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This pizza 'experience' worth the trip to Carmel

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One of the few things I remember from my undergraduate business studies is that if you want to succeed in retail or restaurant the most important rule is LOCATION LOCATION LOCATION. Some places try to save money on rent and move ahead with the mistaken concept that their product will attract the customer. Even with a superior product this strategy is risky. In our fickle society, convenience often wins over quality, thereby leaving the consumer to choose from a pool of mediocrity.

While I’m sure Pizzology’s storefront rent isn’t cheap, the amateur commercial real estate agent in me is quite sure some alternate storefront property in Carmel demands a price superior to this unassuming little strip mall at 131st Street and Hazel Dell Road. Tucked away in the corner of this little plaza is Pizzology, a place that boldly and successfully proves my business professor wrong.

Pizzology isn’t your average pizza joint. It’s more like a pizza experience. Voted 2007 Chef of the Year by Indianapolis Monthly, Neal Brown of the former gem, L’Explorateur, and his wife, Lindy, opened this venture serving Neapolitan craft pizza like the kind you would find in Naples, Italy. Their cheese and sausages are homemade, and their dough is made with wild yeast, spring water, and Caputo Pizzeria “00” flour. The pies are then baked in an 800-degree, wood-burning oven resulting in a crust that is extremely thin yet crisp and durable, and somehow light and airy all in the same pizza.

I’ve dined here twice, each time for lunch. I once made the feeble attempt to try to eat there during the dinner hour, but the crowd generated too long of a wait. My first visit included my wife, Amy, and our three children, along with my mother and her companion, both visiting from Florida, and my brother and niece, visiting from Illinois. We sampled a large portion of the menu with this crowd.

Upon entering the restaurant you are met with a beaming hostess and hip but clean-lined décor. To the right is a small, full-service bar, and a newly added screened porch for friendly weather dining. Near the back of this small restaurant is an open-concept kitchen, flanked by a counter and stools for patrons to sit, dine and watch the kitchen staff craft their magic. To the left is an additional dining area while lively but non-offensive music fills the entire establishment.

Amy ordered an Italian Chop Salad, consisting of romaine, prosciutto, Gorgonzola and tomatoes. Finished with a citronette dressing that stole the show, Amy gave this salad a rave review. Having sampled it, I concurred. A perplexing balance of citrus, oil, and vinegar flavors, this quality salad foreshadowed what was yet to come.

My mother ordered the daily risotto special. Not many restaurants have the guts to even offer risotto as it can be both tricky and time-consuming to prepare. This place not only offers risotto, but it offers a different variety daily. I admittedly do not remember what flavor they served that day, but I do remember it was cooked to perfection.

We ordered three pizzas, each with the remarkable crust discussed above and christened with quality ingredients. We had the homemade sausage pizza, laced with fennel, onion, fennel sausage, and roasted sweet peppers. Additionally, we had a Sicilian eggplant pizza with eggplant, mozzarella, San Marzano tomatoes, and capers. Lastly, the kids chose a homemade pepperoni pizza to complement their spaghetti and meatballs and buttered pasta.

The sausage was littered with fennel, the way Italian sausage should be. Put capers on anything and I’ll give it rave reviews, but I have a sneaking suspicion even without them the eggplant pizza would stand out.

Have you ever been to a pizza place that made its own pepperoni? ’Nuf said.

Tie all this in with the sugary sweet and loudly flavored San Marzano tomatoes and you will find this out-of-the-way place is worth the trip.

My second visit was a solo affair. The lunch special was a soft drink, soup or salad, and a personal Napoli pizza made of mozzarella cheese, those kick-&*$ tomatoes, and oregano. I ordered it and found consistently supreme quality, all for $7.63, including tax.

Pizzology uses local ingredients whenever possible. In addition to the staples, it offers craft beers from places like Indy’s own Sun King Brewery and the popular Mad Anthony brand from Fort Wayne. Lindy Brown is famous for her wine palate and is in fact a Certified Sommelier so trust the wine list, after court please.

Pizzology, 13190 Hazel Dell Parkway, Carmel; (317) 844-2550; www.pizzologyindy.com.•

____________

Fred Vaiana and Jennifer M. Lukemeyer practice at Voyles Zahn Paul Hogan & Merriman in Indianapolis, focusing in criminal defense. Vaiana is a 1992 graduate of the John Marshall Law School in Chicago. Lukemeyer earned her J.D. from Southern Methodist University in 1994 and is active in the Indianapolis Bar Association, Indianapolis Inn of Courts, and the Teen Court Program. The opinions expressed in this column are those of the authors.

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  • Pepperoni
    Thanks for the very nice words. We are happy that you enjoyed Pizzology.

    Just wanted to clarify that while in the beginning, it was our intent to make our pepperoni, we found that we simply couldn't keep up with production. We have removed the inferences on all of our menus. Make no mistake, we are working on a way to keep up with demand, and hope to someday make ALL of our cured sausages, but for now, we are buying an extremely high quality product that we think tastes awesome!

    Just wanted to be honest about this.

    Thanks for your support of Pizzology, we are happy to have you.

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  1. Why are all these lawyers yakking to the media about pending matters? Trial by media? What the devil happened to not making extrajudicial statements? The system is falling apart.

  2. It is a sad story indeed as this couple has been only in survival mode, NOT found guilty with Ponzi, shaken down for 5 years and pursued by prosecution that has been ignited by a civil suit with very deep pockets wrenched in their bitterness...It has been said that many of us are breaking an average of 300 federal laws a day without even knowing it. Structuring laws, & civilForfeiture laws are among the scariest that need to be restructured or repealed . These laws were initially created for drug Lords and laundering money and now reach over that line. Here you have a couple that took out their own money, not drug money, not laundering. Yes...Many upset that they lost money...but how much did they make before it all fell apart? No one ask that question? A civil suit against Williams was awarded because he has no more money to fight...they pushed for a break in order...they took all his belongings...even underwear, shoes and clothes? who does that? What allows that? Maybe if you had the picture of him purchasing a jacket at the Goodwill just to go to court the next day...his enemy may be satisfied? But not likely...bitterness is a master. For happy ending lovers, you will be happy to know they have a faith that has changed their world and a solid love that many of us can only dream about. They will spend their time in federal jail for taking their money from their account, but at the end of the day they have loyal friends, a true love and a hope of a new life in time...and none of that can be bought or taken That is the real story.

  3. Could be his email did something especially heinous, really over the top like questioning Ind S.Ct. officials or accusing JLAP of being the political correctness police.

  4. Sounds like overkill to me, too. Do the feds not have enough "real" crime to keep them busy?

  5. We live in the world that has become wider in sense of business and competition. Everything went into the Web in addition to the existing physical global challenges in business. I heard that one of the latest innovations is moving to VDR - cloud-based security-protected repositories. Of course virtual data rooms comparison is required if you want to pick up the best one.

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