Wednesday, July 13, 2011

MacKenzie River Pizza

I have had a few recommendations for this place, and it is very close to our house.  So the other night, when I really didn’t want to cook, we took the kids and headed over.  It hasn’t been open too long, and from what I have heard and seen, this location has never done very well with any restaurant.  When we pulled in, we thought we might have trouble getting in, because the parking lot seemed very full.  However, I guess the restaurant must be quite a bit larger than the parking lot (and they have a fair amount of outside seating) because the inside was pretty empty.  We were the only table in our entire section.
So this place is a chain, although a chain in Montana, Idaho, and Washington, so I am not exactly sure what inspired them to open one in Indiana, other than I guess chains do so well here (sigh).  It will be interesting to see how they do, particularly in this location.
Anyway, our server was friendly, and fairly attentive.  We started with an order of “lodge poles” which are described as breadsticks with cheese and served with marinara.  So I know that a lot (all?) breadsticks are often made with the same dough used in the pizza, but this was actually one of their pizza crusts which was cut in half and had cheese melted on it and a bowl of marinara.  So basically, it was a cheese pizza with the sauce on the side and cut into thinner slices.  They didn’t taste bad, and had a nice bit of garlic to them, but really, I felt like I was having a pizza appetizer before my pizza.  The marinara is pretty good—more savory than sweet which I like.
We also ordered a regular small pizza on their original crust (which is sourdough—same as for the breadsticks). On this one we went with the classic margarita—mozzarella, tomato, and basil.  The toppings were pretty fresh and plentiful and tasted good. Here’s the thing though—I am pretty sure the crust on their “original” pizza (and the sticks) is made somewhere and frozen.  They are perfectly round discs that even have little holes punched into the crust—I assume to keep the shape when they are frozen.  I don’t know, in this day and age, with all the pizza choices there are, I thought this was kind of lame.  And the crust was bready and dense, and just didn’t do it for me.  Honestly, I think Boboli is better (and it’s not my favorite).
The thin crust was better—it appeared to be made fresh, as it was super thin and much more irregular in shape.  It was crispy and a much better alternative to the regular crust.  We got the Sequoia which is pesto (instead of marinara), artichokes, sundried tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, and mozzarella cheese.  Interestingly, it was pretty spicy—I am assuming it was a combination of a lot of garlic in the pesto and maybe the marinade of the sun dried tomatoes.  It was pretty good though.  The crust was much crispier and I liked the combination of toppings. The artichokes gave it that slightly vinegar taste and the pine nuts a bit of crunch.  And I liked that there was enough cheese to make it feel rich and not like a veggie flatbread or something.  They have a lot of choices for their pizza combos and I can appreciate that they have a nice variation of things.  Although sometimes it seems a little overwhelming because there are so many options.
So honestly, there was nothing about it food-wise that made me want to go back, even though with its proximity to our house, I will never say never. (They did have a decent selection of local beer.)  I have a feeling that several of you will disagree with me about this review though, so please share your thoughts.  And while you’re at it, please share your favorite pizza places. It has been awhile since we talked pizza and I’m always looking for something good….
MacKenzie River Pizza
4939 East 82nd Street
Indy   46240
317/288-0609


MacKenzie River Pizza on Urbanspoon

20 comments:

  1. I reccomend Barlo's pizza (www.barlospizza.com/). There are two locations, one the southwest side (near Decatur High School) and the other further down on the southside. It looks like a hole in the wall, but it's pretty good. Also try the pizza at Chatham Tap.

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  2. Jockamo's is, of course, divine, but brozinni's is good, too.

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  3. I've eaten at MacKenzie three times, closet to my home too, and been very pleased every time. I have only had the thin crust pizza, maybe that's why. I have had the Madison and the BBQ pizzas as well as some salads. The fish tacos are good too. The sons of the owner of the chain went to IU, that's the reason for opening one up here. While a chain, it isn't Applebees.

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  4. Whoa, I could have written the same review, Erin. My husband wanted to try this place, and it's in the neighborhood. I got the same pizza as you, and look forward to the leftovers, as it is good and full of quality pine nuts. We had the 'lodgepole' appetizer as well: The immature jokes we made about the name were more interesting than the pre-pizza pizza itself.

    The atmosphere (Big!) didn't do it for me. Overall, our date there was not romantic, and a little too pricey (in no small part due to the location, I think).

    In future, we won't pass up Some Guys for Mackenzie River. Better food, better prices, cozier booths, more...authentic service.

    I have been enjoying your blog for months!

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  5. My favorite pizza place is Pizzology - however, we live in the Meridian Kessler area and my husband is rarely willing to drive up to Carmel so we typically fall back on my second choice which is Binkley's. They serve a lot of other good food too, but we get a carryout pizza from them about once a week and also enjoy taking guests there for pizza since it has a nice ambiance and is so close to home!

