Pizza Man: "An East Side Institution"

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MILWAUKEE - People who live on the east side call the fire that burned down Pizza Man and three other restaurants and bars a huge loss for the area.

Karina Schafer has lived on the east side her whole life.

When she heard about the fire on the corner of Oakland and North avenues, she grabbed her camera and started snapping away.

She realized this scene was one she will never forget.

"It's an east side institution," said Karina.

Pizza Man Fire Coverage

Read:
Pizza Man Total Loss after Fire 
"East Side Institution"
"A Wonderful Little Place"
Memories of Pizza Man
The Cold-Filtered Ramblings of Gene Mueller: "Pizza Man, We Hardly Knew Ye"

Watch: 
Raw video of the fire
Raw video of the building collapsing
The entire 7:30 a.m. news conference with acting Milwaukee Fire Chief Michael Jones

Interact: 
E-mail your memories of Pizza Man here or tweet them @620wtmj or @TODAYSTMJ4

"All around here, its a small little world. Your heart kind of breaks a little cause. It's another part of the east side that's gone."

With smoke and flames billowing into the early morning sky, it was obvious pretty quickly that this building was a total loss.

One of Milwaukee's popular restaurants, Pizza Man, was housed here.

Inside the 40 year old restaurant was tremendous decor, from woodwork to stone, and along with great pizza, it offered an award-winning wine list.

"One of the first things I thought of was that bar. That back bar is gorgeous, the woodwork and the craftsmanship."

All of it, gone.

"You can barely see anything because the smoke is so dense," said Karina.

"I was trying just to see the Pizza Man sign, and just getting a glimpse of that through the smoke was pretty hard."

Josh Biros lives down the street from the fire. He realized something was going on when WE Energies cut the heat off in the area.

Pizza Man was one of Josh's favorite spots on the east side.

"Pizza man was really the best place to go if you're trying to take your family out in Milwaukee," said Josh.

"Great wine list."

The restaurant, along with three other businesses and 10 apartments, are destroyed.