INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — When Adam and Alicia Sweet started King Dough in 2014, it was a food truck they drove all around Bloomington to events and festivals.
At that time, they still lived in Arkansas.
“We would drive all the way from Arkansas up to Indiana to do these events that friends had invited us to,” said Alicia.
In 2015, after moving to Bloomington, they opened their first brick-and-mortar location on the north side of the square.
Then, this past January, King Dough’s Indianapolis location opened its doors and brought life to a long-abandoned property located at 452 N. Highland Avenue.
“This was always the idea to start in Bloomington and then open an Indianapolis location,” Alicia explained.
With an already successful business in Bloomington as well as a family of their own, the husband-and-wife duo made it a priority to find a location that would be the right fit.
And they found just that in the Holy Cross neighborhood.
“We really liked the idea of being in the middle of a neighborhood,” she said. “A big part of it is our first location is very family-friendly, it’s very diverse… we just get a lot of families and I think that’s just a part of having pizza.”
Now that King Dough’s Indy location has opened its doors, they’ve also opened their arms to sourcing locally with everything from farm-fresh produce to beer.
“A lot of our beers are actually made in the neighborhood. We have Sun King, Central State… We just have really good beer in Indiana and it happens to be a lot in our area,” said Alicia.
Everything on the menu is made from scratch, including the salad dressings and fresh mozzarella.
But the star is always pizza. And Adam Sweet has spent nearly half his life perfecting what he considers “the art” of pizza.
King Dough focuses on true, Napolese-style pizza.
It starts with naturally leavened dough, no commercial yeast and patience.
“A lot of pizza shops are like, ‘Make it, roll it, cook it in 10 hours,” said Adam. “But just like most things, time is the most important ingredient in pizza. The longer it can ferment, the more character and taste it’s going to have.”
The dough here goes through a 48-hour fermentation process before a single topping ever comes into play.
When it’s time for sauce and toppings, Adam is dedicated to sourcing the highest-quality ingredients, from the pepperoni to the tomatoes they have to source a year in advance because they sell out so quickly.
“We are very farm-friendly and do as much as we can given the seasons,” said Adam. “Because they work hard to grow that and it’s going to be delicious and it’s going to show when you eat it.”
When it comes to ordering a pizza, Adam says the make-or-break pizza is always the traditional Margherita.
“If you can’t do the Margherita right, you probably aren’t going to do much else right,” he said.
And King Dough’s Margherita pizza is next-level good.
“We roll our mozzarella by hand and we have those amazing sourced tomatoes and dough,” he explained. “Those basic ingredients we put so much effort into getting them just spot on.”
If you’re looking for even more adventurous flavors, treat your taste buds to their top seller: The Destroyer.
“It’s got mozzarella, goat cheese, basil, rosemary, garlic, then our Italian sausage. And when it comes out of the oven, it gets hot honey all over it, so it’s a little spicy, a little sweet, a little rich from the goat cheese,” he said. “That’s our most popular pizza by far.”
All of their pizzas are fired in two minutes or less thanks to a 950-degree oven with a rotating floor, fittingly named “The Thunderdome”
“We named it after [the] Mad Max Thunderdome… It’s essentially like you’ve got to know your craft to come out alive. If you fail, you’re dead, you lost the pizza. It’s the battle realm basically,” Adam said. “[The oven is] dialed in to a tee so we can make the most awesome pizza that we can possibly make.”
For the Sweets, however, awesome pizza doesn’t mean fancy, white linen napkins and outlandish prices.
“The biggest thing is doing the research to get the best possible things we can possibly get and still sell them at a price point where it’s very approachable, really awesome high-end pizza but everybody can come in and party with us,” Adam said. “Because that’s what we’re here for… A pizza shop should be a party.”
Four Things You Need to Know About King Dough:
- King Dough started as a food truck/mobile oven before they opened their first location in Bloomington in 2015. They opened their new Indianapolis location in the Holy Cross neighborhood in January 2019 and became the city’s newest must-visit pizza destination almost overnight.
- They also offer salads—like their popular burrata salad—as well as pasta, appetizers, sandwiches, gelato and more. If you’d like a real treat, try their Asian-inspired Hot Honey Sesame Wings. “Someone recently wrote about them and said that it was an ‘umami bomb,'” said co-owner Adam Sweet.
- King Dough doesn’t take reservations, so it’s first come, first serve. There’s plenty of seating inside as well as a great patio area outside, which they are hoping to have open around mid-April, just in time for warm weather!
- Husband and wife pizza power couple, Adam and Alicia Sweet, consider pizza an art. Adam has dedicated over half his life to pizza and he is constantly honing his craft. “We literally plan most of our [family] trips around whose pizza shops are there,” he said.
For more information about King Dough, check out their website by clicking here. To see more photos and reviews by local Yelpers, check out their Yelp profile. You can also connect with them via Facebook and Instagram.
While in the Holy Cross neighborhood, check out some of the area’s other top-rated hot spots: