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DINING: (Piz)'Za made for the middle of the night

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Dining - A&E

If you’re in Broad Ripple and hungry for pizza, you’ve got lots of options.

You can go for the carefully crafted local favorite, Bazbeaux. You could tap into your Indiana University nostalgia and get a pie from Hot Box (Pizza Express by any other name is still Pizza Express); try newcomer Greek’s; dig into more of a restaurant pie at Union Jack; or you could make use of that coupon that was stuck in your mailbox and go to Papa John’s, Domino’s or any of the other chain places.

But what do you do if it’s the middle of the night on a Thursday and you and your entourage have the munchies? What then?

Well, for that very specific demographic group of pizza eaters, there’s now ’Za (801 Broad Ripple Ave., 602-3753), which is open until 4 a.m. Wednesday to Saturday. It’s an ambitious little place that obsessively limits its menu to pizzas and breadsticks, makes its own dough, and stresses creative toppings. I wish I could report that what I sampled justified the cost but, alas, the place had yet to be fine-tuned when I visited. Then again, it was during daylight hours, so I may have missed something.

Three choices are available by the slice, but we went with full pies.

A 10-inch Fresh from the Earth veggie ($12) on a wheat crust included spinach, mushrooms, tomatoes, red onions, artichoke hearts, peppers and white sauce, but was dominated by whole heads of broccoli, turning the already small slices into awkward canapés. A 10-inch Thai Pizza ($12) lacked distinct spices and clear personality. Even the breadsticks ($5 for five with 75 cents for an extra sauce) were uninspiring. A 14-inch Create Your Own ($9 plus $1.50 per toppings) was edible, but offered nothing that would make me return here over the other choices.

Unless, of course, I find myself stumbling out of Rock Lobster and everything else is closed.

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Second in our month-long exploration of new restaurants in the city’s cultural districts.

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