Toppers Vegan Pizza Debut in 2020
It’s all happening, my fellow vegan pizza lovers. Toppers Pizza, based out of Whitewater, Wisconsin has launched its first vegan-based menu options which are available now for you to enjoy. With its initial rollout this last July in Madison, Toppers vegan pizza options launched here in Milwaukee in October and news of this spread across town like wildfire. Toppers is well known in Wisconsin and the Midwest for its great pizza and late night availability. Having opened its first store 27 years ago in our state, it has gained its place on the pizza chain scene ever since. In the Milwaukee area, you’ll find locations all across town, including Bay View, the East Side, Franklin, South Milwaukee, Menomonee Falls, Wauwatosa, West Allis, Greenfield, and Waukesha.
With help from local chef Melanie Manuel, Toppers now offers three vegan specialty pizzas. We at Vegan Milwaukee had a chance to try all three, and we definitely enjoyed every bite! The Tuscano Topper, Buffalo Chicken-less Topper and Korean BBQ Chicken-less Topper—all very unique, shining highlights on bold, unique and classic flavors.
Hands down, the most unique of these three would be the Korean BBQ Chicken-less Topper. With a base sauce of sweet and spicy Korean BBQ, this treat is topped with vegan mozzarella, breaded and sliced vegan chicken and then tossed with onions and green pepper slices. At first bite, I was surprised at the level of spice, but then the sweetness balanced it out without leaving an after-burn. It genuinely gave me an impression of Korean stir fry sauce on a pizza at first bite, then slightly turned into the BBQ flavor I was expecting. The accompanying toppings were simple and worked great. I would order this specialty pie if I was in the mood for pizza, but wanted a departure from traditional pizza flavors.
My personal favorite was the Vegan Buffalo Chicken-less Topper. This had all the bold flavors you would expect based on its name, and just screams to be eaten while watching your favorite sporting event or when you can’t decide between vegan pizza and vegan wings. With its just-right-spice-level base of Buffalo sauce, topped with those crispy vegan chicken strips, diced green onion and vegan mozzarella, the real winner in this one was the decision to have the entire pizza drizzled with a vegan ranch sauce. They went ahead and made that genius decision for all of us and, as a result, this pizza is a screaming success. Grab yourself an ice cold beer with this one, because you’ll be going back for more until the very last slice.
Last, but surely not least is the Tuscano Topper. This might end up being the pizza I’d order most frequently from Toppers. Due to it’s more traditional red sauce base and fresh toppings of spinach, green olives and garlic-roasted tomatoes with vegan mozzarella, it has that authentic Italian flavor that you’d expect from a more conventional pizza. The flavors in this one were perfectly balanced, seasoned nicely and the veggies were evenly distributed through each and every slice. This will definitely be a staple menu item that I can see anyone ordering. The approach to go more conventional with this last specialty pie was a smart decision. The blend of flavors in the Tuscano will surely have you wanting more.
It’s also worth noting that, when it comes to vegan ingredients, Toppers is using Follow Your Heart vegan Mozzarella for their cheese option, which I know is exciting for many vegans wishing for an alternative to the frequently chosen Daiya cheese at other establishments. Their vegan chicken-less topping is made from Gardein meatless “chick’n,” which is a soy-based chicken alternative that is very close to the real thing in taste and texture.
Obviously, when rolling out new menu items, it takes time to perfect the consistent delivery of the precise flavors that they worked so hard to create. I have read of a few issues people have encountered with their orders, but keep in mind that like any new featured item at a restaurant, some changes take more time and can vary based on location—including how well trained the employees are at understanding vegan terminology, flavors and cooking methods. Communication is key during this time—if something needs to be addressed regarding your order, simply reach out to your local store and I’m sure they will be more than happy to listen, learn and improve what they are already doing to create your delicious pie! We had an excellent experience with the team at the Bay View location and expect that will continue.
Toppers has made an impactful decision by stepping on board the vegan food train. They deserve a standing ovation, along with Melanie Manuel who worked so hard alongside them to create delicious vegan options for all of us. For more info, visit the Toppers website and click on the “Vegan Friendly Choices” button at the bottom of the page for additional vegan friendly ingredients—from sauces, crusts and toppings to create your very own pizza design—or choose from one of the three delicious reviewed pizzas in this blog. Enjoy your winter of vegan pizza possibilities from Toppers Pizza!
Ricky of Vegan Milwaukee