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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.•

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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. Im very happy for you, getting ready to go down that dirt road myself, and im praying for the same outcome, because it IS sometimes in the childs best interest to have visitation with grandparents. Thanks for sharing, needed to hear some positive posts for once.

  2. Been there 4 months with 1 paycheck what can i do

  3. our hoa has not communicated any thing that takes place in their "executive meetings" not executive session. They make decisions in these meetings, do not have an agenda, do not notify association memebers and do not keep general meetings minutes. They do not communicate info of any kind to the member, except annual meeting, nobody attends or votes because they think the board is self serving. They keep a deposit fee from club house rental for inspection after someone uses it, there is no inspection I know becausee I rented it, they did not disclose to members that board memebers would be keeping this money, I know it is only 10 dollars but still it is not their money, they hire from within the board for paid positions, no advertising and no request for bids from anyone else, I atteended last annual meeting, went into executive session to elect officers in that session the president brought up the motion to give the secretary a raise of course they all agreed they hired her in, then the minutes stated that a diffeerent board member motioned to give this raise. This board is very clickish and has done things anyway they pleased for over 5 years, what recourse to members have to make changes in the boards conduct

  4. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  5. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

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