Monday, December 15, 2008

WB Pizza: Indianapolis Gourmet Pizza

I used to think that pizza was all the same. You could choose Donatos, Papa John's, or if you are feeling really adventurous, Pizza Hut. Indianapolis has never been known for its pizza, but there are a few (Some Guys, Bazbeaux's) that really shine in Indianapolis. WB Pizza is one of those.

A few years ago, a friend of mine started driving for WB Pizza at 62ndth and Allisonville. "It is good", he said. "You should try it.", he said. I have always been more adventurous with food, so we did. My wife and I order WB Pizza probably more than any other pizza place. It's a little more costly than your typical pizza joint, but it is always well worth the money.

I have eaten at WB's more times than I can count, so I am coming from a very bias position. Will Barnes, the owner, has a fantastic menu that builds on traditional pizza styles yet offers a breadth of vegetarian specialties. Will offers many crust types to choose from: traditional, ultra thin, deep dish, Chicago style (sauce on top of cheese), and De Napoli. My wife and I have sampled damn near all of them (except for De Napoli), and we find them to satisfy us always.

Recently, we ordered pizza from them as part of a small holiday party. I ordered the San Diego, and it was tremendously good. The artichoke hearts were massive, and the jalapenos were hot. Even the meat eaters complimented WB for the delicious veggie pizza. Some even said they preferred it over the Calgary that we ordered as well.

I can't say that I have ever ordered anything from WB that was not good. Just check them out. You will be happy that you did.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Barnaby's Pizza: A South Bend Family Institutuion

It is great to know people in South Bend, but it is even greater when those friends treat you like family. A friend of 15 years is originally from South Bend, and his family still lives there. I have been up there many, many times and been to many, many places. Only family will really tell you where the truly unique local places are. They know because they have been going to them most, if not for all, of their lives without ever really thinking about it.

One restaurant that has always stood out to me (as well as for the 33 years my friend has been in South Bend): Barnaby's Pizza. My friend has been taking me there since the very first time that I went to visit his family during our time together in college. I have been there before and after Notre Dame foot ball games. I have been there before my bachelor party. I was there the day after Thanksgiving 2008 (hence why I am writing about it). I guess you could say that I have a history and a future with Barnaby's pizza.

In all of the times that I have been to Barnaby's, I don't remember it changing much: moderately noisy, children running about, large groups of people everywhere, and fantastic smells permeating throughout the restaurant. One really interesting thing is that Barnaby's does not have any wait staff at all. You pick up your own menus, get your own drinks (and refills), order and pickup your own food. I want to be quick to point out that this is not a negative attribute. This is positive. Think about one asking you every 5 minutes if you are okay or want a refill; no rush to get you in / out of the restaurant as you pay as soon as you order anything.

The menu is not all the veggie-friendly, but this is a family restaurant in northern Indiana. My friends (there were 5 of us total on this trip) are all very accommodating and happy to share in the vegetarian fare that I order. Barnaby's is known for their pizza, so their veggie pizza was what i ordered. This baby was loaded with zuccini (a first on pizza for me), mushrooms, green peppers, and onions. I half-expected it to be watery given all of the vegetables, but it was not at all. The crust was a traditional crust (New York style to the foodies out there), and there was plenty of cheese. I thought the sauce was a little thin, meaning that it was less than spread out over the entire pie. We ate every last piece if that tells you anything. My friends ordered a few sandwiches as well as another meat-eater's pie. I did sample the shoestring french, starchy, and salty...just the way they should be.

They did not have a huge beer selection (Miller Lite, Bud Lite, and Amber Bock), but again this is a family restaurant. We drank a few pitchers of Amber Bock, and those were great compliments to the food. I belive it was Rich Little that said if '...God had not wanted us to drink beer, He would not have made it go so well with pizza.'. 'Nuff said.

I would consider Barnaby's a South Bend institution worth enjoying if you are up there in the cold, white north of Indiana. There is nothing so spectacular other than good food, some decent beer, a loud restaurant, and some good friends. Each makes the other better in conjunction with each other. The prices are modest at Barnaby's, and the value is pretty high. You probably won't have a bad time at all...