You can tell Allan Rosenberg is happy to be back in pizza and in command of his own place. His smile is as wide as the New York-style slices he and wife, Shelly Rosenberg, began serving Monday at their new spot, Butchertown Pizza Hall, on Story Ave. in Butchertown.
Several years have passed since Rosenberg opened a trio of Papalino’s pizzerias across the city, and with their gradual demise, many bemoaned the loss of solid pies made simply and well.
But with the closing of Hall’s Cafeteria last year, the Rosenbergs saw a chance to get back in the pizza game—literally through the window of their home, where it shares the same lane as the legendary plate lunch spot. The two buildings are so close, he could crawl if necessary and still make good time.
“I’m not sure if I could make it any easier,” Rosenberg joked. For several months after the 2016 closure of his last restaurant, Fontleroy’s, he worked as chef de cuisine at Anoosh Bistro and Noosh Nosh. Now he’s in command of a quartet of brand new Marsal stone deck pizza ovens. “Maybe if we lived upstairs, yeah, that would be easier.”
But that arrangement wouldn’t work for long since the Rosenbergs plan to use the current finished space for private parties and live music, and by next spring they plan have converted its roof into an outdoor lounge with a bar.
“Don’t you think that will be cool?” he asked, eyes wide. “There’s so much potential here.”
Butchertown Pizza Hall is targeted toward a wide-ranging but not terribly disparate demographic: families, shift workers at the JBS Swift plant across the street, and late-night crowds looking affordable, sharable pies and inexpensive beer. Though craft beers are on hand, the bar is out loud and proud of its low-budget, big brewery lagers like Old Milwaukee, Miller Lite and Pabst Blue Ribbon.
“When you’re drinking beers that cost $2 to $3, and having a couple of slices, you can get out of here for around $10,” he said. Spinning around to reveal the back of his standard staff T-shirt, which reads, exactly, “Great Pizza, Shi**y Beer,” he added, “We like good stuff, too, but we want this to be as relaxed as possible. There’s nothing serious about this.”
The menu is simple: a plentiful range of pizzas, wings, salads, hoagies and desserts. Pizzas are customizable with a couple dozen toppings and cheeses, and 10 signature pizzas are available. All run 14-18 inches. There are daily slice specials ($3.50), such as a $7 lunchtime deal for a slice, two garlic knots and a soft drink.
But it’s not all about eating. There’s a nice game room with old school favorites like Ms. Pacman, Mortal Kombat, air hockey and tabletop shuffleboard, as well as a full, but limited bar. No fat-washed or hopped whiskey cocktails here: just the basics.
For now, it’s open daily during the week from 10:30 a.m. to midnight, and if business warrants, 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday.