Monday, March 12, 2012

Jockamo Pizza

Jockamo is a place that has been recommended for quite awhile by several of you guys so hubby and I headed over there for lunch the other day (after nearly being killed on the way over by a giant SUV running a red light, but that’s another story).  Anyhow, the first thing I noticed is the fact that they embrace other independent Indy restaurants by using several local ingredients in their pizzas (Papa Roux étouffée sauce on one, G.T. South BBQ sauce on others) and I also like the atmosphere of the place (we were at the one in Irvington).  The staff was exceptionally friendly, and they were constantly refilling drinks, etc. That part they have down for sure.
We started with an order of breadsticks ($3.25 for 3) with their “house special creamy parmesan” sauce (it had been recommended by several people, and you know I am always looking for an interesting breadstick sauce).  This was probably the highlight of the meal for me—I enjoyed the very thick, creamy sauce.  I am wondering about whether the breadsticks are made in house though—they just looked so perfectly uniform and didn’t really seem like they were made from the same dough as the pizza crust (which seems is usually the case with breadsticks). But they were super light and airy and nicely seasoned.
For our pizza, we wanted an opportunity to try a couple different of their house special pizzas so we got a half and half which you can do if you order at least a medium (our medium half and half was $14.50).  Right away I was intrigued by the “Po Boy” which was the first one on the menu, so we got half a “Po Boy” and half a “Cheese Louise.”  The Po Boy part had red sauce, red onion, green pepper, Cajun sausage from New Orleans, cheese, and your choice of shrimp, crawfish or chicken that is seasoned with Old Bay.  We got the crawfish at our server’s suggestion.  I don’t know, this didn’t really do it for me.  I mean, I knew it was a strange pizza topping going in, but it just didn’t come together for me.  There was so much on there too—it was a little too much for me.  And one of the bites I had with the crawfish was a little fishy.  I did enjoy the sausage though—a nice punch of flavor.
The “Cheese Louise” part of the pizza was definitely my favorite half (and hubby’s too).  It had 5 (!) kinds of cheese on it—cheddar, mozzarella, ricotta, gouda, and parmesan as well as bacon and red onion.  It was an interesting flavor combo with all that cheese and then the smokiness from the bacon and the crunch from the red onion (and they did an excellent job getting the right amount of onion on there—enough you can taste it with every bite).  The creamy dollops of ricotta added a slight sour flavor to the parts it was on which I enjoyed.  However, again, it was SO much stuff piled on a style of crust that just isn’t me.  There is nothing interesting about this crust to me—I like the crust to be a little chewy and to have its own unique flavor that makes you want to eat the crust edges even with nothing on them.  I also appreciate a lighter hand with toppings, and this style of pizza seems to pride itself with piling them on and heavy as the crust can possibly withstand.
So before you start yelling at me about this one, I just want to say that I have come to the realization (partially due to several angry emails) that pizza is extremely subjective.  Everyone has their style of pizza that they like, and, well, the whole “Indy style” (as I call it) is not mine. I know a lot of you like this place but honestly, it isn’t for me.
Truly, I believe Indy does have its own style of pizza, a la Bazbeaux, Some Guys, and Jockamo, but none of these are ones that excite me.  The crust is somewhat thin, and flat, and then it is (in my opinon) overly loaded with toppings.
So, obviously, this is a matter of preference.  What do you guys think?  Do you have certain styles you like and others you just don’t?  Any of you find this type of pizza your favorite?  I did love finally checking out Irvington (where my Dad grew up).  Where else should I try in that area? 
Jockamo Pizza
5646 East Washington Street
Indy  46219

Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza on Urbanspoon


  1. Totally agree. Have not found any "cheap" (i.e., not neopolitan like Pizzology or Napolese) pizza places that I like. We just never go out for it. I guess I don't like "Indy" pizza either ; )

  2. I've recommended it before, but next time you're in Irvington you should head to The Legend. It's a couple doors down from Jackamo, and is honestly my favorite "neighborhood" restaurant in Indy.

  3. I completely agree, Erin. In my opinion, no pizza place in Indy makes truly outstanding pizza. Pizzology comes the closes, but even there I've had hit and miss experiences. I used to think that Bazbeaux did the best job, but they've taken to using pre-made crusts instead of made-to-order crusts. The new crusts are flat and flavorless.

