Four Bucks?! Breakfast at the Pizza Man

by Robert Lilligard

I have long joked that Superior is a paradise but I’m getting more serious about that lately. The same sized houses are way cheaper in north Superior than the nice parts of Duluth, we have fewer regulations to deal with, and we don’t have to drive up hills. And this is purely subjective, but anecdotally I’ve also noticed people are nicer. I don’t know if it’s a Wisconsin thing, or a smaller town thing, or what, but people at the grocery store are always smiling and asking us about our kids.

Now I can add the Pizza Man to things I like about Superior. (There’s a Pizza Man in Duluth, but they don’t do breakfast). They kept spamming us with those mailers you see sometimes, beautiful pictures of pizza next to ads for the lock and key service or auto glass replacement. But the pitch was compelling. Monday–Thursday breakfast specials, 5 under $5 and 4 under $4. $4! That’s less than I pay for one cup of coffee at...well, never mind where, you probably could think of a couple of places with prices like that.

Did I mention the breakfast specials include coffee?

I brought my two daughters, ages 2 and 4, there the other day. Normally I bring them to upscale brunch spots and right away I noticed the difference. To be exact: the Pizza Man gave my girls plastic cups, with lids and straws, and cool moose cartoons on the outside. At the hip brunch spots you have to be like “girls! don’t spill your trendy Mason jar!” And that’s the best case scenario—sometimes the girls get handed a full size adult glass filled with water and ice. Server, your optimism is touching.

The Pizza Man was much more of a diner feel. We bellied up to the counter and ordered hash browns, eggs, an omelet, and toast. Anywhere you go, the classic American breakfast is a miracle. Like homemade sourdough or a simple pizza, it’s the perfect alchemy of inexpensive ingredients. There is an art to getting perfectly golden brown hash browns, over easy eggs at the right degree of doneness, and crisp bacon. But there is an even higher art to getting them all done at the same time. I will never achieve this myself but I can acquire it for a few bucks anywhere across this beloved country. You can quibble about America’s economy or culture, but as long as the diner endures, there will be at least one great institution in this country.

The rest of the menu looks fine: reasonable pizzas, deep fried stuff, etc. I’m just happy it’s an easy walk from my new house. I know Superior has its issues, like lower wages or schools that don’t rank super highly, but in spite of our reputation we actually have a significantly lower crime rate per person than Duluth. Look it up. At some point, you Duluth readers gotta get over the stigma and learn what we on this side of the bridge already know. We’ve got some good stuff over here. And as my friend Michelle says, “the bridge goes both ways”.