Review: Iozzo’s Garden of Italy ~ Indianapolis’s Hidden Taste

By Daniel Samons ~ Ripple Effect Social Magazine 

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Iozzo’s Garden of Italy boasts one hundred year old family recipes from the southern part of Italy. Smoked Ice and Cherries for the famous “Grandma Iozzo’s Aged Manhattan,” Handmade meatballs using the secret Iozzo’s family recipe, and friendly staff that makes you feel at home. No Wonder they are part of Devour Indy going on now.

Iozzo’s remains family owned from its inception when Sanotra “Fred” Iozzo started his first restaurant in 1930 named “Naples Grill.” Naples Grill was one of Indianapolis’s first full Italian restaurants and quickly found its place in Hoosier Hearts.

The restaurant continued to feed the little Italian in all of us until around 1940 when there was an unfortunate accident inside the restaurant which caused it to close. Although the restaurant was shut down for many years, the recipes and techniques were not lost but rather passed down from generation to generation until the current owners Katie Hams and her husband reopened the restaurant in 2009.  It’s easy to tell from the onset of walking in the front door that family and its traditions have been held sacred and are alive today in this authentic Italian experience.

From the family photos and portraits that adorn the walls to the original menu from 1940’s (check out those prices) and lets not forget the  spaghetti and meatballs that tantalize the senses, this restaurant submerses you in Calabria, Italy and the Iozzo family.

While attending Iozzo’s Garden of Italy, I tried the Meatball Martini which is a small portion of the plate served in a martini glass. This features their famous family meatball which is not to be missed. The texture and taste is perfect and the sauce authentic.

The Mussels were extremely favorable and cooked perfectly however; I did find them a little on the salty side but still tasty none the less. The Bruschetta was pretty good but nothing to special however the portions are filling. The wedding soup (not pictured here)  was delicious and definitely worth trying. The Crème Brule was amazing and perfectly creaming with a light crunch on top, not too sweet but perfectly mixed a must try for desert.

Grandma Iozzo’s Aged Manhattan is outstanding with the smoked ice and cherries. This is a must try while attending Iozzo’s and is extremely popular, so much so that sometimes they actually run out of the aged concoction that they keep in small barrels above the bar.

We were unable to physically eat anymore while attending  however; there are many things on the menu that I would diffidently go back to try.

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There is more than meets the eye at Iozzo’s with their special VIP membership giving you special wine tastings and other perks as well as an outside courtyard that opens sometime in spring an features beer and wine tastings while the band “Indy Nile” plays to the crowd.

iozzos21It’s said that these events go well into the night and become somewhat of a party like you would expect from a back yard get-together in 1920’s Calabria Italy. Ripple Effect Social Magazine gives Iozzo’s Garden of Italy 4.5 stars for atmosphere, presentation of food, knowledge and friendliness of staff, quality and taste of food, and customer loyalty. This earns them a spot in Ripple Effects “Social Favorites” on our website. Visit Iozzo’s today and tell them Ripple Effect sent you.

For reservations call (317) 974-1100 or visit their website http://www.iozzos.com/

946 S Meridian St, Indianapolis, IN 46225

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