New Riverfront pizza impresses with zesty sauce, smoke-free space

Bright, spacious and wonderfully smoke-free (don’t worry, smokers, there’s easy access to a Riverwalk smoking area) the new Riverfront Pizzeria Bar and Grill, 509 E. Erie St., is poised to throw its hat into the ring as best pizza in Downtown.

A Friday night visit to the new Third Ward stop found it full of people -- including Fox 6’s Mark Concannon, his wife and a group of friends -- good service, fun vibes and wonderful pizza.

A second location for owners Rick & Kathy Loch, this space is a joint family venture from son, Rich and his sister Brenda Regenfelder. Riverfront Pizza Bar and Grill has successfully replicated its thin (but not paper thin) crust, zesty sauce and warm Italian spirit from its original Greendale location, 5627 Broad St.

With 10 specialty pizzas on the menu, there’s more than enough selection to make any group happy. There’s a taco pizza, a cheeseburger variety, a BLT, a veggie, the standard deluxe (cheese, sausage or pepperoni, fresh mushrooms, onions, green peppers and black olives), the special (cheese, sausage or pepperoni, fresh mushrooms and onions) and others. Of course, you can also customize with additional toppings.

Our group of six snagged a table just at the end of the bar, within viewing distance of the two flat screens, ordered beers from the solid list and two large (15-inch) pizzas. The Mediterranean variety was amazing. With Roma tomatoes, green and black olives, onions, sausage and cheese it was the perfect post-Thanksgiving feast. Our special pizza (cheese, pepperoni, fresh mushrooms and onions) was equally good with perfectly melted cheeses and yes, mushrooms that were fresh, not from a can.

If you were wondering, our bill (that included 10 beers, one soda and two pizzas) came to about $90. The large special pizza was priced at $18.25. 

Not in the mood for pizza? The new Riverwalk stop offers Italian-American comfort food as well. Sandwiches, panini, burgers, pasta and even a fish fry are all on the menu.

It’s always made me a bit sad that one of Milwaukee’s most Italian neighborhoods lacked a great Italian joint. While Americanized pizza may not be the most Italian of all the country’s foods, let’s face it it’s what many associate with Italian cooking. So, the Italian in me warmly welcomes great pizza to the neighborhood.

In a city full of many fine pizza options, Milwaukee’s Third Ward has found, thanks to Greendale, another great pizza and a new, cozy family-style restaurant that’s sure to please for years to come.

Talkbacks

milwhowie | Jan. 8, 2007 at 5:40 a.m. (report)

I was at the Riverfront recently and a gentleman from Chicago was overheard to say, "This is the best pizza I've EVER had in Milwaukee." Quite a compliment I would think. I agree. I cook a lot, enjoy good food and will frequent Riverfront. Can't wait for the sights when the patio is open. Welcome to the Third Ward you Ricardo folks! A polite and concerned staff awaits your presence.

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bcass3 | Nov. 27, 2006 at 1:59 a.m. (report)

Smoke free? A sizable downtown establishment with good food that 'gets it'? Gets that the tide has turned and people are just begging to enjoy smoke-free dining?
Heck, even if the pizza were fair; they've got themselves a new customer. Congrats!!!

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milwhowie | Nov. 26, 2006 at 4:39 p.m. (report)

I've been there a few times since they opened on Nov. 17th and was greatly impressed with the food, beverages, ambiance and the service. Reasonable prices will make this my new FESTA RICARDO'S. None better in the Third Ward. The street parking was no problemo! If you thought RICARDO'S in Greendale was great - try their new and successful venture on E. Erie St. Seating capacity almost guarantees no waiting for a table. Did I mention that the fish fry is superb?

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