Given our area’s bounty of good eats, you can get almost anything you want, any night you want … except an excellent, localized everyday pizza.
Some of you are wondering when Tipmont relaxed its restrictions on blasphemy. Some of you are nodding your head because you know what I mean. It isn’t that no one’s making good pizza locally. Arni’s and Pizza King are solid, just thin crust or bust. The Black Sparrow excels, but it’s specialty pies only. Jet’s eight-corner pizza is a decadent delight, but they’re a multi-state chain.
Not since my beloved Johnny Provolone’s closed in Crawfordsville have I found a local place with pie on which to keep an eye. (Given that they charged only $12 for an extra-large to feed you for days, nothing gold and crispy can stay.)
Color me surprised by the contender in Noble Roman’s Craft Pizza and Pub. That’s right: The place that sold pizza in the middle of Marsh or packaged to go. Serving a slew of signature selections in a sit-down setting with a surplus of beers, the Indiana-based company has pivoted from its pre-packaged pizza plan.
Playfully printed on wooden pizza peels, the menu offers individual-, medium- and large-sized pizzas with hand-crafted traditional crust or deep-dish Sicilian. (You can choose a gluten- and soy-free crust, or a dairy-free cheese substitute, for any size.) There are 16 signature or house pizzas, or you can create your own — with toppings that span standards to surprises like chorizo sausage, turkey sausage or diced apples.
We picked three individual-sized samplings of the Greek Delighta, Pizza Margherita and Uncle Sal’s Spicy Salami, with Caesar salads and four Sicilian Sliders. None of our pizzas came with marinara, so we had to try it somehow and this appetizer was a stunner: Think tiny deep-dish pepperoni muffins, not too salty or weighty and accompanied by outstanding marinara with just a touch of sweetness. Our friend Mollie chose the Chopped Italian salad, topped with pepperoni and salami, and served with a dainty carafe of vinaigrette.
The Pizza Margherita hit upfront with a delightful rosemary-infused olive oil and a light, fresh feeling as this pizza style should. (Inasmuch as deep-dish can be described this way, the crust was surprisingly light, crisp and not overloaded with butter.) Ditto for the Greek Delighta, which avoided a Mediterranean muck of feta to mask other flavors and got the proportion of Alfredo white sauce just right. Slotting Uncle Sal in a cleanup spot didn’t disappoint, letting the olive-oil base soak in baked red-pepper flakes and complement the spicy genoa salami.
Lafayette’s location is among a handful Noble Roman’s has opened across the state. But from the taste of things, theirs is a good claim for the crown.
Rob Ford is Tipmont and Wintek's communication director, a role he's held since 2015.
Rob has a bachelor's and a master's in Communication from Purdue University. He lives in West Lafayette with his wife and three children and has a life-sized Yoda statue in his office. Away from the office, you’ll find Rob working on his golf swing, jump shot, or hope for a Purdue basketball national title – all futile endeavors.