Slice of heaven: New Bargersville pizzeria focuses on tastes of southern Italy

Old World flavors meet modern cuisine at the newest addition in downtown Bargersville.

In the airy and bright dining area of ​​Pizza & Libations, guests are seated in elegant booths adorned with artist-created graphics. Large-scale art installations by European artists invite visitors to the all-round bar. An outdoor patio offers dining under shady trees while a linear fireplace crackles nearby.

But when you unfold the menu, the food is pure south-central Italy.

“The menu is really characterized by the Neapolitan style pizzas. It’s going to feel more upscale than people might associate when they hear the word ‘pizza,'” said Nathan Huelbusch, CEO of the new restaurant. “Pizza is great, of course, but southern Italian food, who wouldn’t want that?”

For the last eight years, people have come to downtown Bargersville to get a taste of Belgium at Taxman. Now, the same owners behind Taxman have targeted an upscale pizza and Italian concept. Pizza & Libations is slated to open in downtown Bargersville in late October or early November, Huelsebusch said.

The new venue offers an exciting and unique dining experience for Johnson County diners and is another draw for growing downtown Bargersville.

“This is where we started. The community is obviously experiencing tremendous growth, and it’s important for us to continue to offer more dining options to this evolving community,” Huelbusch said. “Giving them a reason to shop and shop as locally as possible, that’s a big part of it.”

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For nearly a decade efforts have been made to upgrade and revitalize the downtown Bargersville business district. Hiking trails have made the city more pedestrian friendly. Since opening in 2014, Taxman Brewing has served as an anchor, offering locally crafted beer and an inspired menu that has drawn visitors to the small town.

Other businesses followed, including Johnson’s BBQ Shack and Hope Gallery, a one-of-a-kind art and craft boutique that also offers opportunities for young adults with developmental disabilities. Last year, Hope Gallery switched to selling ice cream, candy and art.

Work is underway on a new downtown Coffeehouse Five location nearby.

With that momentum, the team behind Taxman felt it was time to take the next step, Huelsebusch said.

“As a company, we have tried to reinvest in the community. So we’ve been patiently waiting for development here downtown and thought this project could be a catalyst for further development,” he said.

When they learned that the owners of Bargersville Bar and Grill — a longtime community favorite — wanted to sell their North Baldwin Street building, they stepped in to buy the site.

Although they attempted to merge their vision for a new restaurant with the existing structure, that would not work, Huelbusch said.

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“The building itself, the way it was laid out and the structural components of the building didn’t allow us to do any renovations,” he said. “The (demolition) it would have needed on our side, it was cheaper to demolish it.”

After the demolition of the existing building in late 2021, work began on the same footprint to create the new restaurant. The idea was to have local and international art serve as the centerpieces of the space.

Wall-sized art by Danny O’Conner, a British mixed media artist, provides a focal point on both walls surrounding the bar.

“Our passion for travel and cultural cuisine has definitely been a driving force in all of our endeavors and the creation of a new Mediterranean-focused restaurant is very exciting,” said Leah Huelsebusch, COO of the new restaurant.

In reference to the financial theme that flows through Taxman, they named the new location Pizza & Libations – “P&L”, short for income statement in the investing world.

The menu focuses on Naples-style pizza, with emphasis on a base dough, raw tomatoes, fresh mozzarella cheese, fresh basil, and olive oil as key building blocks. Pizza & Libations also offers homemade pasta, seasonal salads, freshly baked bread and homemade ice cream made with local ingredients.

“We’re really trying our best, like we did at Taxman, to source as much of it locally as possible,” Huelbusch said. “We will be showcasing a lot of Indiana dairy products. We’re trying to figure out how to get flour from at least the local area and make it work as well as Italian flour does.”

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On the other side of the restaurant’s equation, Pizza & Libations will include a drinks menu that emphasizes the Italian tradition of spritz.

“Typically, ‘libations’ are foods and drinks consumed in a celebratory spirit. So we’re going to have a Spritz section, seasonal cocktails heavily influenced by Italy. And of course beer, mostly from Taxman,” says Huelbusch.

While Pizza & Libations is set to open first, the owners are in the process of realizing other projects alongside the new restaurant. In the former Masonic lodge next door, they envision a full-fledged bakery with European breads, pastries and more.

“The idea for this combined space is to make it a little bit like the European market,” said Hülsebusch.


Pizza & Drinks

What: A new restaurant focusing on pizza, pasta, salads, gelato and other flavors from south-central Italy

Where: 75 N. Baldwin St., Bargersville

who: From the owners behind Taxman Brewing Co.

when will it open: Opening expected at the end of October or beginning of November



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