• Mike Sula
  • Pepperoni and sweet pepper, Roxie’s by the Slice

One of my very favorite things about the restaurants in Brendan Sodikoff’s Hogsalt Hospitality empire is the consistent excellence of the bread. OK, I’m not such a fan of the doughnuts. But the cross-platform enjoyability of the hearty sourdough batards at Bavette’s, the crusty grilled bread served with the bone marrow at Maude’s and Gilt Bar, the shellacked egg bun of the fried bologna sandwich at Au Cheval, and the fennel-sesame sourdough at Cocello all make me question why the company hasn’t opened a bakery yet.

They certainly gave me high hopes for the pizza, which arrived a few months back in the stand-alone little shack once inhabited by Cafe con Leche. Roxie’s by the Slice is a likably minimal operation, offering large slices of white or red pies at $4.50 apiece, with a choice of just eight toppings—pepperoni, prosciutto, sopressata, anchovies, arugula, sweet peppers, olives, and mushrooms—for $1 each. There are 14 beers on draft, five more in cans and bottles, two choices of wine—red or white, just like the pizza—five sodas, and, served by the shot, Jack Daniels Black and Underberg, the Jager-like bitter that’s the antidote if you find your stomach embiggening with too much dough.

That’s entirely possible because these are generous slices. They benefit from a prebake that crisps the underskirt but balloons the upper layer with microcaverns of open space. It’s a formidable New York-style slice in area but much doughier in volume. A second bake is performed to order, with sauce and toppings applied. The red sauce is bright and acidic enough that its rather spare application isn’t much of a problem, while the white sauce is applied generously enough that it becomes one with the cheese. In totality it’s some pretty good bread, ideally situated by convenience and timing for optimal hangover prophylaxis.

More bread from Hogsalt, please.

Roxie’s By the Slice, 1732 N. Milwaukee. No Phone.