    On Friday, I ate at Giorgio's on Monument Circle for the first time in a very long time and enjoyed it. While the ingredients are nothing to write home about, Giorgio's makes a halfway decent New York-style pie.

    I'm probably going to come across as a snob for saying this, but I think that many Indy folks haven't had a mind-blowing pizza experience in another city where you can get a true world-class pizza. Therefore, they have nothing against which to measure Indianapolis pies.

  4. I call it 'midwestern' style, but we're definitely talking about the same thing... IMO it can be traced back to the success of the California Pizza Kitchen concept (see, 'bbq' chicken pizza). I have a fondness for that kind of pizza, but there's a lot of psychology at play - I grew up around here and a trip to Puchini's, compared to ordering from Pizza Hut, truly seemed like something special.

    Anyway, I can totally geek out on pizza!

    As for Irvington, The Legend is worth checking out. And not quite Irvington proper, but I've been wanting to revisit the Steer-In. I saw the episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and I was surprised to see a lot of scratch-made comfort foods coming out of the kitchen.

  5. I agree with your assessment of Jocakmo! I have tried to love it, I just think the crust is tasteless. I do, however, enjoy The Special (sundried tomato, basil, garlic) at Some Guys.

    My favorite Indianapolis pizza is the pan at Ale Emporium...kind of like a Chicago-style, although the sauce is on the bottom not the top. The dough has an intriguing beer taste to it. You wouldn't like it, has cheese almost two inches thick! I can only eat one piece. My complaint about Ale Emporium is that it's a smoking venue. It's not terribly offensive during dinner hours, but you can tell it's there.

  6. I feel like Cheese Louise is a rip off of Bazbeaux' quatro formaggio, but.... how original can the toppings truly be?....

    My personal favorite pizza is pepperoni and garlic at Mellow Mushroom (chain).....

  7. I agree with you on Indy having their own style of pizza and the toppings are usually a bit much for a crust so thin. My husband and I have more or less given up and just make homemade pizza at home! I do like Jockamo the best, though, but it is definitely the dressings that really keep me going back.

    Great review and very sensitive, which is a great thing because people are psychotically loyal to their favorite pizza joint!

  8. It's hard for me to dislike a pizza because it is my favorite food - even when it is not so great.

    I like Jockamo's casual and local vibe. But the pizza is just OK. It strikes me as really underdone and wet. I prefer my cheese to get a little brown.

    Has anyone ever had seafood on a pizza and liked it? I know I haven't! I think the high heat in a pizza oven does it no favors.

    My favorite Indy pizza, as another commenter mentioned is The Special at Some Guys. The cheese is thick and browned and the toppings all have nicely assertive flavors.

  9. I have a pizza question for all of you!

    I agree that Indy kind of has its own pizza style and that, for the most part, it's not fabulous. The crust is neither thick and pillowy, but it's not exactly crispy and crunchy either. The focus is on toppings and that's...fine. Plenty of good enough, decent pizza (Jackamo, Bazbeaux, The New Bethel Ordinary, etc.) Our pizza is a pleasant and average, just like us Hoosiers.

    My question for you is, what about Pizza King pizza? Not the Pizza King with the trains, but the other chain. With the chopped toppings known as Feasts and crispy, but still dough-y crust? Is it a style that is found at any other chain or any other area? And if only this one chain makes that style of pizza, can it even be considered a "regional" style?

    And, more importantly, can you even get that style of pizza anywhere in the Indy metro area other than the East Washington Pizza King?

    (We went there this weekend and this was a HUGE debate with my dining companions.)

  10. Thanks everyone for your comments, I am actually really surprised to have not gotten more negative feedback about this one...I was kind of expecting it.

    frangsty, I was just at lunch with a good friend discussing the need to try Ale Emporium. We agreed to do it on our next lunch. So stay tuned..

    It is funny that you bring up pizza king type pizza. I grew up eating Arni's (which is an offshoot of Pizza King originally). My Mom is from Lafayette and it is part of our DNA to like Arni's. They do the same type of chopped toppings and it is the only place where I almost always order sausage on a pizza (with mushrooms). Honestly, I often wonder if I would like it as much if I tried it for the first time now, but it is my "comfort pizza." If you like Pizza King (there was one that went out of business in Broad Ripple) I think you will like Arni's. I actually like it better than Pizza King because they use fresh mushrooms and Pizza King uses canned (at least the last couple I had). Arni's is at 96th and Gray Road.

