WAUWATOSA — Balistreri's Italian/American Ristorante in Wauwatosa is considered an institution when it comes to family restaurants.
James Balitsteri opened it up back in 1967. Thomas Siever, who's now the GM, has been here for 45 years. Everyone there treats you like family.
"It plays a huge amount in what we do here," Siever says. "It is all about family. It's about consistency and quality. I have people that have been with me 40 years on down, so it makes a difference."
It also makes a difference when you're one of the best in the business in what you do. Their thin-crust pizza is legendary. They can pretty much make you whatever you want.
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"It's got a very thin crust, a lot of our people say our crust is very favorable," Siever explains. "A lot of crusts aren't different. To make it special, we have our own guy who makes our own recipe. He's local, and we're very proud of what our sausage tastes like. We don't skimp on ingredients and we don't skimp on quality."
And that's why their Italian food and pizza take-out business has been huge during the pandemic. They have tables out front, but they are expecting a bit of a hit inside now that they have to cut their capacity to the 25-percent limit.
"For our staff that we love, that have been with us, it's been extremely difficult for them" Siever laments. "Obviously, we seat one hundred people here so 25 percent is 25 people."