Holmgren Way
Green Bay, WI 54304
(920) 498-1989

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

Stadium View on Urbanspoon

Proudly powered by WordPress
Theme: Esquire by Matthew Buchanan.