Tuesday, February 22

Food Review: Jockamo

When asked, I tell people I am a restaurant critic, not a food critic. The difference? My review covers more than food, by rating on the traditional 1-5 stars in six separate categories: Appearance, Menu, Service, Product, Style and Website.

Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza is well known in historic Irvington. Opening a second location was inevitable. Rather than following the well-worn path to Broad Ripple or Mass Ave, owners Mick McGrath, Nancy Duncan, and Bob and Laura Stark headed to 401 Market Place, Greenwood.

Upon entering Jockamo's, I was welcomed with a sweeping view of the warm, inviting decor. Hostesses handled well the wait list; a good sign. Once seated, the official inspection of the menu began — I admit to being a menu junkie.
Appetizers include standard breadsticks with dips, as well as the interesting choice of hummus, a pureed chickpea dip. It’s accompanied by pita and toppings of onions, tomatoes, cucumbers, olive oil and Kalamata olives.

Sammies are represented by six choices, including the California roll with lump crab meat and the Healthwich. A variety of salads are offered, including Greek, spinach and house.

Caliente and S-Five
The bar area is set off by a half-wall from the spacious dining area, which has tables set far from each other, eliminating the jostling which occurs at so many eateries.

The beer and wine menu is nicely suited for the fare, while the entree menu is extensive, giving apt descriptions. Opting to halve two pies in order to taste four flavors seemed prudent. The recommended Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon stood up well to the pizza.

The ‘zas arrived piping hot with a not-too-thick crust and a balance of cheese and toppings. The Caliente was exactly that, hot, and covered with peppers. The Slaughterhouse Five is a generously portioned all-meat variety, while the Cheese Louise is a five-cheese treat.

The Philly Jack is a good version of the famous sandwich. Noteworthy is the quantity of choices available of traditional, original gourmet and custom styles. Sauces marry well with toppings and the crust is worth eating by itself.
The Philly and Cheese Louise

The service projects a small-town, favorite hangout feeling with greetings between guests and staff, who likely know each other from local activities. Friendliness, however, should never replace efficiency. These two key ingredients blend well at this tucked-away gem.

The website, found at jockamopizza.com, is easy to maneuver, but doesn’t encourage interaction from visitors. Also, when clicking on page four for the wine list, the kid's menu and soft drink list pops up instead. Listing local products used earns points as this topic becomes less of a trend and more of a decision-maker for diners.

Bottom Line: Jockamo Upper Crust Pizza knows what it wants to be and achieves it with quiet confidence. Nothing showy… just true to itself.

                                  Stars earned out of 5 
                                          ~ 4 ~

Elizabeth J. Musgrave is a syndicated columnist, travel writer, music, restaurant and theater critic. Catch her as Indy’s Arts & Entertainment Adviser on 93 WIBC and follow her on Twitter @ejmusgrave1 and Facebook.

Photos: EJMusgrave, Jocakamo

Gotta Go is published in the following newspapers: South Sider Voice, Indiana Weekender, West Side Community News, New Palestine Reporter, West Indianapolis Community News, Pendleton Times Reporter and Fortville-McCordsville Reporter.

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