The pies are so delightful

These pizzas are kneadful things

For sure pizza is a year-round food, but there’s something comforting about cozying up with a piping hot pie during the cold winter months. Whether you eat in, carry out or get it delivered, pizza has countless ways it can be sauced and adorned, each more festive than the next. Here, some unique takes on this American mainstay from in and around the southside of Indianapolis.   

Hangover Pizzas at Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza
401 Market Plaza, Greenwood
(317) 883-8993,

Maybe you went out on Friday or Saturday night and had one or two too many, or maybe you’re a big fan of breakfast and pizza together. Either way, Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza has a solution: hangover pizzas. Available all day on Saturdays and Sundays, these pies start with a homemade crust consisting of olive oil, water, flour, yeast, garlic and basil. Chorizo from Smoking Goose in Indianapolis is also a primary ingredient.

Biscuits and gravy are a popular breakfast choice in Indiana, and owner Mick McGrath puts his own twist on it with the chorizo sausage gravy that serves as the sauce for the Denver Hangover Pizza. Using browned crumbled sausage and the fat from when it’s cooked, the gravy offers a spicy foundation that pairs well with the scrambled eggs, ham, and red onions and green pepper that are diced fresh then layered on it. Topping off this take on the Denver omelet is cheddar cheese.

The Farmhouse Hangover Pizza also starts with the chorizo sausage gravy and has scrambled eggs and cheddar cheese on it. The sausage adds a serving of protein, but more is added in the form of chicken and bacon. Typically, the cheese is the last thing put on before the pizza goes in the oven, but with this dish the bacon goes on top so that the fat infuses into the other ingredients as it cooks and the meat crisps to add a nice crunch. Whether you work on a farm and need the meat-fueled energy, or you crave a cornucopia of poultry and pork, your hangover is sure to back down.

The Huevos Rancheros Hangover Pizza is the third of the three breakfast-style pizzas. Instead of gravy like the other two, the sauce on this one is a slightly spicy house-made salsa that contains chipotle sauce and cilantro. The chorizo is browned and crumbled onto the pizza, along with scrambled eggs, tomatoes, banana peppers and cheddar cheese. The result is a “fresh tasting pizza” according to McGrath. If you prefer your pizza to have a little more heat, you can substitute the banana peppers for jalapenos.

Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza offers a full sit-down service for its customers. The comfortable atmosphere with an open kitchen concept is decorated with work from local artists, and the smell of cheese, meat and fresh vegetables permeates the air.

Hawaiian and S’mores Pizzas at Richard’s Brick Oven Pizza
229 South Main St., Franklin
(317) 738-3300,

There is a debate about whether pineapple — or, indeed, any fruit — belongs on pizza, and Richard’s Brick Oven Pizza (pictured) is settling the argument with its Hawaiian. The dish contains your standard base of crust, tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese, but then ham, pineapple and a dash of cinnamon are added for an extra flavor kick. The combination means you’ll taste “the salty from the ham and the sweet and just slight bit of acidity from the pineapple,” says owner Richard Goss. You’ll also get a nice little crunch from the wood fire cooking process.

One of the recommended sides is an order of garlic pinwheels, where strips of dough get an addition of fresh garlic and olive oil. Next, they’re rolled into a spiral shape, topped with mozzarella and then cooked in the brick oven just long enough to create gooey goodness with the cheese.

If you have room after the garlic pinwheels starter and Hawaiian main dish, try the S’mores Pizza for dessert. Melted chocolate and toasted marshmallows sit on a bed of dough and graham cracker crumbs. Combined with the smell of the wood fire oven burning, this unique take on the traditional campfire favorite will help you forget the frigid temperatures outside.

Richard’s Brick Oven Pizza also offers a lot of atmosphere with its namesake oven made from locally sourced brick pavers. This “showcase piece,” as Goss calls it, allows you to see the manual process of cooking on an open flame as well as smell the wood from the fire. Brightly colored artwork scattered throughout the restaurant is mostly the creation of Franklin-based artist John Strickland. You’ll find live music on various nights of the week, played out on a stage that was added a few years ago.