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  6. If you are out Brownsburg way, I recommend So Italian! Yummy breadsticks and the pizza is delish.

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  7. Hey everyone, thanks for the recommendations. Lots of places I haven't been and several I have tried. So far, Brozinni's is my fave, and I like Pizzology as well, but will add all your suggestions.

    Russ, thanks for the info. Someone else has told me since I went they liked the fish tacos as well. Interesting for a pizza place. If I go back, will have to give them a go.

    Moon Mama, thanks for the nice words about the blog--and yes, I would agree, I would not describe the interior as "romantic." :)

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  8. This is a decent addition to the lunch rotation for those of us who work in Castleton, although a bit pricier than most. I found their Thai pizza to be quite good but the meatloaf sandwich to be less than great.

    Judging by the number of customers I've seem at my two visits, they won't last long, unless they have very deep pockets.

    A funny story...my regular lunch partner is a HUGE soda drinker. In one visit, by the same server, he was delivered refills by the following methods: taking his cup and reviling at the fountain; being brought a new cup; a refill from a pitcher. We determined the only other method would have been self serve.

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  9. Oh, and Some Guys or Pizzology. Jockamo's when we make it to the east side.

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  10. I really love 3 Wise Men's pizza. Their stromboli's and sandwiches are great too. Something about that crust really does it for me.

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  11. Mike and Anna
    I think this restaurant qualifies for the worst pizza we have ever tried to eat. It is worse than terrible.
    ~~Mike and Anna

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  12. We've been back in Indy 5 years now and I've lost count as to how many restaurants have come and gone in that space. I love Pizzology, but my husband and kids prefer a more typical pizza, so I rarely get to go there. Our favorite pizza places on the north side of town are WB Pizza (62nd and Allisonville) and Greek's in Fishers. Greek's has the advantage of being across the street from Handel's :)

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  13. Tony Sacco's in Clay terrace is very yummy! It is a chain from Florida, but locally owned from what I understand. Their pizza is coal fired with a fairly crispy crust. Instead of breadsticks, they have delicious garlic rolls. We had the Capo pizza. Its pretty traditional with pepperoni, sausage, onions, and mushrooms, but the sausage was wonderful. Definitely one of my new favorite pizza places around!

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  14. I agree with you Erin; MacKenzie was absolutely awful! Frozen pizza dough, cheap ingredients. I was very excited and very disappointed.
    Maybe other things are good; like the beer? I hope these guys decide to make some changes before its too late.

    Why cant Some Guys or Pizzology make their way to the northeast side of town? We're begging!

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  15. I went in once for pick up and had the thicker crust--so disappointed! It reminded me of Pizza Hut which is not what I was expecting or wanting. It was empty in the dining room and a lot of servers were standing around. Location is very convenient to pick up dinner on the way home but YUCK!

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  16. I would eat pizza at least weekly, but my husband doesn't feel the same way. Generally, I go for Some Guys and WB Pizza (coincidentally, across the street from one another.) My neighborhood message board is raving about MacKenzie River. Since we live so close, I may have to see what the fuss is about.

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  17. just ate there , good service but food not good, had pepperoni pizza, and daughter had chicken lasange, she couldn't eart it, just lot of heavy cream and cheese in a bowl. not really any sauce on the pizza and tasted like a salt lick. manager was nice and apologized. I don't like pizza hut, but prefer it over this pizza.
    I don't understand how places can serve this kind of food, do they taste it and think it's good?
    jim

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  18. Very surprised to read all of these negative reviews! I am from Montana, where they originally started and have something like 12 locations. IF you even mention MacKenzie River Pizza around someone from Montana people know exactly what you are talking about and rave about it - it is a culture out there! I have NEVER had anything bad there, and I have been to the location here. Honestly, I have had people stop me when I have worn a MacKenzie TShirt I bought one time out there and back in Montana and talk about this place. I would suggest giving it another try.

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  19. Actually really enjoyed the thin crust roasted garlic pizza I had. Will go back if I am ever on that side of town again.

    Also: Only if you've ever eaten at John's Pizzeria in Greenwich Village are you allowed to critique pizza. Otherwise, you are a lost pizza soul, wandering through an endless sea of tomato sauce and anchovies.

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  20. Sam

    I love to hear the positive reactions that people have at different places so I can gauge what to expect when visiting them! I agree with you 100% that the thicker crust was awful! Not only that but it was smaller in size than the thin, which made no since what so ever! However I must say that they really listen to blogs like this and what people have to say because they actually changed the crust from a smaller pre-made crust to a fresh sourdough crust and a fresh whole grain crust. Before I would have given the pizza a 2 if it was piping hot. Now, at least an 8.5! If I were you I would give it another shot and follow up, I'm interested to know your opinion.

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Thanks, Erin