April Foodie of the Month: Kristina Mazza of Hoagies & Hops

At Flat 12 Bierwerks, Pennsylvania native Kristina Mazza’s authentic hoagies layer on the brotherly love.

Kristina Mazza cut her teeth on Pennsylvania Dutch–style food, such as red-beet pickled eggs and humongous sandwiches stuffed with simple but high-quality meats. Then, eight years ago, she moved to Indiana and wanted to bring the cuisine of her childhood with her. “I was tired of always waiting for my friends to send me the good stuff from back home,” she says.

With a degree in hotel and restaurant management from Penn State University, Mazza oversaw The Elbow Room and spent four years with Lux Restaurants (Binkley’s, Meridian Restaurant & Bar), working as operations manager for the parent company of six Indy eateries. But Mazza always aspired to run her own place. So when her close friend Sean O’Conner, the owner of Flat 12 Bierwerks, approached her about opening a hoagie shop inside the Holy Cross brewery, she jumped at the chance. The walk-up counter, which she named Hoagies & Hops, debuted in October.

Keeping true to her roots, Mazza orders her bread from Liscio’s Bakery in south New Jersey and meats from Philly-based Dietz and Watson. The Hog Island Italian hoagie comes piled with salami, Black Forest ham, prosciutto, capicola, and provolone. “There are a lot of myths about Hog Island,” Mazza says. “It’s where Philadelphia sits now. During World War II, the Italians and workers had to go out there for jobs, and they took bread sandwiches full of meat. One theory is that the accent turned the word ‘hoggie,’ from the name of the island, into ‘hoagie.’”

Kristina’s Favorite Things

(1) Philly Beer Scene magazine: “Pennsylvania staples won’t change much, but beer changes all the time. I have to keep up.”
(2) Meridian Restaurant & Bar: “Dean Sample cooks fabulous local food.”
(3) The Rathskeller: “It’s one of the first places my parents took my husband and me before we moved here.”
(4) Benjamin’s Coffee: “It’s in Franklin, where I live.”
(5) Pogue’s Run Porter whole-grain mustard.