The Franklin Development Corporation approved the expansion of an Iozzo’s Garden of Italy restaurant to downtown Franklin.
The new restaurant, Iozzo’s on Jefferson, legally named South Meridian Restaurant Group, LLC, will be located at 351 E. Jefferson St. with plans to open in early 2024. This will be the second restaurant in the restaurant group’s portfolio, following Iozzo’s Garden of Italy, a longtime establishment located in the Old Southside neighborhood in Indianapolis. The establishment will be co-operated by Katie Harris and her business partner, Elif Odzemir. Odzemir moved to the United States in 2009 and purchased her first business in 2018, a Greek food truck. In 2019 she took over Giorgio’s Pizza, an Indianapolis institution, and in 2021 she opened Mama Fofo’s Greek kitchen in the Garage Food Hall.
Harris shared some comments about her excitement for the expansion. “As someone who grew up in Johnson County, I’m overjoyed with the plans for this new restaurant and our chance to continue my family’s legacy,” said South Meridian Restaurant Group, LLC, owner and founder Harris. “Iozzo’s Garden of Italy laid a strong foundation for our business to expand into new markets, and we know Franklin will be a great fit. We look forward to sharing our elevated menu and dining experience with new patrons on the southside.”
The two-story, roughly 3,500-square-foot restaurant will seat approximately 79 guests, with 20 additional seats in the bar area. The menu will feature Iozzo’s classics like classic lasagna bolognese, homemade pasta and fresh seafood. The location will also offer signature wine collections, Iozzo’s Limoncello and a full bar.
Iozzo’s on Jefferson will employ 20 full-time and 15 part-time employees. The restaurant will serve lunch Monday through Friday and dinner seven days a week.
This announcement closely follows the return of executive chef Kathy Jones. Prior to rejoining Iozzo’s Hospitality Group, Jones worked as the corporate executive chef at Big Woods Restaurant Group, Second Helpings and Salt on Mass. Jones also worked at Westmark Hotel and Totem Square Hotel in Sitka, Alaska.
“With Kathy’s expertise in developing high-quality and exciting dishes, customer experience, and her passion for Iozzos’ cuisine, it was the perfect time for her to rejoin our team,” Harris said. “As we continue to grow the Iozzo’s footprint, Kathy will be an integral part of the success.”
Chef Kathy’s work has earned her a list of accolades and awards, including the honor of serving as the celebrity chef for Rev Indy 2022 and receiving the Hoosier Service Award from Indiana’s lieutenant governor in 2018.
About Iozzo’s Hospitality Group
Iozzo’s Hospitality Group is headquartered in Indianapolis and has served the finest in Italian cuisine and wine to restaurant guests since 2009. Iozzo’s is celebrated for its fresh take on old-world dishes, extensive wine list and craft cocktails. Inspired ingredient choices create new flavors in established Iozzo’s favorites, many originating from long-held family recipes. Iozzo’s is best known for Iozzo’s Garden of Italy, located in the Old Southside in Indianapolis, and has plans to open a second location in Franklin, Indiana, in 2024.