Perillo's Pizzeria in North Salem
Huge pies and dripping New York slices at this adorable cash-only shop with a huge local following.
After seeing Perillo's in the Indianapolis Monthly article, Chris and I planned a trip that would take us further west than we would normally drive for dinner. We spent the day hiking Turkey Run State Park and stopped by Perillo's Pizzeria in North Salem (view on map) on the way back, which was basically the half way point. It doesn't look like they have an Instagram or even a website for that matter, so here is their Facebook page.
We immediately recognized the adorable white brick building from the photo in the magazine article. While it is only steps away from the main drag in North Salem, there was plenty of street parking, outdoor patio, and huge adjacent lot with picnic tables so it was not hard to find a seat. We did notice a surge of locals getting carry-out that picked up around 5pm - you can tell it's an incredibly popular spot.
The shaded patio was nice and we had incredible weather last weekend when we went. Their drinks come in plastic reusable cups with paper straws, and they have a sign on the patio that made me chuckle. "You are eating outside; there will be bugs and birds."
They offer individual slices or whole giant pizzas on their menu, no other sizes. I'll post photos of the menu below because I haven't found a good site that has their menu on it. So if you're looking for the Perillo's Pizza menu, we got you covered. We ordered the 18 inch New York style and the 16 inch Sicilian style and got half pepperoni and half cheese on each to try them out.
We got some great photos in the shade, great lighting, and I promptly burned the roof of my mouth on the molten cheese straight out of the oven.
Their New York style was my favorite. It has great crust flavor and good chewyness, not too floppy and not too thin. The sauce was relatively light so the cheese stayed put rather than all sliding off. They definitely pulled of the New York style flavor that I associate with elementary school cafeteria cheese from the 90's and a slightly yeasty wheaty foldable crust. The monster slices were dripping with orange grease to the point you had to be careful if you tipped your hand the wrong way the grease would start running down your hand instead of dripping from the tip onto the plate.
It was a superb greasy New York slice, but I don't think it was different enough from Bella's or Amore to make the drive all the way out just for this pizza, but the overall experience, small town, cute building, and shady patio could tempt me back - or as a pit stop on the way to Turkey Run in the future.
The Sicilian style was a deep spongy crust with just a slight crispness that held it's shape under the weight of all that cheese. It was sturdy enough to eat by hand instead of a fork. Below is a cheese pull video from the corner showing how the large square cut slice is able to hold up. It has a buttery lightness with a slight crunch that contrasts with the gobs of cheese on top. Slightly more sauce on the Sicilian style compared to the NY style.
Overall, I can see why this place stands out with high quality pies, friendly staff, and historic aesthetic in a small town. I'm glad we came and I'd gladly go back any time we happen to be in the area. I'm getting more and more into the idea of #PizzaTourism because I've been realizing there are a lot of great places outside the city and the suburbs.
Photos of the Perillo's Pizza menu as of summer 2020.