It seemed as if there were layers upon layers of cheese, below the toppings and above.
It seemed as if there were layers upon layers of cheese, below the toppings and above.

In search of the perfect pizza: Alphonso's in West Allis

I enjoy a great story as much as a great pizza, Alphonso's owners Corey Washington and Tim Szuta have both.

I discovered Alphonso's, 1119 S. 108th St., in West Allis,  thanks to a deal I purchased in January. I'd noticed a couple of different pizza places next to Tandoor on my visits there over the years, but I never got around to trying them until recently.

I walked in and saw a menu on the wall with the words "cracker crust." I was instantly optimistic for what was to come. Two guys in their 20s were behind the counter, one making pizzas and the other having just returned from a delivery. I eventually learned that these were the owners. I placed my order with Corey and watched him go to work.

While my pizza was baking I looked around the waiting area. A card table and chairs were just inside the store entrance and to the right. Above the table was a TV and next to the TV hung a boxing robe and boxing gloves. They belonged to Corey's grandfather.

Corey and Tim are big boxing fans, but also love for classic cars. The latter has significant meaning and a great story to the very existence of this pizzeria, but first let's get to the pizza!

It was difficult to watch my pizza come out of the oven and go into the box, knowing it would be at least 10 minutes before I could taste it. I hoped I wouldn't catch any red lights on the way home. I eventually arrived and it was go time. For me, there's just something special about opening the pizza box, looking inside and thinking "you're mine."

I picked up the first slice and was impressed by how heavy and sturdy it was. It seemed as if there were layers upon layers of cheese, below the toppings and above. Then I took the first bite, starting near the edge of the crust, and heard a loud crunch, similar to that of a thick Saltine cracker (yes).

Then I was hit by the "wow factor." That sauce! It was savory with a bit of sweetness, a delicious combination of seasoning. Combined with the thick layers of cheese and the sauce, I wouldn't have needed any other toppings to enjoy this pizza.

However, I don't eat cereal without milk, or burgers without fries, and I don't eat pizza without toppings. Fresh mushrooms, chunks of Italian sausage, and thin slices of pepperoni made this great pizza even better. How did two guys this young learn to make pizza like this? Ah, that's right – the story.

Alphonso's offers several pizza crust options: cracker crust, New York style, Super Bee (honey crust), Herbie (herb crust), Evel Knievel (ghost pepper crust – yes, ghost pepper), or you can order a stuffed pizza.

The menu also features calzones, specialty pizzas named after cars like the Cutlass Supreme (sausage, mushrooms, pepperoni, onions, green peppers and black olives), toasted sub sandwiches with boxing names like the Marciano Meatball and the Sugar Ray, and appetizers such as the Fuel Injected Garlic Bread, with garlic butter infused into the bread (this was some of the best garlic bread I've had anywhere).

You're probably sold on Alphonso's pizza now (did I mention it's veteran-owned?), but I also promised you a story. You want to know who Alphonso is, don't you? Below the glass covered counter, you will find the story of two boys who stumbled upon a 1968 Chevelle, owned by a special man that would change their lives, or if you can't wait to read it at the pizzeria, just click here.

Alphonso's, (414) 755-0341, is open Tuesday-Sunday, 4-10 p.m. Carry-out and delivery only (call for delivery area).

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