IBJOpinion

DINING: Freshness a plus at Tony Sacco's Coal Oven Pizza

Lou Harry
August 28, 2010
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Dining - A&E

It isn’t fair, but here’s a restaurant truth: If a patron gets poor service in a crowded eatery, the waiter or waitress is likely to get the brunt of the blame. However, if the same service is delivered in a sparsely populated restaurant, that same server is likely to evoke pity rather than anger from the customer.

Either way, the patron is distracted from what should be a carefree experience.
 

The Napolis Pizza at Tony Sacco's Coal Over Pizza Tony Sacco’s Napoli pizza features meatballs, ricotta and provolone cheeses. (IBJ Photo/ Perry Reichanadter)

The latter was the case on my first visit to Clay Terrace’s latest culinary spot, Tony Sacco’s Coal Oven Pizza (14405 Clay Terrace Blvd., 574-3473). The small chain was started in Florida by three guys from Michigan, including, yes, Tony Sacco. Why did he get naming rights? I’m guessing it just sounded better than George Kurajian’s or Chuck Senetore’s.

The offerings do include a few appetizers, a couple of salads, and some sandwiches, but the raison d’être is the titular pizza, forged in an anthracite coal-burning oven that provides high cooking temperature. (Sacco’s boasts 1,000-degree heat, which I believe is a notch above the hottest temp recorded at this year’s Indiana State Fair).

I didn’t taste more than a hint of smokiness in the pies—we tried the four-cheese Bianco and the meatballs, ricotta and provolone Napoli (each $15.96 for a 12-inch/$18.95 for a 16-inch). Each delivered full flavors, though, straddling the line between traditional pizzerias and such gourmet Indy additions as Pizzology and Napolese, maintaining the size of the neighborhood shop with a hint of the gourmet appeal of the latter. And the leftovers reheated well the next day.

The freshness in this freezer-free, microwave-free, fryer-free chain was evident in the sweetly delicious tomato sauce, which I requested to give more flavor to the otherwise unexciting Garlic Rotoli dough balls ($5 for eight). Tony’s sauce, it turns out, is made from scratch with fresh ingredients, including Italian Plu tomatoes and fresh basil. Of course, if it had arrived while our Rotoli was still hot, that would have been great. But our waitress, ping-ponging between the handful of tables that were occupied, just couldn’t keep up.

The sauce, though, inspired me to want to try Tony’s traditional pizza ($10.50 for a 12-inch/$14.50 for a 16-inch/toppings extra) should I find myself Clay Terracing in the near future.•

–Lou Harry

__________

Last in a month-long series of reviews of possessive restaurants.

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  • Not bad
    I had lunch here on business with a friend a few months back. We were the only ones in the place, which was a shame for such a good meal.

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  1. The east side does have potential...and I have always thought Washington Scare should become an outlet mall. Anyone remember how popular Eastgate was? Well, Indy has no outlet malls, we have to go to Edinburgh for the deep discounts and I don't understand why. Jim is right. We need a few good eastsiders interested in actually making some noise and trying to change the commerce, culture and stereotypes of the East side. Irvington is very progressive and making great strides, why can't the far east side ride on their coat tails to make some changes?

  2. Boston.com has an article from 2010 where they talk about how Interactions moved to Massachusetts in the year prior. http://www.boston.com/business/technology/innoeco/2010/07/interactions_banks_63_million.html The article includes a link back to that Inside Indiana Business press release I linked to earlier, snarkily noting, "Guess this 2006 plan to create 200-plus new jobs in Indiana didn't exactly work out."

  3. I live on the east side and I have read all your comments. a local paper just did an article on Washington square mall with just as many comments and concerns. I am not sure if they are still around, but there was an east side coalition with good intentions to do good things on the east side. And there is a facebook post that called my eastside indy with many old members of the eastside who voice concerns about the east side of the city. We need to come together and not just complain and moan, but come up with actual concrete solutions, because what Dal said is very very true- the eastside could be a goldmine in the right hands. But if anyone is going damn, and change things, it is us eastside residents

  4. Please go back re-read your economics text book and the fine print on the February 2014 CBO report. A minimum wage increase has never resulted in a net job loss...

  5. The GOP at the Statehouse is more interested in PR to keep their majority, than using it to get anything good actually done. The State continues its downward spiral.

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