In a world where chain restaurants promise to deliver pizza in 30 minutes or less or offer to have your pie hot and ready, Harry’s Pizza Market is a bit of an outlier. Harry’s pizza takes time to reach perfection — 96 hours to be exact.
Four days may sound like a long time to wait for a pizza crust, but most diners will find every second worth it when they see and then taste the final product. The resulting creation offers the ideal combination of chewy on the inside and crisp on the bottom.
“They look nice and fluffy like a honeycomb, but they’ve got beautiful crunch on the bottom,” says Avni “Al” Latifi, who owns and operates the restaurant with his wife, Laurie.
When Harry’s Pizza Market opened in July at the former Harry’s Diner at Interstate on State Highway 42 in Sheboygan, it became the state’s first and only Roman al taglio-certified pizza maker. To achieve this designation, Al and his nephew, Adrian Latifi, completed a one-week, full-immersion class at the Roman Pizza Academy in Miami.
The Latifi family is not new to the restaurant industry, operating two other eateries in Sheboygan. Al and his brother, Harry Latifi, co-own and operate Harry’s Prohibition Bistro on South Pier Drive, and Harry owns the ’50s-themed breakfast and lunch eatery Harry’s Diner on Calumet Drive.
“You can have breakfast, lunch and dinner at one of our places,” Al says.
Al and Harry, natives of Macedonia, have long been on a quest to craft the ideal pizza. They were never happy with the pizza they ordered — it was all cheese and oil. To perfect the art, the pair went so far as to build their own pizza oven in Harry’s backyard. They’ve continued to hone their skills, and in addition to serving al taglio style — which translates to “by the cut” — they offer Neapolitan pizza at Harry’s Prohibition Bistro.
Al says perfecting the art of al taglio pizza has taken a lot of practice — and countless mounds of dough. Al and Harry piloted the pizza at Harry’s Prohibition Bistro, and people loved it, so much so the restaurant often ran out.
Favorites at Harry’s Pizza Market include the Marsala Beef Pizza featuring braised beef, red onions, mushrooms, crème fraiche, mozzarella and fresh basil, finished with a marsala demi-glace, and the Puttanesca Pizza with tomato sauce, garlic, olives, hot soppressata, calabrese peppers, fresh basil, mozzarella and parmesan cheese.
In addition to pizzas, it offers soups and salads and stand-out appetizers including the Roman Artichoke served with lemon, pesto and market bread, and the Market Fries with smoked mozzarella and burrata cheeses, crispy prosciutto and sun-dried tomatoes. Drink specials include cocktails made with the restaurant’s house-crafted Orangecello, and the bar also features a selection of Macedonian wines.
Diners will find Wisconsin-crafted products all over Harry’s Pizza Market, from the cheeses it uses on its pizzas to local brews and wines in the bar to Kohler fixtures in the restrooms.
The dining room carries a contemporary yet casual vibe.
Like all restaurants, the Latifis have had to adapt to the changes the pandemic has brought, including switching over to carryout and delivery throughout the Safer at Home order and remodeling their former restaurant to open a new one.
To help the effort, Laurie Latifi summoned her sewing skills — she had previously made all the poodle skirts the servers wear at Harry’s Diner — to make masks for the construction team. That inspired her to do even more.
“I said, ‘You know what, I have so much fabric. Why am I not doing this?’ I sewed over 200 and donated them,” Laurie says.
The family has rolled along with the changes and adapted along the way. With more people opting for carryout, Al and Laurie have decided to increase the focus on the restaurant’s to-go pizza offerings. They’re working to trademark their tagline of “You Heat, You Eat.” Different from take-and-bake pizza, customers can pick up their favorite pizza, pop it in the oven for a few minutes and enjoy the same experience at home that they would in the restaurant.
“On your way home, come and grab two pizzas, put them in your oven and you’re going to have a first-class pizza dinner at home without basically doing any work,” Al says.