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Napolese Pizzeria

The concept is simple. Combine original pizzas, puffy and charred from a brick oven, with smartly composed salads and wines in a nouveau trattoria. What worked when Martha Hoover opened her first Neapolitan-style pizzeria in 2011, around the corner from her iconic Cafe Patachou in Meridian-Kessler, continues to fill the house(s)—Napolese has since expanded to downtown’s former L.S. Ayres department store and The Fashion Mall. We could tear off bites of Buffalo Margherita and the Elliot’s heat-blistered pancetta, potatoes, and gorgonzola every day and never grow tired of them. Are competitors going after their own pieces of the oven-fired pie? You bet. But Napolese has one not-so-secret weapon that elevates this menu above the rest: Patachou, Inc.’s executive chef Tyler Herald, a culinary imperfectionist with a passion for wholesome local foods, who keeps the ingredients fresh and honest.

TIP: Order any pizza “Rachael’s Style,” topped with a lightly dressed arugula salad.

DON’T MISS: The BLT pizza, scattered with Smoking Goose jowl bacon, leeks, and mild, buttery Taleggio.

PREVIOUS MENTIONS: Best Restaurants 2014, 2013, 2011

30 S. Meridian St., 635-0765; 114 E. 49th St., 925-0765; The Fashion Mall, 705-0765;

See all 25 Best Restaurants here.

A graduate of IU’s Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing, Terry Kirts hails from a town in Illinois so small it didn’t have a restaurant until he was in the 8th grade. Since 2000, he’s more than made up for the dearth of eateries in his childhood, logging hundreds of meals as the dining critic for WHERE Indianapolis, Indianapolis Woman, and NUVO before joining Indianapolis Monthly as a contributing editor in 2007. A senior lecturer in creative writing at IUPUI, Terry has published his poetry and creative nonfiction in a number of literary journals and anthologies, including Gastronomica, Alimentum, and Home Again: Essays and Memoirs from Indiana, and he’s the author of the poetry collection To the Refrigerator Gods, published by Seven Kitchens Press in 2011.