Hot, tasty and made from fresh ingredients that you can customize at will according to your preferences, pizza has claimed an undeniable spot in American culinary traditions. It’s a $37 billion industry in this country, and it’s what one out of every eight Americans is having for lunch today or dinner tonight.
While we generally subscribe to the maxim that “there’s no such thing as bad pizza,” there most certainly is a big difference between your ordinary, average pizza pie and the remarkable taste sensations offered by some of Indy’s best pizza parlors.
Here’s our (totally unscientific, but taste-approved) list of the best local places in Indianapolis to go when you want a slice:
Napolese — Meridian Kessler, Downtown Indy, Other Locations
If you think of pizza as “kids’ food,” you’ll change your mind at Napolese because this is pizza for grown-ups.
The menu at this stone-hearth pizzeria changes with the season so that it can serve constantly-fresh, farm-to-table toppings. One thing you’ll always find on the menu, however, is their “Broken Yolk” Margherita-style pizza — and we simply cannot say enough good things about this ooey-gooey treat.
Pearl Street — Wholesale District
Want a micro-brew or two with your artisanal pizza? Then head over to Pearl Street! Every pizza is prepared from scratch, and you can choose between soft-and-crispy hand-tossed crusts and deep-dish styles. Plus, they have a fun menu of signature cocktails, wine and craft beer that you can pair with your favorite dish.
If you’re looking for suggestions, we’d recommend the “Quattro Formaggio” on a hand-tossed crust or a “Deep Dish Supreme,” although you can certainly build your own pizza using their gourmet toppings and cheeses.
King Dough — Holy Cross
Some pizza deserves the royal treatment, like the house-made craft concoctions you’ll find at King Dough. Their wood-fired pizzas come in all flavors, including those hard-to-find vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free options that folks with dietary restrictions need.
You can create your own pie with all manner of exotic ingredients including things like honey, egg and cashew ricotta, or you can try one of their house specials. We’d recommend either the “Kevin McCallister” (for milder flavors) or the “Destroyer” (for the daring among you).
Brozinni — Greenwood, Other Locations
When you want New York-style pizza, nothing else will do, right? Well, lots of places claim to have authentic New York pizza, but Brozinni actually delivers on their promises!
Their toppings are fairly classic, so don’t go looking for too many out-of-the-way ingredients here. The real star of the show, naturally, is the soft, chewy homemade dough and tangy in-house marinara sauce. Frankly, you can’t go wrong here with a plain cheese pizza, loaded with bubbled and gently browned mozzarella, but you may want to give one of their specialty pies a try, like the spicy “Hell’s Kitchen” or the sophisticated “Greenwich Village.”
Diavola — SoBro
The motto at Diavola is “In Crust We Trust,” and we agree: You can totally trust their hand-stretched pizza dough to be crafted and served with tons of love — and flavor. Its upscale style and high-quality ingredients have made this pizza place one of the top destinations for Indianapolis foodies.
You can, of course, build-your-own pie, but why would you bother when you have more than a dozen house specials to pick from right there on the menu? We recommend checking out “La Sophia,” or maybe the “Truggle Funghi,” if you’re looking for something truly decadent.
Pizzology — Carmel
If wood-fired Neapolitan-style pizza is your thing, you won’t be disappointed with the offerings at Pizzology. Their thin, bubbly crusts arrive hot and fresh at your table with the perfect touch of crispness at the edges, loaded with fresh toppings.
If you like traditional fare, their Margherita or Napoli pizza is a great place to start, while the more adventurous souls among your party may want to try the “Bee Keeper” or “The Saint” for something a little different. (You can, naturally, order a custom pie with any of the locally-sourced ingredients they carry.)
Bazbeaux — Broad Ripple, Carmel Arts District, Mass Ave.
An Indy staple among pizza places since the 1980s, Bazbeaux is still one of the best places to go when you want a great crust, tons of cheese and plenty of flavor on your pie.
Bazbeaux offers a huge variety of toppings that you’ll have a hard time finding in other pizza joints, like Cajun shrimp, fancy lump crab, pine nuts, Kalamata olives and snow pea pods. You can also pick from their specialty pizzas, like the super-spicey “Tchoupitoulas” or a milder “Mediterranean” with house-made chorizo.
Some Guys Pizza — Eastwood, Carmel
Want to think “outside the box” with your pizza order? Head over to Some Guys. This is a long-standing local joint that’s managed to stay abreast of changing tastes and changing times.
Every pizza is made with fresh, homemade dough that has a touch of honey, and the sauce is made from sweet, Roma tomatoes, but the real treat is the massive selection of toppings they carry and their unusual specialty pizzas including the “Thai” and “Stan.” Whatever you choose to try, you’re unlikely to be disappointed.
Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza — Irvington, Other Locations
Jockamo Upper Crust has been a classic neighborhood haunt for more than a decade, thanks to the fantastic pizza that comes loaded with tons of goopy cheese and lots of flavor.
If you’re looking for something really unique, maybe give the “Hangover Pizza” a try (available on weekends only) with its scrambled eggs and homemade chorizo sauce, or go with the “Slaughterhouse Five,” which is sure to be an instant favorite with the carnivores in your family.
Indy’s developed quite a reputation over the last few years as a culinary hotspot, and many great restaurant chains are expanding into the area, but supporting local businesses helps keep the hometown economy thriving — so grab a menu, put in an order and enjoy!