The tiny, unassuming building with the old-fashioned neon sign is a fixture on Forest Home Avenue for pizza lovers.
Walking inside Maria's Pizza is a step into the land of kitsch, with plastic red-checkered tablecloths, year-round Christmas lights, waitresses decked out in red (Maria's favorite color), and paint-by-number religious pictures on the walls.
This is a no-alcohol place, so get a pitcher of root beer, and look over the menu.
It's not a very big menu, and most things on it are overlooked in favor of their pizzas, but an order of garlic bread is mandatory, and their salads very good.
Their fried chicken is actually very good, too. Crispy outside and juicy inside, and plenty enough for two people.
But it's the pizza that's standout, here at Maria's. There are only 2 sizes - big and bigger. Pizza dough is rolled out paper thin and amoeba-shaped, and it flops over the sides of the rectangle pizza pans.
There is only thin crust available, and it's no exaggeration to say it's the one of the best, if not the best, thin crust pizza in Milwaukee. The crust is crisp, but has some bend. It's baked to a nice golden brown, and the top gets large bubbles, which are the favored pieces with kids. The toppings are numerous and give the pie an extra inch in height. Cheese is gooey and top-notch, and the sauce is not too sweet, and not too salty. A mild combination that lets the toppings and crust shine through.
Maria's vaguely cuts their pizza into square shapes, but really...the best way to eat it is to tear off large chunks, fold or roll them, and eat. It's drippy and messy and very, very fun. Their large will feed three people without a problem, but hungry families will often order two extra-large, if not more. Sometimes, the pizzas will be more than the small tables can handle. Just eat faster to clear away all the pesky extra pans.
The entire combination...from the delicious pizza to the decor to the waitstaff, is definitely a Milwaukee institution to be experienced. Get to Maria's Pizza sooner rather than later.
For More Information:
5025 West Forest Home Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53219-4505
Hours: Tues - Sun 4 PM - 10 PM, Sat 4 PM - 11 PM; Closed Mondays
Vegetarian items: Yes
Celiac friendly: Yes, some
Low-Carb: Yes, some. (The pizza is very thin crust, so the carbs would be lesser than regular pizza)