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Sidebars: Savor the taste of Italy in Shelby County

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On a recent trip to Shelby County two restaurants caught my eye, each bearing the same name – Panzarotti’s Italian Café – and logo and each curiously situated less than a block apart in downtown Shelbyville. One sits at 20 S. Harrison just off the circle while the other sits directly on the circle. Parking dictated that I stop at the 20 S. Harrison location for my relatively late lunch.

I found a charming, cleanly decorated restaurant. The tables sat drenched with the traditional red/white checkerboard tablecloths offset by the black/white checkerboard tiled floor. The cheerful waitress brought me a menu, and I inquired over the difference between a panzarotti and a calzone. Both are pretty much the same in my book, best described as a large Italian bread turnover stuffed with ingredients of choice, typically those that mirror pizza toppings. She advised the panzarotti is indeed like a calzone but it contains a bit more ricotta cheese. So after that explanation, my opinion remained unchanged.

The menu outlined a selection of panzarottis and calzones as well as hand-tossed and deep-dish pizzas, pastas, salads, and sandwiches. My waitress pointed out that the bread is homemade and when I told her I was torn between pizza and the Italian sub, she stated I couldn’t go wrong with either. I opted for the sub because the smallest size 14” pizza seemed a bit heavy for lunch. While they offer pizza by the slice, I was a bit skeptical in ordering sliced pizza at 2:30 in the afternoon.

I found the sub worthy of a return trip. It contained perfectly proportioned amounts of salami, ham, provolone, romaine lettuce, and sweet onions. The Italian dressing on the side was the one drawback of this sandwich as it was obviously an unremarkable bottled brand as opposed to what it could have been, that being a simple blend of olive oil, red wine vinegar, and oregano. While not a fan of warm sub sandwiches, the slight warmth of the sandwich added to its personality. I’d recommend a few pepperoncinis to accent the sandwich, but I was in no position to complain as it exceeded my expectations.

In preparing to write this article I checked out the Facebook page. Diners overwhelmingly and consistently rave about the lasagna. I don’t think I’ve ever ordered lasagna at a restaurant so I’ll have to bring Jenny back and make her order it and give me a bite. Next time for me will be the pizza. Given the quality of the homemade sub roll, I am sure the pizza crust will not disappoint.

I asked the waitress about the other restaurant. She said it is open and is much larger. The menu is the same, and it offers more space for a busy dining night or banquets. While operating two cloned-menu operations in such close proximity seems a questionable business model, I can confidently state the food quality can support it. So on your next visit to Shelbyville, take a break from the ordinary and help support a local downtown merchant. Oh, don’t forget the cannoli for dessert! Panzarotti’s Italian Café, 20 S. Harrison Street, Shelbyville, Ind. 46176. 317-392-7833. www.panzarottis.net.

Fred Vaiana and Jennifer M. Lukemeyer practice at Voyles Zahn Paul Hogan & Merriman in Indianapolis, focusing in criminal defense. Vaiana is a 1992 graduate of the John Marshall Law School in Chicago. Lukemeyer earned her J.D. from Southern Methodist University in 1994 and is active in the Indianapolis Bar Association, Indianapolis Inn of Courts, and the Teen Court Program. The opinions expressed in this column are the authors’.

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  1. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

  2. YES I WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE IN A DIFFERENT SITUATION WITH MY YOUNGEST SON PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE WITH DCS IF WE ARE NOT HURTING OR NEGLECT OUR CHILDREN WHY ARE THEY EVEN CALLED OUT AND THE PEOPLE MAKING FALSE REPORTS NEED TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE A CLASS D FELONY ON THERE RECORD TO SEE HOW IT FEELS. I WENT THREW ALOT WHEN HE WAS TAKEN WHAT ELSE DOES THESE SCHOOL WANT ME TO SERVE 25 YEARS TO LIFE ON LIES THERE TELLING OR EVEN LE SAME THING LIED TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR JUST SO I WOULD GET ARRESTED AND GET TIME HE THOUGHT AND IT TURNED OUT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPEN AND SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR MY CHILD I AM DISABLED AND SICK OF GETTING TREATED BADLY HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF I CALLED APS ON THEM FOR A CHANGE THEN THEY CAN COME AND ARREST THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW WE ARE HOMELESS AND THE CHILDREN ARE STAYING WITH A RELATIVE AND GUARDIAN AND THE SCHOOL WON'T LET THEM GO TO SCHOOL THERE BUT WANT THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL WHERE BULLYING IS ALLOWED REAL SMART THINKING ON A SCHOOL STAFF.

  3. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

  4. Right on. Legalize it. We can take billions away from the drug cartels and help reduce violence in central America and more unwanted illegal immigration all in one fell swoop. cut taxes on the savings from needless incarcerations. On and stop eroding our fourth amendment freedom or whatever's left of it.

  5. "...a switch from crop production to hog production "does not constitute a significant change."??? REALLY?!?! Any judge that cannot see a significant difference between a plant and an animal needs to find another line of work.

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