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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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  3. All these sites putting up all the crap they do making Brent Look like A Monster like he's not a good person . First off th fight actually started not because of Brent but because of one of his friends then when the fight popped off his friend ran like a coward which left Brent to fend for himself .It IS NOT a crime to defend yourself 3 of them and 1 of him . just so happened he was a better fighter. I'm Brent s wife so I know him personally and up close . He's a very caring kind loving man . He's not abusive in any way . He is a loving father and really shouldn't be where he is not for self defense . Now because of one of his stupid friends trying to show off and turning out to be nothing but a coward and leaving Brent to be jumped by 3 men not only is Brent suffering but Me his wife , his kids abd step kidshis mom and brother his family is left to live without him abd suffering in more ways then one . that man was and still is my smile ....he's the one real thing I've ever had in my life .....f@#@ You Lafayette court system . Learn to do your jobs right he maybe should have gotten that year for misdemeanor battery but that s it . not one person can stand to me and tell me if u we're in a fight facing 3 men and u just by yourself u wouldn't fight back that you wouldn't do everything u could to walk away to ur family ur kids That's what Brent is guilty of trying to defend himself against 3 men he wanted to go home tohisfamily worse then they did he just happened to be a better fighter and he got the best of th others . what would you do ? Stand there lay there and be stomped and beaten or would u give it everything u got and fight back ? I'd of done the same only I'm so smallid of probably shot or stabbed or picked up something to use as a weapon . if it was me or them I'd do everything I could to make sure I was going to live that I would make it hone to see my kids and husband . I Love You Brent Anthony Forever & Always .....Soul 1 baby

  4. Good points, although this man did have a dog in the legal fight as that it was his mother on trial ... and he a dependent. As for parking spaces, handicap spots for pregnant women sure makes sense to me ... er, I mean pregnant men or women. (Please, I meant to include pregnant men the first time, not Room 101 again, please not Room 101 again. I love BB)

  5. I have no doubt that the ADA and related laws provide that many disabilities must be addressed. The question, however, is "by whom?" Many people get dealt bad cards by life. Some are deaf. Some are blind. Some are crippled. Why is it the business of the state to "collectivize" these problems and to force those who are NOT so afflicted to pay for those who are? The fact that this litigant was a mere spectator and not a party is chilling. What happens when somebody who speaks only East Bazurkistanish wants a translator so that he can "understand" the proceedings in a case in which he has NO interest? Do I and all other taxpayers have to cough up? It would seem so. ADA should be amended to provide a simple rule: "Your handicap, YOUR problem". This would apply particularly to handicapped parking spaces, where it seems that if the "handicap" is an ingrown toenail, the government comes rushing in to assist the poor downtrodden victim. I would grant wounded vets (IED victims come to mind in particular) a pass on this.. but others? Nope.

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