DINING: Maria's and Greek's pizzerias stake out new territory

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Dining - A&E
Context can have nearly as much to do with a pizza's success as dough, tomato sauce, and cheese. As evidence, let's consider two established pizza purveyors staking out new territory.

For over half a century, southsiders—including the designer of this page—have been fans of Maria's. But a new audience has been exposed thanks to the business's move to Fountain Square (1106 Prospect St., 786-9283).

The trappings are a treat. Imagine a branch of the Abbey Coffeehouse devoted to pizza and you'll already have some sense of the interior. Tastefully casual, the roomy space features mismatched chairs, a fireplace, a tabletop checker set, and a magazine rack (why don't more luncheries have a magazine rack? Just asking.), all combining with other quirky characteristics to make for a homey, decidedly non-traditional parlor.

While full pies are available during midday hours, a co-worker and I opted for the $5 slice/salad/drink lunch specials. A quartet of slices were offered and, wanting to sample more than two, we opted to add additional slabs for $2.50 each. (A choice we'd recommend for anyone with more than a 1950s appetite.)

We quickly discovered that Maria's doesn't offer the sort of tomato pie that immediately wins you over. Subtle in flavor—and on the small-ish side—this isn't a "Wow" experience. Even the topping on the signature sauerkraut slice (yes, sauerkraut) seemed restrained. Still, for atmosphere, importance to the neighborhood, free parking, and friendly table service by the proprietors, attention should be paid.

Another instance of location having a significant impact is Greek's (834 E. 64th St., 465-9111), a recent addition to the Broad Ripple pizza world. Greek's homey locations have proven popular in Fishers and Muncie, but the competition in Broad Ripple is, if not tougher, at least denser. Bazbeaux, Union Jack, Hot Box and others are already anchored in the pizza-saturated area. Any newcomer would be advised to focus on quality control from pie 1.

We opted for take out, since a Colts-game-best-forgotten was about to begin. An unintentionally blackened Meatball Shell ($5.74-linguistic note: they call a Stromboli a "Shell" here), an undercooked cheese pizza ($6.56-13.31), and a Greek salad ($4.96) sans dressing diminished our enthusiasm when we unpacked at home.

The Gourmet Wings Pizza ($8.90-$21.56) was dominated by its sweet, watery BBQ sauce rather than the chicken and spices. White Pizza ($7.25-$16.52)—a delicious blend of cheeses on hearth-baked dough—was the highlight of the meal.

All Greek's pizzas offer wheat crust as an option at no extra charge. A nice touch.

Had we dined on-site, the red checkered-tablecloth, license-plate-bedecked dinning room would have been a comfortable suburban-basement-like place to partake. Plus, it would have been easier to register our kitchen disappointments.

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  1. I had read earlier this spring that Noodles & Co was going to open in the Fishers Marketplace (which is SR 37 and 131st St, not 141st St, just FYI). Any word on that? Also, do you happen to know what is being built in Carmel at Pennsylvania and Old Meridian? May just be an office building but I'm not sure.

  2. I'm sorry, but you are flat out wrong. There are few tracks in the world with the history of IMS and probably NO OTHER as widely known and recognized. I don't care what you think about the stat of Indy Car racing, these are pretty hard things to dispute.

  3. Also wondering if there is an update on the Brockway Pub-Danny Boy restaurant/taproom that was planned for the village as well?

  4. Why does the majority get to trample on the rights of the minority? You do realize that banning gay marriage does not rid the world of gay people, right? They are still going to be around and they are still going to continue to exist. The best way to get it all out of the spotlight? LEGALIZE IT! If gay marriage is legal, they will get to stop trying to push for it and you will get to stop seeing it all over the news. Why do Christians get to decide what is moral?? Why do you get to push your religion on others? How would legalizing gay marriage expose their lifestyle to your children? By the way, their lifestyle is going to continue whether gay marriage is legalized or not. It's been legal in Canada for quite a while now and they seem to be doing just fine. What about actual rules handed down by God? What about not working on Sundays? What about obeying your parents? What about adultery? These are in the 10 Commandments, the most important of God's rules. Yet they are all perfectly legal. What about divorce? Only God is allowed to dissolve a marriage so why don't you work hard to get divorce banned? Why do you get to pick and choose the parts of the Bible you care about?

  5. Look at the bright side. With the new Lowe's call center, that means 1000 jobs at $10 bucks an hour. IMS has to be drooling over all that disposable income. If those employees can save all their extra money after bills, in five years they can go to the race LIVE. Can you say attendance boost?