I'm traveling to Indiana and Kentucky for my work now. One of the places that I get to go to is Louisville. My friend from near Cincinnati, Tony Jobe, once told me that there was a great pizza place in Louisville called Impellizzeri's. The only problem is that the guy who had the place, Benny Impellizzeri, closed the doors of the establishment. However, I found out that Benny's younger brother, Tony, had his own pizza place on the east side of Louisville - Tony Impellizzeri's Italian Restaurant (see map).
I was told the Impellizzeri style of pizza was a cross between New York thin-crust style and Chicago deep-dish. I love pizza where the crust is thin and the toppings are heavy. I had to find this place and have one of their pizzas.
Tony Impellizeri's is in a non-descript strip mall off of Shelbyville Road. It was a slow Wednesday evening when I was in there. There was a family of four having pizza and me. I was greeted by the waitress (who I found out later she was Tony's wife, girlfriend or significant other), and sat at a table near the counter. I ordered a beer and got a menu from her.
In addition to their pizza, Tony Impellizzeri's also serves sandwiches and pasta. I was only interested in the pizza, so I got my standard sausage, pepperoni and mushroom. It said on the menu that a small (12") would serve 2 to 3 people. This was a problem as I was traveling and I didn't have access to a refrigerator. I knew I'd be wasting some pizza.
I saw Tony Impellizzeri back in the kitchen area making pizzas. He was a small, skinny guy with long black hair and glasses. I understand there was some sort of a family dust-up with Tony and Benny and Tony went out on his own a few years ago. But it was still supposed to be the Impellizzeri family recipe for pizza and homemade sauce, something that had been passed down from Tony's great-great grandmother.
It took about 20 minutes for my pizza to show up and it was worth the wait. Oh, man! It was just unbelievable! The toppings were three times the depth of the crust. I LOVE pizzas like this! The cheese was thick, the sausage, pepperoni and mushrooms were more than plentiful, and the sauce was tangy, sort of sweet, but a nice complement to the toppings. There were a lot of Italian seasonings on the pizza, as well. The crust was light and tender, not too chewy and not too crisp.
It was cut into 8 traditional pieces and I was able to finish to finish exactly half of it. The waitress asked me if I wanted a box to take the rest home. I told her that I was traveling and I didn't have access to a refrigerator at the hotel. She said, "Where are you staying?"
I said, "At a Hampton Inn on the northeast side."
She said, "Well, they should have a refrigerator that they use for breakfast items. They'll probably put that into the refrigerator for you."
I said, "They might, but it also may not be there in the morning."
She let out a knowing laugh when I said that.
The pizza and three beers weren't cheap - it was $35 bucks with the tip. When I got up to leave I wandered back toward the open kitchen area behind the counter and I said to Tony, "Hey, great pizza!"
He never looked up from one of the pizzas he was making from a call in order. His waitress said, "When he gets to working, you can't get his attention."
I was very impressed with my Impellizzeri's pizza. I wish I'd brought a cooler or something to be able to put the rest of the pizza into to keep for a day or two. Oh, well. I'm sure I'll be back sometime in the near future.
(Update - I recently went to Louisville and went by Tony Impellizzeri's to have a pizza one evening. The only problem is that it was closed. And evidently for good.)
(Update March 2012 - I found that Tony Impellizzeri's has reopened in New Albany, IN, just across the river from Louisville. Click on the Urbanspoon link below for the map and more information.)