27 Great Midwest Pizzerias
Milwaukee: Palermo’s villa-style factory
For a glimpse into your favorite frozen food, head just east of the Milwaukee Brewers ballpark. “First villa on the left,” says Palermo’s Pizza marketing director Chris Dresselhuys by way of directions.
Italian runs deep at Palermo’s, owned by a family that immigrated in the 1950s and later modeled their factory after a 16th-century Tuscan villa, complete with fountain.
“The Midwest is the epicenter of frozen pizza,” Chris says, looking at a production line that uses 1.63 million pounds of mozzarella a month and a conveyor-belt oven outfitted with slabs of Italian marble. On the tour, visitors watch towers of pepperoni fall in slices and smell the yeasty aroma of crusts rising on spiraling conveyors where they cool as they travel.
By the time guests reach the cafe at the end of the tour, they’re hungry for, of course, a free slice of hot Palermo’s pizza topped with flash-frozen veggies that pop on the palate like the pizza was, well, made right in front of you. Tour info: palermospizza.com