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.
Though Vito Provolone's has been around for 17 years, its tradition of hospitality stretches back to 1948—the year that Vito Gramaglia returned to his hometown of Modugno, Italy, from America. Once there, he began a decades-long charitable campaign, raising funds for the orphanages and disenfranchised populations. His contributions eventually earned him a Gold Star of Italy from the government.
Two generations later, Jim DeCamp Jr. honors his grandfather with a restaurant that bears his name. Inside, the familial and welcoming spirit that Vito was famous for still reigns, but it's been joined by a commitment to authentic Italian cooking.
Specialty pizzas encourage sharing, and build-your-own pasta entrees allow for personal touches, such as add-ons of Italian sausage or meatballs that look like your favorite celebrity's head if you squint. Sips of domestic and imported beers and wine follow bites of chicken marsala or tilapia in a lemon-caper sauce.
King David Dogs' original hot dog, highly praised by Nuvo, was originally developed by the Hene Meat Company in the 1940s and populated local grocery stores and delis until the '90s. As an effort to bring back his family's business, Brent Joseph, William Hene's grandson, re-created the Hene recipe, and thus, King David Dogs was born. To complement the celebrated encased creations, the cooks dream up elaborate topping combos and have been rewarded for their creativity with Best Hot Dog awards from Metromix and CityVoter.
The menu totes flavors from all over the map, from the garden-topped Chicago dog to the Hula dog, which is laden with pineapple relish and will shake its hips if asked nicely. Other versions support fried eggs and chili or pay homage to the state fair in a cocoon of corn dough. Also available are authentic italian beef sandwiches and during the winter months, homemade chicken and dumplings.
When asked for the secret behind his delicious barbecue dishes by reporters from the LISC Indianapolis Blog, Judge Smith answered, "That's easy. It's time." Judge spent more than 10 years developing his barbecue sauce, experimenting with different recipes and spices to procure the signature tangy taste. Today, he owns his own barbecue joint, where he pairs spicy, medium, and hot versions of his sauce with the meaty sandwiches, ribs, and platters that won him accolades from CityVoter. Judge smokes his meats slowly, sending the zesty aroma of pulled pork and sausages sailing through the restaurant.
Out in the dining room, where colorful sports flags and pendants hang on the walls, diners linger over sips of fresh fruit smoothies and bites of sweet-potato pie. After meals, guests can take home a bottle of Judge's signature sauce to use for making their own barbecue or for hosting the world’s first barbecue-balloon fight.
The chefs at TJ's Kitchen cook more than 70 entrees for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but diners only need to glimpse a few of them to pick up on the comfort-food vibe. For dinner, guests feast on hand-breaded country-fried steak or stuffed burgers made with 100% Angus beef, then finish with a dessert of apple crisp topped with homemade caramel sauce. If guests come back for breakfast, they can try a spinach-and-feta omelet or bananas-foster pancakes.
Because good food, like news of your Second Life character’s recent promotion, is worth sharing with a lot of people, TJ's Kitchen has a 50-person banquet hall where guests can celebrate birthdays and other events while making use of the room’s 42-inch flatscreen TV and WiFi.
A lengthy lineup of traditional game-day fare and a sports atmosphere captivate fans at Fox and Hound - Bailey's, where the kitchen remains open as late as its neighboring fully stocked bar. Chefs cook until the wee hours of the morning and always until the bar closes, baking Bavarian pretzel starters, crafting towers of onion rings, and preparing hand-battered chicken tenders that are cooked until they are golden brown. They blend their own seasonings to sprinkle over grilled-to-order burgers, and draw from a diverse roster of cheeses and toppings to crown their wood-oven-inspired flatbreads.
While manning the bars, bartenders tap into a stash of libations, such as UV Whipped vodka and Patron Silver tequila, to mix their specialty cocktails. To further foster a sporting ambiance, high-definition TVs glow with sports games and custom music-video playlists, and guests partake in pastimes of ump bashing, billiards, or competitive people watching.