Racine, Wisconsin: it’s probably not on your list of places to visit if you live in Milwaukee or Chicago. You’ve driven right past the exit sign if you’ve made the trip between these two cities and never thought twice about what or who may be at the end of 10 miles of dilapidated concrete. All you know is that unless you need to make a stop at a gas station, you’re not getting off the interstate to find out.
This is a mistake, and let me tell you why.
First of all, sitting in front of me is the best pizza in the state of Wisconsin. And that Hamm’s only cost me 97 cents. [Disclosure: I work for MillerCoors, but that has nothing to do with the preposterously low price.] Wells Brothers Italian Restaurant is a landmark. Old family photographs line the walls behind me capturing different generations since the restaurant opened in 1921.
Over the years, the neighborhood has changed, but the pizza has not. Every time I take a bite, I’m suddenly six years old and visiting my grandfather. The paper doily underneath the pizza soaks up the voluminous oils from the cheese and pepperoni. The crust is slightly blackened, but perfectly crispy. I eat half of the pizza without thinking. And before I even have to ask, another beer sits in waiting, ready to finish the job.