April Dinner Club Event: Transfer Pizzeria
Approximately one year ago a new restaurant opened its doors in Milwaukee – Walkers Point area, namely Transfer Pizza. The Milwaukee Dinner Club made this our venue of choice for the April Dinner Club event. We left fully satisfied and hungry for more…
Transfer Pizza is another prime example of young entrepreneurs in Milwaukee who decided to pursue a great opportunity and succeed. The story goes like this: John Rossetto and Chris Zielinski and their wives frequented two regular pizza places in town where they befriended the Chef, Italian born Vasyl Lembersky, known for his ability to make some of the best Italian pizza in Milwaukee. Transfer Pizza was born when the property in which it is located today went vacant and John and Chris saw this as the prime opportunity to pursue their dream of opening a restaurant. They partnered with the Chef Lembersky and soon after Transfer Pizzeria opened its doors.
Now, a year later Transfer Pizzeria is a well known venue among locals and has rightly earned the status of one of the places to go to for good pizza in Milwaukee. Per John the secret to the pizzas served at Transfer lies in the homemade dough, made fresh daily by Chef Lembersky, as well as Transfer’s secret ingredient, (which only the chef knows by the way) its garlic sauce, served on most pizza varieties.
The building in which Transfer Pizza is located was originally a Pharmacy. Upon turning this into a pizza place the 7 owners (that is John & his brother, Chris, Chef Vasyl and their wives) decided to keep some of the features of the old pharmacy such as the decorated glass tiles in the walls in order to maintain some of the rustic character left behind from the 20th century. It worked. Today the restaurant, seating about 45-50 people, is cozy, casual and comfortable inside. The interior is covered with wooden features, resembling that of a ‘pub with character’ and in the center is a bar with ample selections of locally brewed and international beer varieties, an assortment of wine and mixed drinks. The acoustics are good and the layout offers the opportunity to cater to both small and larger groups. In addition, original art work of local artists are displayed on the walls. The waitress informed me that these change frequently and approximately once a month the restaurant hosts a gallery night in which the art work is formally displayed for sale. One thing to note is that only street parking is available yet none of the group seemed to have trouble in finding a parking spot.
Transfer Pizzeria is all about the pizza. The restaurant serves a variety of meat, vegetarian (including vegan) and seafood options. Instead of serving bread as a starter a focaccia with the secret garlic sauce, fresh mozzarella & olive oil is served instead. I found this a nice alternative to the regular bread option and the bread was not too garlicky nor too heavy. Several appetizers are also offered as well as pasta, panini and salads, however pizza definitely rules at Transfer.
Here are some of the favorites of the evening:
- This appetizer blew my mind. The presentation is simple and I was truly surprised to taste the flavors blending perfectly with each bite. The secret (of course) lies in the garlic sauce in addition to freshly grated asiago cheese over the salami and tomato. I usually do not like salami very much as it is a very overpowering meat. As a result of this fact the bruschetta blew my mind away. I could not believe how tasty this was. Make sure to order this during your visit and don’t be unimpressed with the presentation until you’ve had a bite. You’ll be floored.
All pizzas are served on a thin homemade crust cooked in the oven until crispy on the bottom and fluffy and fresh on top. We tasted a variety of vegetarian and meat options.
For the meat lovers:
- Pesto & tomato sauce with a variety of cheeses including feta, mozzarella, then covered in spicy sausage with fresh slices of salty asiago over the meat. The presentation is impressive especially driven by the slices of asiago melting over the sausage and the meat lovers’ around the table mouths watered when this was served. It turned out to be one of the hits of the evening. Be careful though, it’s spicy. Try it with a glass of the Zinfadel or Malbec off the wine menu.
- generously covered in the secret garlic sauce this is a meat & garlic lovers dream and even the very hungry of visitors will leave fully satisfied. Personally I thought that the Paisano was a more flavorful meat option however this one followed by a close second.
For the vegetarians:
- This is the Paisano pizza without the sausage and my personal favorite as well as the overall favorite for the group. The blend of mild and stronger cheeses with the pesto & tomato base made this a taste sensation. None of the flavors were overpowering but blended together perfectly.
Tutti i Vegetariana
- served with a light tomato sauce as base infused with lots of garlic and topped with fresh vegetables and mozzarella cheese the table found this to be fantastic. Personally I thought it lacked something to offset the sweetness of the tomato and next time I go to
Transfer I will most likely order this with extra feta cheese, which may add that extra saltiness that I was craving to offset the sweet.
Other Items Tasted:
Transfer pizza is about the pizza, not the salad. Even though the local ingredients used were super fresh I found the salad to be plain and lacking in flavor. We also had the Caprese salad, which was good but no shocker and seemed to lack some flavor as well.
- a tomato based pizza served with mushroom and onion and freshly sliced prosciutto and arugula over the top. The pizza was good but the prosciutto was overbearing. I couldn’t really identify any of the other ingredients as I only tasted prosciutto with each bite.
- This garlic based pizza with artichoke, white onions and mozzarella was a personal disappointment. Overall lacked flavor and the presentation was bland. Even a few sprinkles of fresh basil or another herb over the white cheese & artichokes would have improved the presentation. Almost the entire pizza was left untouched whilst most other pizzas were devoured among the group.
When it comes to service Transfer Pizzeria rocked the charts. The Milwaukee Dinner Club thoroughly enjoyed the event and I strongly encourage other groups to give Transfer Pizzeria a shot. In addition the service is fast which makes this a good option for both lunch and dinner. Prices are reasonable (entrees range between $10-$20), and this as well as prompt service makes @Transfer a favorite among locals for both lunch and dinner.
Transfer pizza was one of the best Dinner club experiences we’ve had as a group over the past year and half. The service is great and the character of the people and the restaurant makes this inviting to young and old. The food, driven by using homemade pizza dough for their pizza crust, topped with quality cheeses and the freshest ingredients places it on the map as one of Milwaukee’s great pizza venues. The pizza at Transfer compares other local favorites such as Pizza Man, to the highest degree.
I look forward to visiting Transfer Pizza again and our entire group placed this as a venue to frequent more often. Give it a shot and let me know your toughts on the overal experience!
Overall Rating: 8.7/10