Milwaukee’s first and, so far, only food tour is a welcome addition to the city. A bonus is that the tour guide, Theresa Nemetz of Milwaukee Food Tours, also informs the group about much of the colorful history of the two areas covered, even though many of the actual physical traces no longer exist.Since Milwaukee’s downtown, as most large cities, was populated before the suburbs, the bulk of the history of the area is in what used to be the German ghetto and the Italian ghetto. (“Ghetto” is used not to denote slum areas, as the word has come to mean, but in the older, traditional sense - an area where people of a certain, common ethnic origin reside.)Our tour started near the upper end of Brady Street with a meet in front of Zaffiro’s Pizza on Farwell Avenue, a few steps away from the “Five Corners” area. We were a group of about 20, most of us from the local area, the remaining few within 50 miles of Milwaukee. Theresa has had foodies from all over, though, including many areas in the United States and Europe, and a few from the remainder of the world, including South America. The tour is still new. Given sufficient time for the word to spread, I guarantee it’ll grow.Zaffiro’s sits on the very edge of what used to be the Italian section of town, which includes Brady Street. Brady Street used to be the center of the counterculture when it was still called that back in the 1960s. Looking for a sit-in, a be-in, a happening, or a protest? It was all here on Brady Street, any day of the week, back in the day.I moved to Milwaukee in late 1999, and as I do in every city, I took a bus tour. Then I bought a pass for the city buses and just rode all over the area, deciding where I wanted to plant my feet for a lengthier stay. When the bus started up from Water Street at the bottom of the hill leading to Brady Street, I sensed an immediate change in the texture and tempo of the city. By the time we’d traversed half of Brady’s short span, perhaps eight blocks, I’d decided that this was where I’d get my apartment. Even though it was nearing the end of a long decline from the heyday of the 60s, it was still a neat, funky, homey, friendly, no pretense area. My kinda place!Theresa started the tour with a quick overview of the two areas we’d be traveling through. Our first stop was less than five steps away. We went into Zaffiro’s, where they were expecting us. After a brief flurry of servers bringing trays of Zaffiro’s signature pizza and drinks for everyone, we tucked in for the absolute best pizza in the city, and the area as far as I’ve explored. Two traits identify their signature dish: Ultra-thin crust, and the pizza is cut into squares rather than slices.Zaffiro’s began in 1956 when the family took over a former barbershop. Little has changed inside over the years except for the staff. The pizza and other Italian dishes are made with the same recipes as the original. Zaffiro’s had just announced that week that a Milwaukee company, the Marcus Corporation, will be taking the restaurant through the franchising and syndication process, so we had the honor of feasting at the original.During our meal, and in the following walk to the next stop, Theresa regaled us with historical vignettes of certain highlights in our walk. She told us about the origin of the “Margherita” pizza, the origins of the dish, the Midwest tradition of the square cut and cracker-thinness of the crust, some of the Prohibition and speakeasy tales that have circulated, as well as the origins of the area’s original Italian immigrants, which include Theresa’s own great-grandparents, who came from Sicily.The next stop on the Brady Street tour included Sciortino’s Bakery, where we sampled cannoli. Sciortino’s has been in the same location for over 60 years, and was bought ten years ago by another Italian family, although the name has remained. Sciortino’s is a tiny shop, crammed full of homemade goodies, so we did our sampling on the street as Theresa gave us the history of the immediate area, which includes the charming story of how Three Holy Women Catholic Parish got its name. From there we passed a landmark that’s not included in the tour, Art Smart’s Dart Mart and Juggling Emporium. Even if you don’t care much for darts and juggling, tell me how you can resist the place.Just a half-block down the street is Glorioso Brothers Grocery, our next stop, where we sampled varieties of Italian olives. (Don’t tell anybody, but they also carry Greek olives.) Joe is the capo de tutti capi of the Brady Street Italian neighborhood. He’s been honored many times for not only his civic and business contributions to the area; Joe is also one of the founders of Milwaukee’s Festa Italiana and the Italian Community Center.