Born in Calabria, Italy, in 1888, Santora “Fred” Iozzo immigrated to New York City at the age of 17, hoping to create a new life for himself and the family he planned to build. After working on railroad lines in Massachusetts and Ohio, Fred landed in Indianapolis and quickly established an empire of grocery stores throughout the city. The economic onslaught of the Great Depression proved to be too much for this empire, though, and shop after shop began to close. Fred decided to begin anew yet again, founding a restaurant in 1930, naming it Iozzo’s Garden of Italy, and heading up operations until its unfortunate closure in 1940.
Along with her husband, Greg, Katie Harris decided to honor the memory of her great-grandfather Fred by reopening the restaurant in 2009. The reimagined establishment incorporates a few modern touches, but it mainly draws inspiration from traditional Italian culture. The chefs form meatballs by hand and make everything from alfredo to bolognese sauces in-house. At the same time, they embrace a slightly more modern approach by offering whole-wheat and gluten-free pastas, throwing in menu curveballs such as maple-bourbon pork, and serving holographic chicken piccata. Their culinary diligence earned them a Best of Metromix award in 2011.
With its rustic brickwork, wooden floorboards, and Tuscan-yellow walls, the eatery’s dining room exudes a rustic charm, and the pendant lamps and linen-draped tables add small touches of contemporary refinement. Outdoors, the courtyard area echoes the Old-World ambiance, recreating the feel of an Italian alleyway complete with a faux street lamp and cobblestone walkway.
HotBox Pizza’s cooks adorn three varieties of hand-tossed dough canvases with six savory sauces, cheeses, and 26 toppings to create a menu of dine-in, takeout, and delivery pies. The signature HotBox combines double spicy pepperoni and banana peppers, and Big Al’s Fredo fights off pernicious poultry cravings with a combination of chicken, roma tomatoes, fresh spinach, and banana peppers. Aspiring pizza architects can blueprint their own pies by laying down traditional, thin, or multigrain foundations and selecting from six varieties of sauce-carpeting. Doughy disks simmer with mozzarella, ricotta, Wisconsin cheddar, or fontina cheeses to hold down up to four toppings such as pepperoni and artichoke hearts. Circle-eaters can also save room in their knapsacks or hollow shoe-heels for fresh salad and bundles of breadsticks that come with nacho-cheese, pizza, ranch, or garlic sauce, and wash down stubborn bites with refreshing slurps of soda.
The cooks at Barlo's Pizza believe every pizza should be thoroughly delicious. That's why they offer a bold guarantee: if a customer orders a less-than-stellar pizza from any other area restaurant, Barlo's Pizza will replace the uneaten portion with slices of their own cheesy, savory pies.
Barlo's Pizza makes it easy to feed a group of any size. Diners can order gourmet pizzas in sizes that range from 10 to 29 inches, or opt for a high-value family-bundle meal. The spot's cooks cater to different dining preferences by crafting hand-tossed dough into Chicago-style deep-dish pies as well as gourmet flatbreads. Other specialties include saucy buffalo wings and sumptuous pasta dishes. Diners can enjoy a leisurely meal in a spacious dining room, or order take-and-bake menu items to go for when too many pizza dinners out have made your oven lonely. On Friday nights, local singers and acoustic bands entertain the crowd.
This tavern feels like home for the staff of Gallagher's II Irish Pub, and these friends and family of the Himeses strive to share the welcome with their guests. The bright atmosphere invites patrons to stop by for a pint, a plate, and the game. A menu includes classic burgers, steaks, and shareable appetizers. Gourmet hand-tossed and New York–style pizzas serve up specialties such as the Sink, named for its plentiful toppings and antique faucet handles.
Slices and sips are shared on an outdoor patio or in spacious rooms with two full-service bars, plenty of flat-screen TVs, and a 9'x12' Jumbotron screening the biggest games. Free WiFi keeps guests in touch with both home and office, and three pool tables fuel friendly rivalries. The pub also boats a private loft space ready to host special events for up to 100 guests.
For Chicago-style dining in Indianapolis, many locals favor South of Chicago; known for thin and deep-dish pizza and Italian beef sandwiches. South of Chicago can be found on Virginia Avenue, near the Fountain Square area. Housed in a two story, red-brick building, the facility is marked by a pair of bright green awnings that signify two separate sections. Within the north side’s dine-in area, patrons can’t help but notice a variety of Chicago-related sports memorabilia hung on the walls. In fact, the Cubs, White Sox, Bears, Bulls and Blackhawks are well-represented through pictures, posters, banners and signs. Aside from pizza, other popular menu items include the meatball sandwich, hot ham and cheese sandwich and the lasagna.
A swirl of signature red sauce on hand-tossed, made-from-scratch dough begins the formation of Za Pizza's classic New York–style pies. Next, the chefs sprinkle on fresh veggies, meats, and cheeses to create house pizzas, such as nick the greek—a union of spinach, roasted red pepper, olives, and feta—or porky's meaty mélange of bacon, ham, pepperoni, and italian sausage. Finished pies are divvied into gargantuan triangles in keeping with Za's claim to be the home of the "Biggest Slice in Broad Ripple," as well as home to the most ambitious pizza scissors in the Midwest.
In addition to offering great people-watching views from its front room with windows overlooking Broad Ripple Avenue, Za caters to the Broad Ripple bar-hopping crowd with an extensive wine and beer selection to pair with pizza, boneless wings, and calzones. Za's family-friendly Upper Room features 10 beers on tap, including selections from local award-winning favorite Sun King Brewery as well as PBR, the favorite of uncles everywhere. Families, including beer-swilling adults and their mustachioed babies, are welcome in the dining area of the Upper Room.