Pizzology Craft Pizza + Pub Serves Up a Special Brand of Pizza
Writer / Christy Heitger-Ewing Photographer / Michael Durr
When Carlee Hunter was a college student searching for a part-time job, she heard about Pizzology Craft Pizza + Pub through a roommate. Though she had previously only worked retail, she came in for an interview and was impressed by the friendliness of the staff.
“Everyone was so cool and relaxed,” Hunter says. “I immediately felt like part of the family, and that’s not easy to find.”
She began working at Pizzology as a host, then worked her way up as a server, bartender, and then manager. With a degree in marketing, she not only acts as front-of-house manager at Pizzology, but she also handles the scheduling, marketing materials and social media posts.
“I love this place,” she says. “I can’t imagine leaving it.”
The Pizzology concept is all about bringing farm-fresh ingredients from the kitchen to the table. Their dough is house made, and everything is fresh.
“We are all about supporting local farmers, so we try to source everything locally the best we can,” Hunter says.
Another factor that makes Pizzology unique is that the restaurant offers Neapolitan-style pizza that’s cooked in a wood-fired oven, giving it a flavor all its own. Offering a full menu that contains nine signature pizzas, their top-selling items include the Homemade Sausage pizza (homemade sausage, sweet and mildly spicy peppadew peppers, fresh mozzarella, crunchy fennel and onions) and the Pepperoni Piquante pizza (thick sliced pepperoni, house-made mozzarella, sweet and mildly spicy peppadew peppers, fresh oregano and Parmesan Reggiano).
Another crowd favorite is the Italian Mussels appetizer (pepperoni, garlic, shallots, chili flakes, San Marzano tomatoes and basil).
“We’d have a lot of upset people if we ever took those off the menu,” Hunter says. “It’s the broth that’s so addicting. That broth is magic.”
Their unique creations come from Chef Paul Robinson, a veteran at his craft who has made, for instance, the Bee Keeper pizza, which has soppressata, jalapeño, local honey and fresh mozzarella.
“Everyone who tries it says it’s phenomenal,” Hunter says. “We are definitely not your basic pizza place, and that’s due to Paul. We would not be the restaurant we are without his skill.”
Over the course of the past decade, the Carmel community has been largely supportive of the establishment, and Hunter credits that devotion not only to their tasty menu, but also to their super friendly staff.
“Our staff is really what drives business,” says Hunter, noting that they make an effort to stay connected with their guests, some of whom come in as often as three times per week. “These are not customers who just come in and pay. We have a more personal relationship with them. They know my family and I know theirs.”
She likens the relationships to those formed on the 1980s hit television show “Cheers,” on which the customers are close friends with the bar staff.
In 2019, Pizzology enjoyed record sales and had hopes of surpassing those numbers in 2020, but unfortunately the pandemic changed everything. In the spring of 2020, the governor’s mandate forced them to briefly shut down. When they opened back up for curbside and carry-out service only, the staff members had to rethink their entire carry-out operation. Their approach changed from having two hostesses who would seat guests and handle carry-out orders, to requiring five people working the curbside station to keep up with Friday night orders.
“We’re trying to lower the volume of people in the restaurant since we are small,” Hunter says.
During much of the COVID-19 crisis, Pizzology has operated at 50% capacity. Sadly, that meant that much of the staff had to be laid off since they couldn’t afford payroll. Servers have gotten fewer tables and the bar was closed temporarily (it is now open at 50% capacity). Additionally, when many colleges transitioned to online schooling, many of the student staffers who had left for college came back and were eager to work again, adding to the staffing challenges.
“Staffing is definitely the most difficult thing because it’s in such limbo all the time,” Hunter says. “That’s why most of our employees are cross-trained so servers can bartend and bussers can work in the dish pit, or vice versa, if need be.”
Though it’s been difficult year, customers have remained intensely loyal through it all.
“Carry-out we blew out of the park,” Hunter says. “We almost couldn’t keep up with the volume of carry-outs, the way they were coming in.”
Hunter has plans to possibly expand and/or open another location elsewhere in the future. For now, however, she and her staff are focusing on what she calls “the Pizzology aesthetic – what makes us Pizzology.”
And, of course, welcoming their clientele with open arms and a warm pizza pie.
Pizzology Craft Pizza + Pub is located at 13190 Hazel Dell Parkway in Carmel. For more information, call 317-844-2550, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit pizzologyindy.com.