The menu at Riverwest Pizza features an extensive list of specialty pizzas but also includes salads, appetizers and sandwiches.
The menu at Riverwest Pizza features an extensive list of specialty pizzas but also includes salads, appetizers and sandwiches.

In search of the perfect pizza: Riverwest Pizza

As some of you recall, I grew up in Riverwest and enjoyed pizza from two neighborhood restaurants. Since then, a void in neighborhood pizzerias developed. Fortunately, in December 2014, Shaun Hutchens and Andrea Haas opened Riverwest Pizza at 932 E. Wright St.

I think Riverwest Pizza looks more like a bar than a restaurant, due to the large bar and large flat screen TV above it. The walls are painted slate gray, and most are adorned with art from local artists – some of it for sale.  

One of the characteristics we appreciated most was the design of the tables. Haas explained that when Hutchens was pulling back layers of flooring during construction, he found bamboo flooring. He was able to refurbish the bamboo, apply the Riverwest Pizza logo to it and added a clear coat of epoxy so that they could be used as table tops.

It was quiet when we visited on a Sunday afternoon. The TV was on, but the sound was off, since music was playing. I’m not sure I could describe the genre of the music other than it was one of few genres that I don’t listen to. Maybe it was a bit punk rock-ish, so not exactly traditional dining music, but perhaps a popular choice with the regular clientele.

The menu features an extensive list of specialty pizzas but also includes salads, appetizers and sandwiches. The specialty pizzas include recipes held over from the original chef, as well as collaborations among the owners and current pizza chef Jessica Schuster, a Riverwest resident who Haas told me has a lot of pizza experience.

Riverwest Pizza only serves a thin crust, and it comes in two sizes: a 14-inch small and an 18-inch large. Cheese pizzas cost $11 and $13 respectively, with additional toppings ranging from $2 to $5 each. Specialty pizzas range from $14 to $20. I’m told personal sized pizzas are sold weekdays until 7 p.m. for $6.

"Gluten-less" crusts are also available for an additional $2. The menu explains that while the kitchen isn’t a certified as a gluten-free kitchen…

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