Little Italy in Dyer, IN

A couple weeks ago as the cold weather was setting in, I suggested to hubby that we go out and get pasta for dinner. Ever since I took a pasta making class last spring at Loyola University Chicago Retreat and Ecology Campus in Woodstock, I've just been completely spoiled. I really don't even want to eat pasta from a box anymore. I only want the freshly made stuff. 

I knew I'd find some good fresh homemade pasta at Little Italy in Dyer, In. I had been there once before with a girlfriend and remembered how good everything was and how generous the portions were. I interviewed one of the owners by phone earlier this year when they were voted "Best Italian Food" in the region by readers of the Northwest Indiana Times newspaper. I freelance for the paper and was to do a little write-up on the place

I learned that the owners were from Chicago where they were used to going to little neighborhood eateries regularly where you could get big helpings of homemade pasta that weren't too expensive. In Northwest Indiana they weren't able to find that, so they decided to bring the concept there. It's been a big hit. I've heard how busy the place is on weekends. Luckily, I missed the crowds on my visits - once for a late mid-afternoon weekday lunch and then most recently for an early weeknight dinner. It got busier after we arrived and had filled up before we left on a Tuesday evening.

We'd had a big lunch and really didn't want a huge meal, so we decided to order the "Little Italy," the smaller of the two portion sizes. This is a great place to order a few items to have family style if you've got a few in your group and like to try out a few different menu items. Each entree comes in a "Little Italy" and "Big Italy" size. 

I was in the mood for pasta, but also for fish. So, we ordered the Lake Superior Whitefish, which came with a salad and also a side of baked ziti (I asked if I could get white sauce and they kindly obliged) and it was perfect for a meal for two. Oh, and that was after the warm bread with olive oil and parmesan that any good Italian place starts you off with. 

And then I just couldn't pass up the tiramisu for dessert. It's probably my very favorite dessert of all (even thought I don't drink coffee). Even with two of us splitting the meal, we still had a good amount of salad, pasta and half of the tiramisu left. It was a filling meal for two and just $18 for the fish entree with salad and pasta. Seriously, you couldn't eat at Olive Garden for that price and this is so much better. The whitefish was fantastic - it was served with a cauliflower puree, roasted cauliflower purple potatoes and Calabrian chilis. 

I highly recommend this place if you're in Northwest Indiana and looking for a good plate of pasta and other authentic Italian specialties. For more info, visit