Props: Jockamo Upper Crust (Indianapolis, IN).
I believe that pizza is like sex, but better. There is some sort of connection my body has with lactose and gluten that really revs my engines. I don’t know if it is the 1/16 Italian I have in my blood, or maybe it was growing up with the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but few things in life can imitate the Art of the ‘Za. Growing up everyone had their favorites: Pizza Hut, Dominoes, and even Jack’s pizza were a topic of debate for what was to be the pie of choice in my family. Whether it was Crash Bandicoot teaching me to eat a slice of stuffed crust backwards, or pouring cups of garlic over my 100 pepperoni-topped pizza, I thought I had tried them all. I was quite ok with average pizza, because it was always there for me when I needed it, unlike my last 3 girlfriends.
Then, in 2007, an angel in the form of a pizza restaurant opened on the Eastside of Indianapolis. Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza was a gift straight from the pizza gods.
According to their website: the owners, Mick McGrath, Nancy Duncan, Bob and Laura Stark.. “knew the neighborhood would support a local pizza place that used fresh ingredients, made their own dough and sauce from scratch, and placed an emphasis on great food and service.”
They obviously knew their ‘hood.
My First Time…
I remember the first time I went to Jockamo with my family, we were not sure what to expect. After all, most of the workers were kids my age (17/18 years old at the time) and my senior prom date even worked there. (Hi Natalie) I am sure there was judgment from those who weren’t used to such a young staff, but they were sure to be in for quite the surprise. Before I go into detail about the pizza, I need to talk about the staff. These employees come to work every day with a sense of pride and expertise in what they do. Jockamo loves hiring local kids, and has no problem letting employees come back to work during college breaks. Many of the workers today were there when it first opened up years ago, and as the restaurant grew, the relationships between the employees and customers forged into a strong community bond.
Memoirs of a Former Jockamo Employee
A former worker since day one, Natalie Warner’s smile could be felt through the email as she told me what it means to be part of the Jockamo family. She loved the eclectic crowd that would frequent the place. From hipsters to high school kids, everyone was bananas for this pizza. She remembers how it became the local watering hole. And when other businesses were able to piggy back off the success of Jockamo, things really started to escalate in popularity.
One of my personal favorite features is that the art work on the walls is all accomplished by local artists. Jockamo does not charge a fee to these artists and if a piece sells, all the proceeds go back to the artist. This is just one of the testaments to Jockamo’s betterment of the local community. They also partner with 92.3 and sponsor the annual ‘Rock to Read’ concert and support many local schools.
When it comes to the product, Jockamo delivers with the consistency that would make old faithful jealous. Every pizza is prepared to order, with the menu boasting ingredients for all palates and tolerances. Jockamo’s ingredients come from the local vendors, and they are not afraid to recommend other local stores to their customers. It’s refreshing to know such quality products can be made so close to home.
You cannot go wrong with anything on the menu. For starters, the breadsticks are an absolute can’t-miss. They come in orders of 3, 6, and 10 and include a dipping sauce. The dipping sauce choices are some of the best I have ever had. I would recommend trying the alfredo and creamy parmesan, made in house every day. (A veteran remembers to keep these cups so you can dip your pizza in!)
The Slaughterhouse Five, named after Kurt Vonnegut’s famous novel, is a crowd favorite. With five types of meat, it’s a party in your mouth and everyone’s invited.
I also enjoy the BBQ chicken pizza with the grilled chicken. (You can also get it shredded as well.) You can create any masterpiece you choose, so the choices are really a game time decision.
Their salads are made from the freshest ingredients, and can fill even the largest of appetites. Jockamo’s also has delicious sandwiches and if you need a pick-me-up after a night out, they feature hangover pizzas loaded with eggs and gravy, ready to soak the rest of those Bud heavys from the night before.
With a newly renovated dining room and bar, Jockamo is bigger and better than ever. I would be amiss if I didn’t mention their location in old towne Greenwood, who compete against the Irvington store in an annual softball game at Pleasant Run Park.
Jockamo upper crust pizza has earned not only my respect, but it has gotten Irvington back on the map.