Pizza and Politics: That’s Amore!

Whatever the toppings, every pizza's better with lots of Wisconsin cheese. (Shutterstock image)

By Pat Kreitlow

February 8, 2024

National Pizza Day is a great opportunity to consider your favorite toppings and restaurants.

Wisconsin and Italy have more in common than you might think. Thanks to a geological feature called the Niagara Escarpment, Wisconsin-grown grapes make for some interesting wines. And, of course, America’s Dairyland provides the best pizza cheeses in the land.

On this National Pizza Day, you won’t be surprised to learn that everyone has their favorites—including some of the elected officials and regular guests who visit us on UpNorthNews Radio.

Gov. Tony Evers once gave a shout-out to a favorite Madison pizza joint, Sal’s Tomato Pies. Years earlier, as a teenager in Plymouth, he and his buddies would hang out at Dino’s, when he wasn’t working with cheese at the local Borden plant.

Secretary of State Sarah Godlewski tells us, “ I love ALL pizza. It’s one of my favorite foods. I do love veggie or cheese and mushroom pizza.”

Frequent guest Dr. Kristin Lyerly jumped all over the topic. “I have a lot to say about pizza!”

“Our family go-to had been Gallagher’s, a local Green Bay chain,” said Lyerly, a mom to four sons. “But recently I have been enjoying brick-fired pizzas at Cocoon and Hinterland breweries. The beer complement doesn’t hurt! One of the smartest mom moves I ever made was the purchase of a Wisco Industries pizza oven that lives in our bar. As long as I keep the freezer stocked, the boys and their friends will never go hungry!”

Political strategist Joe Zepecki also provided a couple of hometown favorites from the Milwaukee area.

“Zaffiros ‘special,’ sausage, mushroom, and onion, is the traditional favorite,” Zepecki said. “But Pizza and Curry in Shorewood has an amazing chicken tandoori pie.”

And at home, another Wisconsin favorite: “I’m a Jack’s guy and make no apologies!”

Our resident sports contributor, Dan Schumacher, may live in Ashland and work as athletic director at Northland College, but he remains true to his roots on Chicago’s South Side.

“Fox’s Pizza, the original in the Beverly neighborhood, at 99th and Western Avenue.”

Pizza played a role in the massive 2011 demonstrations at the state Capitol against what later became known as Act 10, the measure busting public employee unions. Ian’s Pizza, near Capitol Square on State Street, began receiving orders from people across the country who wanted to buy pizza for the protesters. At one point, they were making 1,200 pizzas a day. Ian’s remains a favorite to Rep. Jodi Emerson (D-Eau Claire).

“My husband complains every time I suggest pizza,” Emerson said. “So if I eat it in Madison, I don’t have to listen to it!”

And we’ll finish with regular guest and dairy farmer Hans Breitenmoser from the Merrill area in Lincoln County, whose favorite pizza is always nearby.

“Best by far is my mom’s homemade pizza with everything on it!”


  • Pat Kreitlow

    The Founding Editor of UpNorthNews, Pat was a familiar presence on radio and TV stations in western Wisconsin before serving in the state Legislature. After a brief stint living in the Caribbean, Pat and wife returned to Chippewa Falls to be closer to their growing group of grandchildren. He now serves as UNN's chief political correspondent and host of UpNorthNews Radio, airing weekday mornings 6 a.m.-8 a.m on the Civic Media radio network and the UpNorthNews Facebook page.



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