Bella Pizzeria, a Chain With a Special Place in My Heart
Updated: Sep 25
Do not write off Bella Pizzeria as simply mall pizza. These by-the-slice shops also sell whole pizzas and have the dripping NY style you’ve been craving.
This pizza chain definitely has a special place in my heart. I used to work at the AT&T store in the Hamilton Town Center mall. While working there, I would always go home for lunch every day except for Sundays because our lunch break was only 30 minutes. On those days I would typically pack a lunch and just eat in the back room. One Sunday however, I either forgot my lunch or I ran out of stuff to pack and I decided I would just go down to the mall pizza place to grab some food.
When I walked in for the first time, I’m sure my eyes got super large, like anime large, when I saw all the pizzas sitting out behind the glass wall.
There were so many delicious treats from garlic knots to stuffed pizzas. Looking up at the menu I saw a meal combo which included a breadstick or garlic knots, a slice of pizza and a drink. I was totally sold. I took my combo in a box and walked back to the AT&T managers office to enjoy this wonderful meal for the very first time. In my first few bites, I was instantly transported back to John’s Pizza on Bleecker Street in New York City. This brings me to a fun story for everyone.
Back in 2008, I won a radio contest where RCA records flew me and a guest to New York to audition for American Idol. I won’t get into details, but the auditions were held at the IZOD center and my friend Leah and I took a cab into the city because it was my first time in New York. I was a huge pizza fan at that time, I mean I’ve been a pizza fan since I was like 8, but there is just nothing better than a New York pizza. We had pizza for lunch and dinner almost everyday we were there and I’m sure Leah hated me for it. But my favorite pizza was from John’s on Bleecker Street. I loved it so much we went there twice during the two and a half days I was there for auditions.
Now I’m not saying this pizza is as good as John’s, but it’s pretty darn good if you want something close to a New York Pie. We recently blogged about New York Pizza in Fishers, and though it has all the right things to make it a New York style pizza, what it doesn’t have is the crust.
I don’t know how the New Yorkers do it, but this crust is anything and everything all at the same time. It's light, crispy, foldable and airy. I know they say the reason the crust in New York tastes so great is because of the city’s water - and I’m thinking if Bella invested in having New York water transported to their locations, they would have it made. But even though it doesn’t have that true New York flavor, it has all the textures and feels so I’m totally here for it.
The sauce on this pizza is fantastic. Eric and I both agreed that it is more on the acidic side almost reminiscent of a vodka sauce. I’m pretty sure they make the sauce in house too because there were days I would come in for lunch and see them mixing a huge pail of it. There is not a thick layer of sauce since it is a thin crust, but you still get the flavor of that sauce in every bite. I’ve had quite a few pizza’s now in this blog where the sauce layer was very thin, and you couldn’t even tell it was there. This place has found the perfect balance.
For this pizza, I ordered extra cheese only because I was craving cheese. We have also had a few followers read our posts about certain places and recommend the next time we get pizza from certain places to ask for extra sauce or extra of this or that. So that kind of inspired me to get some extra cheese on this one.
Now, I’ve eaten so many slices of their pizza that I can tell you the normal amount of cheese is just fine, but hot damn this pizza with extra cheese was straight FIRE. Or maybe it was LIT? Who knows what the youths are saying these days? Anyway, I think Eric said the pizza or cheese reminded him of school lunches in high school, but I was not getting those vibes. I guess that was a compliment too, I probably should have clarified that. This cheese had a thin layer of the butter fat and when I put some garlic salt on it…I almost wanted to tell Eric to have just one slice so I could have the rest. This is the quintessential cheese. Think back to a time when you had pizza and the cheese was soooo good, you just wanted to pick it off and eat it. That was this kind of cheese. The kind of cheese you’d go on a date with someone, who you weren’t at all interested in, just because they wanted to take you to a pizza place with this kind of cheese. OMG, thinking about this cheese right now just makes me want to get it again for dinner tonight. I’ve got to move on to something else.
We did get just cheese on one half to assess the basic pie construction, but we got pepperoni on the other half. Here again is where this pizza shines just like it’s New York brothers and sisters. And when I say shines, I’m legit talking about the pepperoni grease on the top. The kind that only someone from a dystopian future without flavors would dare blot off with a napkin for fear of overwhelming their bland sense of taste. It’s the textbook pepperoni flavor. It's greasy, it's spicy, it’s salty and it’s giving me all kinds of life. It’s the kind of pepperoni I imagine I would bake in the oven just to snack on like chips. I don’t like uncooked pepperoni, but you guys have probably already figured out that I’m weird and are not shocked by this fact. I also don’t like unmelted cheese either…. or cheese that has been melted, and re-solidified. No cold pizzas for me.
In summary, what I would say is if you came up to me and asked, “Chris, what’s the best place to get pizza?” My first response would be, “Well, that depends on the style you want.” And then if you asked, “Where can I get the best New York Style Pizza?” I would respond with, “Oh! Then you need to go to Bella Pizzeria!” Now I know my coworker Michelle will be happy to hear that I’ve said that, but I’m also excited to try Amore Pizzeria in Zionsville. From the photos it looks like the same type of New York style. We will have to decide which New York Pie is better. I’m also looking forward to having tried so many different styles, that I can have a BuzzFeed type article about the places to get pizza in Indy, based on style!
In terms of New York Style, and the pies we’ve blogged about in this category I have to say Bella takes the number one spot, followed by New York Pizza in Fishers and then Tony's Big Pie from BoomBozz. I’m sure Eric will link to all those blog posts so you can read those as well. Thanks for doing that Eric.
As always, please feel free to recommend new places for us to try, our list is getting pretty long. And feel free to check out our Instagram for your daily dose of pizza goodness.