  11. Okay, I'll be the voice of disagreement since I feel like no one is speaking up. :) I like Jockamo's a LOT.

    I do completely agree that pizza is subjective; if you only love chewy, puffy crust, well then you won't care for Jockamo's, Bazbeaux, or Some Guys.

    Pizza is pretty much my favorite food, and I have to say that I like just about every kind of pizza for different reasons. I love Jockamo's not for their crust, which I would agree is nothing special, but for their toppings. We get meatballs with goat cheese and it is spectacular. I also love their sauce. However, I also adore Bronzini, Pizzology, and yes, Monical's, Domino's, Papa John's, Pizza Hut... just depends on my mood! There is a time and place for every type of pizza in my life. :)

    (To Indy Grub Review--Cheese Louise is not so much a 'rip off' as a version...Jockamo was started by someone who used to be affiliated with Bazbeaux, which is why their pizzas are so similar in style.)

  12. I was just there last week. I like the pizza...but I love that Hoosier style (oh, wait...Indy Style) pizza you are talking about. BUT...I would say no way the breadsticks are homemade. I have occassionally purchased pre-made breadsticks at the wholesaler I sometimes shop at and would almost bet they are the same ones. It was a good thing for me because it kept me away from them so I could focus on my great pizza!

  13. Jessica in NoblesvilleMarch 12, 2012 at 8:07 PM

    I agree, I just don't go for the medium-thick, doughy crusts here in Indy. Having grown up in Chicago, I know I'm a pizza elitist, and will always go for a stuffed pizza pie with sausage and spinach, given the chance (Ale Emporium and Nancy's comes close ... and Ale now has a lot more smoke-free dining space, plus awesome wings).

    But when I want a cheap and easy pizza here in Indy, my new standby is Marco's. Unless I'm having Chicago stuffed pizza, what I like is a thin and crispy, buttery-flaky crust, and the Marco's thin crust is just right. I also like that their online ordering allows you to really personalize your pizza ... extra sauce, well done, garlic butter and parmesan crust toppers, whatever ... and their pepperoni magnifico has two different types of pepperoni, really tasty. I also think they have really good garlic bread sticks. Not the place you'd go for a dine-in experience, but really good pizza for home consumption.

  14. Brozinni, Rosellis, Ale Emporium are my top 3. I'll support Jockamo anyday though. It is not bad, but I haven't had anything that I crave

  15. I try not to compare different styles of pizza. They are all good, just different. Depending on where I am and my mood, I can go for Chicago-style deep dish or a New York-style or Napolese. I have loved Bazbeaux for years. The one time I went to Jockamo, it was ok. Most recently, I have been enjoying the new Coal Pizza Company downtown. I love the little bit of char you get from the very, very hot oven.

    I even love Pizza King pizza. To me, however, that is almost a different animal entirely. When I have taken people there, I told them that you pretty much have to give up any pre-conceived notions about what makes a good pizza because you won't find that at Pizza King. If you can do that and just enjoy it for what it is, well, then you have something.

  16. I live in Broad Ripple, but have grown tired of Bazbeaux. We've been getting takeout recently from 3 Wisemen and I really like it, but my favorite is Pizzology. I prefer Pizzology over Napolese which is much closer.

    I know it will be a while before I make it down to the new place, Coal Pizza, so I'd be interested to hear what you think about it. From what I've read, it seems like it might be more to your liking. Hubby and I have a babysitter in a couple of weeks so we can go downtown for a show. These events don't happen very often and I am torn between trying Libertine and Coal Pizza.

  17. I'm a bit disappointed to see only one mention of Puccini's in here. It is by far my favorite local pizza place. The crust has a wheaty sweetness to it that I absolutely love, and the right toppings bring it out even more.

    My stand-by is their Ultimate Warrior (basically a "supreme" at most places) with bacon instead of green peppers. Haven't found an Indy pizza I beat it.

    Plus, their lunch slice and salad special is a good deal, and they include a few less common choices through the week. While I think a whole pie of their bacon and Gouda pizza would overwhelm me, a slice at lunch is the perfect serving.

  18. Buttitta's @ 116th/Brookschool in Fishers is probably my favorite in the area

  19. No one has mentioned South of Chicago Pizza in Fletcher Place yet. They make a pretty good version of a Chicago pizza.