By Melissa Schwartz
(Photo: Perillo's Pizzaria)
With a population of approximately 530, the tiny town of North Salem has an outsized draw in Perillo’s Pizzeria, a place that draws families from miles away. From the beginning, Perillo’s has been all about family.
Perillo’s brick building dates from the 1890s. The building once served as the office of Dr. Oscar H. Wiseheart, who established his North Salem medical practice shortly after his 1898 graduation from a Kentucky medical school. Dr. Wiseheart practiced in the building for over 60 years, before his son Robert took up the family business.
Fast forward to 2011 and the building once again became a family practice of a different kind. After years of working in the food industry as a chef, Damiano Perillo opened his own restaurant, partnering with his brother-in-law Bob Miller. The pair chose North Salem for their restaurant, hoping to share their delicious food while bringing life back to a shrinking town.
When I spoke to Damiano Perillo, he expressed his love for the charm of North Salem and his desire to see the town grow again. Very engaged in the community, his restaurant sponsors a wildly popular pizza eating contest during the town’s Old Fashion Days each Labor Day weekend.
(Photo: Perillo's Pizzaria)
Everything about Perillo’s expresses a love of community and family. The family pulled together to renovate the building as a pizzeria. Originally from Italy, Damiano has created his own fresh recipes, many based on family favorites. Amazingly large slices of pizza, plentiful Italian dishes, enormous rolls and elegant desserts provide an enjoyable family experience. From top to bottom, Perillo’s is all about family. Buon appetito!
(Photo: Melissa Schwartz)
Perillo’s Pizzeria, at 5 S. Broadway St. in North Salem, is open every day except Tuesday from 10:30 a.m.-9:00 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Thursday, 10:30 a.m.-9:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10:30 a.m.-8:00 p.m. Sunday. Leave the credit cards at home as the pizzeria only accepts cash. Perillo’s doesn’t take reservations, but you can call ahead to see if there will be a long wait. Takeout orders are available.
Melissa Schwartz is a contributor and editor of Two Moms, a Little Time, and a Keyboard, a hyper-local blog in the Northwest suburbs of Chicago. She also manages the social media for Norton’s U.S.A., a general store in Barrington, Illinois only selling products made in the U.S.A. She has a passion for traveling a little off the beaten path and finding gems that others have overlooked. She especially enjoys creating special travel memories with her husband and 9-year-old daughter. Follow her on Twitter @momsandkeyboard.
About Hidden Gems Indiana
Each week Indiana Landmarks uses insider knowledge to highlight historic places worth a visit, from the quirky to the sublime: small towns, neighborhoods, restaurants, shops, parks, cemeteries, scenic drives, museums -- you get the idea. Learn more about Indiana Landmarks at www.indianalandmarks.org.