Bangin’ Bleu Cheese at The Willard
99 N. Main St., Franklin, (317) 738-9991,

Often, The Willard’s most popular pie is a simple pepperoni and sausage pizza, says owner Tony Priola. But sometimes, if the guest is feeling particularly saucy, they might opt for the Buffalo Chicken pizza or the innovative Bangin’ Bleu Cheese, a creation concocted by kitchen manager CJ Cash. It’s a thin crust, layered with Sriracha bleu cheese sauce, chicken, bacon, tomatoes, mozzarella cheese, cheddar cheese and topped off with bleu cheese crumbles. Available in a 7-, 12- and 16-inch option, the Bangin’ Bleu cheese might just heat up a wintry evening. Need a little more heat? Check out the Yahoo, which dates back to 1986. It features sausage, pepperoni, mushrooms, green peppers, jalapenos, Tabasco, cayenne pepper, crushed red pepper and mozzarella cheese. Pizza, Priola says, offers a canvas for creativity.

“There are just so many different styles of pizza these days,” Priola says. “It’s beloved worldwide.”   

Pepperoni pizza at Arni’s
1691 W. Curry Road, Greenwood. (317) 881-0500,

Arni’s Greenwood has plenty of pizzas to be proud of, including the Deluxe, which features sausage, pepperoni, mushroom, onion and green pepper. Or the BBQ chicken, with chicken breast, onion, mozzarella and barbecue sauce. But the winner, if there need be a winner, would be the pepperoni pizza. Arni’s pepperoni pie features ground pepperoni, upping the ratio of pepperoni in every bite. And, owner Kurt Cohen says, this pepperoni is a little spicier than your average pepperoni.

During the course of the past 40 years, Arni’s has perfected its thin-crust, with a gluten-free option for 7-inch and 10-inch pizzas. Cohen says pizzas are good for anytime, not just the winter months.

“It just warms the belly and warms the soul,” he says.

Grandma’s Pizza at Brozinni Pizzeria
8810 S. Emerson Ave., Suite 240, Indianapolis
(317) 865-0911,

New York-style pizza consists of a hand-tossed crust that’s thinner in the middle and has a thicker, crispier crust around the edges. Traditionally, a slice can be folded in half to eat. At Brozinni Pizzeria, owner James Cross, who transplanted to Indiana from Binghamton, New York, brings a taste of that New York style to Indianapolis.

If you’re anything but square when it comes to your pizza, check out the less traditional Grandma’s Pie, or Gma’s for short. This Sicilian-style square-shaped pizza boasts a thicker crust all the way around. Instead of the standard pizza sauce, Gma’s features a chunky tomato base that’s a tad bit sweeter. Mozzarella, a sprinkling of American cheese and fresh basil are also added to a dish that’s anything but basic.

All the pizzas on the menu have New York-themed names, and you can order the Gma’s in any of those varieties. If you want your pie done as the 34th Street version, for example, you get a garlic butter base instead of the chunky tomato sauce. Fresh garlic and basil, as well as ricotta made in house, round out the dish.

Brozinni’s makes, among other things, its famous garlic knuckles. Starting with the restaurant’s homemade dough consisting of flour, yeast, water and some other special ingredients, which manager Tammy Fox can’t disclose, the raw knuckles are tied into a knot and then topped with homemade garlic butter and a sprinkle of Parmesan before being baked.

And while you’re there, check out the meatball breadstick. Each breadstick is about the size of a forearm, and it’s stuffed with mozzarella and three house-made, chopped-up meatballs. Before going into the oven, this meaty meal receives a brushing of garlic butter and Parmesan.

In addition to the pizza styles and menu names, the New York theme continues into the restaurant through its décor. The butcher block and stainless-steel tables are reminiscent of a New York City deli, and pictures of famous landmarks and scenes on the walls make you feel like you’re in the big city, but without all the crowds and noise. If you don’t have time to eat in, Brozinni’s offers pizza by the slice from 11 a.m. to  4 p.m. daily so you can be in and out in a New York minute. It also offers rentable mobile trucks for special events. 

By Sara McAninch / Photography by Jana Jones