Iozzo’s is a place with history. The Great Grandfather, Fred, was the patriarch that started the family business in Indianapolis in the 1920’s. By 1925 he had 2 dozen grocery stores throughout Central Indianapolis. The gem of the empire was an Italian restaurant on South Illinois. It featured a band stand, 2 kitchens,3 bars and seating for 850. A tragedy in 1941 led to a quick and final demise of the restaurant. The family kept their recipes and traditions intact for over 60 years before they opened Iozzo’s Garden of Italy in 2009.
Since it was such a gorgeous day we sat in the garden. A small courtyard paved with cobble stones.
Along the side were niches that framed some dramatic flame colored blossoms and at the end was a tall lamp-post with lead glass lamps.
How ever as charming and mellow as the setting was the food was the center of our attention. Also they had half priced wine this day. Pasta, wine and beautiful weather all in a stone and brick courtyard. That just seemed to call to us.
I decided that I needed a glass of Argentine Malbec to start.
The wine inspired me to have a plate of spaghetti with Bolognese sauce and a salad. The basic pasta with the Family sauce or Marinara is $9. A change to Bolognese is an extra buck and the addition of meatballs is $4. So my pasta and salad was $14. I think it was definitely well worth it.
Now this was a swell little salad. A bowl of Spring mix,which I really like, one slice of Roma tomato and a cucumber slice. All dressed with a nice Basalmic dressing. Nothing fancy. A simple salad designed to start your appetite.
My plate of pasta was nicely presented and expertly prepared. A good bite for the noodle and a good sauce made for an excellent lunch, by itself. Add in the meatballs and you get an outstanding meal. They use veal,sausage and beef in making their meatballs. Which,in my estimation is the best combination for a meatball.
I was very much impressed with this little joint. From the fresh cracked pepper for the salad to the fresh grated cheese for the pasta. Everyone was on point for the service. Also they were short-handed and everyone stepped up and took care of business. That is something I really appreciate. Also, as an aside our server;Elizabeth is one of the grand daughters of Fred. I am not sure how many greats should be injected but she is of the Family Iozzo. A part of the chain. Which I also think is cool.
I have been looking forward to this place opening for quite a while. It opened a few weeks back; during the sweet 16 Tournament, with very little fan fare. It’s situated in the old Chateau Thomas Winery space, and is huge. Prior to the winery the space was a garage of some sort as there are three large garage doors in the main sitting area that open to an expansive outdoor seating area. I took several pictures but pictures alone don’t do the joint justice.
This is The Larder. Tow Yard’s kitchen. They feature a large selection of Smoking Goose meats as well as different cheeses and veggies. So it’s actually a deli as well.
I found their menu to be quite unique. It was an interesting blend of oven roasting, braising and deli items. They even offer fried gator and grilled Long donuts, stuffed with cheese. A foodies paradise.
Pat opted for the whole Prohibition, a roast beef sandwich 86 onion, 86 mayo. Unfortunately when it came out it was a Bourdain, a more traditional deli sandwich with uncured ham, salami, and capiocolla. Our server naturally apologized,re ordered and brought a go box. So Pat scored a free sandwich.
Oh I forgot to mention one minor disappointment. They are about 2 to 3 weeks from having their first batch of beer ready to drink. I say minor because they have a great selection of local and micro beers available. Also I think the food is good enough to draw you in even if they only sold soft drinks. Speaking of which. They found a local place that makes craft soda products. Now that is unique.
I decided to order a half Pig Vicious and a half Ty Webb. I had no idea the “halves ” would be so big.
I scanned the menu and am including it at the end. That way people can see the “stuff” in the sandwiches and the pricing.
This is the Pig Vicious. A damn fine sandwich. Lovely pork, sweet chunks of pickle and a spicy horseradish mustard. I honestly couldn’t tell where the braised pork ended and the uncured ham began. As far as the onion jam goes I couldn’t detect any onion flavor per se but some of the sweetness may not have come from the refrigerator pickles. In time they might find that some of the ingredients are not essential to the taste. But regardless the Pig Vicious is a great tasting sandwich. And the stainless “pots” they but the sandwiches in are a statement in themselves.
My other choice, the Ty Webb was the most compelling. Merquez is a Moroccan sausage made of lamb or beef and seasoned with red peppers and spices indigenous to North African cooking. In this case it is made into “meat balls” and put in the largest pita bread I’ve seen. The slight heat from the sausage was nicely tamed by the yogurt dill sauce. The paneer was most unusual in that it was in cubes and seared on one side. Which, to me brought another dimension to the cheese. And bonus; the halves were so big I got a bunch of food to take home. Three sandwiches, three home runs. To all concerned great job.
Great food; great beverage and great service. Thanks to our server Jason. The only downer to this joint is the parking. There isn’t any. The nearest lot charges $10. But just north is street parking. So I don’t think this is a business killer. In general parking downtown leaves a lot to be desired. And as Pat pointed out the Tow Yard is a destination within a destination. I mean the joint is an Andrew Luck throw from Lucas Stadium. And the tailgate lot is a short block away. Also the NCAA basketball tourney has plans on using Indy in the future and those are all held at the stadium as well.