I had heard so many good things about Magoo's California Pizza in Avon, Indiana, that I had wanted to try it for quite awhile, but for some reason always failed to get there, until recently.
Located along U.S. 36 near the Ronald Reagan Parkway intersection at 10584 E. U.S. Hwy 36, the building kind of gets lost in the shuffle as cars speed past, but this is no ordinary pizza joint.
Founded and owned by a wonderful Muslim family, Magoo's has some distinct differences. First of all, they only serve halal zabihah meat on their pizzas, sandwiches and kabobs, which means they do not serve pork and instead offer beef and turkey alternatives for all their meat.
Among the food I ordered on my visit was sausage on one half of my pizza, which was a beef sausage, and I couldn't tell the difference. But before I detail my experience, I want to share a little bit about Magoo's history and the family behind it.
Family Owned & Operated
Magoo's is the brain child of Tasawar Awan, who was born in Pakistan but moved to the U.S. with his family back in 1988. The family lived in California originally where he worked in the pizza industry. But it wasn't until the family moved to Indiana in 2006 that he started his own restaurant.
As his son Umer tells it, his dad wanted to accommodate people who don't eat pork as part of their religious beliefs, which he couldn't find at pizza restaurants in Central Indiana. So, he started his own opening up the original Magoo's at 4919 W. 38th St. in Indianapolis in the summer of 2006.
How did he come up with the name Magoo's? Mr. Magoo was Tasawar's favorite cartoon character.
After years of success with the Indy location, they decided to open a second location closer to their home in Plainfield, opening in Avon in October 2015.
Magoo's offers a couple of unique pizzas and a signature sauce that sets them apart. Their chicken tikka pizza (onions, green peppers, tomatoes and chicken tikka) and chappli kabob pizza (chicken kabob, green peppers, tomatoes and onions) have become local favorites.
The chicken tikka comes with Magoo's non-traditional, white garlic sauce base, which, in a word, is amazing! The chappli kabob has its own kabob sauce, but often people ask for it with their white garlic sauce as well.
Their other two most popular pizzas are more traditional -- supreme (pepperoni, beef sausage, mushrooms, onions, green peppers and tomatoes) and meat lover's (pepperoni, beef sausage and ground beef). Both of those pizzas come with Magoo's homemade red sauce. You can also build your own pizza, choosing the sauce and any of about 14 toppings.
They offer two crusts -- their traditional hand tossed or thin. You can even make any pizza "spicy" for no charge with the addition of chopped jalapenos.
If you order their 10-inch small or larger, you can do half and half, which is what I chose to do during my visit. I went with their chicken tikka for one half of my pizza and sausage and mushroom with red sauce for the other half.
Both halves were good, but the chicken tikka with the white garlic sauce was by far my favorite. It was creamy, meaty and flavorful with every bite.
Magoo's does not skimp on toppings. The pizza was loaded and the California mindset of their business means they don't save an area on the edge for crust. They take the sauce and toppings to the edge and it shows with every bite.
Magoo's always offers a pizza and wings combo special. Being a chicken wings lover, I had to go that route. The bone-in wings are baked not fried, so the sauce is baked in and not dripping off like you see at other restaurants. They offer their wings three ways: regular, mild and spicy. I chose spicy and wasn't disappointed.
The baked-on sauce was a spicy buffalo flavor, and they served it with their homemade ranch, which was the star of this show. The ranch was so good, in fact, that my wife and I started dipping pieces of our pizza in it.
The wings were large and meaty, and every bite was juicy as the meat literally fell off the bone.
Other Menu Options
Besides pizza, their menu includes numerous other entrees such as salads and sub sandwiches, including veggie, steak, meatball and lamb, among others. They also offer burgers.
But I have to point out their Magzones, which are their housemade calzones. They have six different varieties that are served with your choice of their homemade ranch or marinara dipping sauces. They also serve chappli kabobs.
In addition to their wings, their appetizers include mozzarella cheese sticks, potato wedges, onion rings, French fries, chicken nuggets and a few varieties of garlic bread.
If you have dietary restrictions, Magoo's offers non-GMO, vegetarian, gluten free and keto options by request.
They do not, however, have any desserts.
Because of current statewide restrictions, Magoo's offers limited dine-in. They currently have seating for about 24 people inside and have plenty of room for social distancing.
I'm guessing the six tables that were threre during my visit encompassed only 50-75 percent of their typical dining room seating capacity. They also offer free wifi for their guests and do have restrooms inside.
Their delivery is limited in the Avon area.
Before I visited, I did peruse both Yelp and TripAdvisor to look at the store's reviews, which were excellent on both sites. In fact, I read just about as many positive reviews about the family and their customer service as I did about the food, which is always a great sign.
That didn't surprise Umer who said they take great pride in serving their customers at both locations. They always have family members at both and have built real connections with their customers trying to accommodate any and every request.
I definitely felt that connection the first time I entered. You can't go wrong here. A great small business ran by a family who values their customers and serves both traditional and non-traditional fare that tastes great. What's not to love?
Magoo's California Pizza
- 10584 E. U.S. 36, Avon, Ind.
- (317) 271-4411