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Chicken Vesuvio

Chicken Vesuvio

While pizza put House of Pizza on the food map, much more than the popular pie stars at the restaurant.

House of Pizza, located on Indianapolis Boulevard in Hammond, was established in 1954. The eatery features not only a variety of pizza recipes, including Gluten-Free Cheese Pizza, but an assortment of other goodies such as wraps, salads, sandwiches, paninis, ribs, broasted chicken and other specialty dinners.

It was Dante Zunica who originally opened the restaurant in Northwest Indiana. Zunica had a standout recipe for homemade sausage. The pizza also featured what was called a pressed crust, making the crust thin and crispy.

We visited House of Pizza on a recent Wednesday for dinner. There were plenty of customers in the house that night, with some diners sitting in the bar area, others in the main dining room as well as some in the back party room.

There was a real family atmosphere during our visit as there were diners of all ages enjoying pizza and other entrees. The restaurant sports TV sets in various rooms so diners don't have to miss an important sporting event they may be interested in.

Our waitress requested  beverage orders while she promptly delivered menus to the table. Anytime you're in House of Pizza, it's difficult to bypass the flavorful pie. So, we tested a few different entrees as well as a pizza.

The pizza choice ($13.50 for a large) during our visit was what some may think of as a Hawaiian style with pineapple, green pepper and the addition of shrimp. The shrimp added a slightly different but flavorful touch to it.

To start the meal, we ordered Fried Green Beans ($7), which came with Ranch dressing as well as a slightly sweet marinara. Also ordered was the Chicken Vesuvio ($12.95). The Vesuvio entree also came with a choice of soup or salad. The dinner salad proved to be a large portion. House of Pizza's house dressing, a ranch with bacon in it, received praise at our table. While the restaurant's creamy garlic, which is also homemade, was delicious, their ranch/bacon combo was a standout.

The restaurant's Chicken Vesuvio featured a chicken breast, rather than pieces of chicken, served with roasted potatoes and an olive oil/ garlic-based sauce.

Among other dishes in the spotlight at the eatery are Breaded Cauliflower Bites; Chicken Waffle appetizers; Potato Skins; Mesquite Chicken Salad; Black and Bleu Salad; Meatball Sandwich; Pot Roast Sandwich; Jerk Pear Wrap; House of Pizza Lasagna; Angel Hair with Tomato Wine Sauce; Vegetable Panini; BBQ Burger; Lake Perch; and more.

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Eloise writes about food and entertainment for The Times, subjects she has covered for over two decades in and around the Region. She was the youngest of eight children in a Chicago household filled with fantastic cooks and artists.