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Pizza Road Trip

When Sicilian Damiano Perillo came to Indiana to visit a friend in the late 1990s, he couldn’t predict he would find work at a Hendricks County trattoria. Or that he would one day head up the kitchen at his own self-named spot in North Salem, serving the deep-pan pizzas and well-sauced pastas he had made in restaurants for years back home. But he did just that when he moved from Frank’s Place, the Italian standard in Danville (where he also met his wife and future co-proprietor, Meredith), to open Perillo’s Pizzeria, a renovated 35-seat pasta-and-pizza joint that just marked its fifth anniversary.

Housed in a brick 1890s former doctor’s office, Perillo’s draws crowds (especially in summer, when seating opens to a landscaped patio). Some come for hearty plates of lasagna or penne tossed with ingredients from family gardens, served with buttery garlic rolls. Others opt for the 18-inch pies that fly out the door on weekend nights. And while the winding country roads to this bucolic spot can be a tad treacherous in winter, a brisk, blustery day is a great time to stop in. Cash-only, so hit an ATM on the way. 5 S. Broadway St., North Salem, 765-676-4171

A graduate of IU’s Master of Fine Arts program in creative writing, Terry Kirts hails from a town in Illinois so small it didn’t have a restaurant until he was in the 8th grade. Since 2000, he’s more than made up for the dearth of eateries in his childhood, logging hundreds of meals as the dining critic for WHERE Indianapolis, Indianapolis Woman, and NUVO before joining Indianapolis Monthly as a contributing editor in 2007. A senior lecturer in creative writing at IUPUI, Terry has published his poetry and creative nonfiction in a number of literary journals and anthologies, including Gastronomica, Alimentum, and Home Again: Essays and Memoirs from Indiana, and he’s the author of the poetry collection To the Refrigerator Gods, published by Seven Kitchens Press in 2011.