Paisan’s produces popular pizza and more

Paisan’s first appeared in the 1982 Best of Madison list for inexpensive dining, and it has won 53 total awards.
Pizza from Paisans
Photo by Larry Chua

Since 1950, Paisan’s has been many readers’ go-to for casual Italian food and pizza. The restaurant has survived four location changes since it first opened, moving from Park Street to University Avenue, then to the basement of its sister restaurant, Porta Bella, and eventually to its current location overlooking Lake Monona in 2006. Paisan’s first appeared in the 1982 Best of Madison list for inexpensive dining. It soon became well-known for its made-to-order pizzas. Its first of seven pizza wins was secured in 1986.

Pizza has remained a mainstay on Paisan’s menu throughout the years, but the restaurant offers other Italian dishes as well. Established in the Greenbush neighborhood in Madison, Paisan’s continues to use recipes developed at its original location. The first win for Paisan’s in the Italian category came in 1997, with 15 more awards since then, including silver wins in 2020 and 2021.

Since moving to its current location in 2006, one of Paisan’s most recognizable and popular assets is the one-of-a-kind view of Lake Monona you get from the patio seating. The restaurant has won 15 awards for the view, and another nine for outdoor dining and the patio space.

Read more about the Best of Madison Legacy Awards here.

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