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Sidebars: Indianapolis pizza place provides different lunch option

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SidebarsThere’s been a quiet trend developing in the Indianapolis regional restaurant market and one that is poised for growth. In the highly competitive and saturated pizza arena, this trend, while fairly new, paradoxically dates back hundreds of years to Naples, Italy. The concept is classic – Neapolitan-style pizza, baked in a wood-fired or coal oven. Coal is the more ancient fuel source and the better one. It burns cleaner, hotter and more efficiently than wood-fired or natural gas-assisted pizza ovens.

My cursory research tells me Neal Brown’s Pizzology in Carmel first broke the Neapolitan-style pizza mold in this market in November 2009. Martha Hoover from Café Patachou came on board shortly thereafter with the near-north side’s Napolese, joined about the same time by Tony Sacco’s Coal Oven Pizza, both in April 2010. Coal Pizza Company recently opened downtown and ranks highly with me in terms of Neapolitan-style pizza choices in the Indianapolis area.

The only franchise in the group is Tony Sacco’s. And it is the only restaurant I’ve not dined in. Coal Pizza Company easily can become a franchise as its décor and menu can seamlessly translate to a broad appeal. The quality and variety of the food offers a refreshing lunch or dinner choice downtown, and they deliver! For this particular lunch I was flanked by two of my law partners, Jess Paul and Jeff Baldwin. Jenny did not join us as she was sauntering, ironically, near Naples . . . Florida. We gained immediate seating near the open-concept kitchen, in full view of the 900 degree coal-burning pizza oven.

Jeff ordered the baby arugula salad and breadsticks. Jess ordered the Tuscan pizza while I ordered the Buffalo chicken pizza. Jeff’s salad contained caramelized onion, goat cheese and poached pear. It was easily a meal-sized salad and well received by Jeff. The breadsticks were big and bulky and are served with your choice of dipping sauce.

The menu states the pizzas serve one or two people. The 12-inch pies offer plenty for two to share at lunch. Jess’ Tuscan choice was comprised of fennel sausage, roasted pepper and cracked red pepper. The flavors blend well together. My criticism of this pie is the sausage. The texture and size are perfect, but the flavor is a bit flat. My suggestion would be to add more fennel and perhaps a bit of black pepper and salt to the recipe. Overall, it is still a quality choice and one not to shy away from despite my personal preference.

Speaking of personal preference, my Buffalo chicken selection stole the show. I’m a traditionalist when it comes to pizza toppings, but having sampled this pizza on a prior occasion I had to order one of my own. The grilled chicken on this dish is spiced up with Buffalo sauce and drizzled with blue cheese and thin, julienne-style celery and carrots. It is one of those dishes that creates a craving a few days later, drawing you back in for more.

The coal-fired method of cooking the pizza creates a crust individual to every pizza. It is pretty amazing really. The oven is so hot most pizzas cook in about 90 seconds, although our lunch wasn’t any quicker than average. Much like a snowflake, each pizza is different. The end crust itself is hearty but not too bready. Toward the center of the pizza the crust can get a bit flimsy, so if you are on a first date or with an unfamiliar business associate, keep a knife and fork nearby.

If you want a different lunch option, consider this place as a choice. If you’d rather not have pizza for lunch, check it out for dinner. Want to surprise your staff? Have a few pizzas delivered and brighten the office attitude a bit. Coal Pizza Company, 36 E. Washington Street, Indianapolis, IN 46204. 317-685-2625. www.coalpizzacompany.com.•

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Fred Vaiana and Jennifer M. Lukemeyer practice at Voyles Zahn & Paul 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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  1. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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