Pranzari awaits you in Crown Point, Ind., in Beacon Hill, the shopping mall anchored by Strack & Van Til at East 109th Street and Broadway.
A recent visit to the Italian restaurant, owned by Ross Pangere and managed by Kirt Witham, reveals this is probably the region’s newest crown jewel. The hand-painted murals, black linens with butcher paper table tops, glittery glass, tiled floors, piped-in Italian music, nice wine list all spell success.
“Pranzari” is Italian for, variously, “to have lunch,” “to eat.” And, with Chef Greg Kretschmar at the helm of the kitchen, you’re in for a treat. Kretschmar has consulted on many restaurant openings in the region and his cooking is legend. He uses organic produce and his sea bass and salmon are wild and flown in from Hawaii.
“Wild is better than farm raised because farms use growth hormones to mature the fish fast so they can turn a profit quicker,” Kretschmar says.
And, as we all know, growth hormones have a shady reputation. Consider some of his offerings: Black Mussels in spicy marinara sauce, Veal Meatballs with roasted garlic and red peppers, Panzanella (bread salad), Cannelloni in marinara sauce, Penne Amatriciana with bacon, onion, garlic and basil, Risotto al Paesano with Italian sausage and green beans, Twin Boneless Pork Chops, Pranzari Filet of Sirloin DeVinci Barolo with a demiglace sauce.
In a few weeks, Pranzari will open at 11 a.m. Mondays to Saturdays. The restaurant will be open on Sundays for private parties only. There is a separate bar with full service. The martini menu looks interesting!
There’s a children’s menu and desserts, sorbettos and gelatos are yours for the asking. Chef is even considering featuring my Babette’s Biscotti at the restaurant!
Kretschmar is still looking for professional kitchen staff for the 125-seat venue. Call (219) 226-1400.
I fully expect to give this place Two Yums Up! I’ll race you there! Check out Chef Greg’s garlic bread.