A lot has changed in the past 70 years: humans landed on the moon, rock 'n' roll stormed the charts, and the Internet revolutionized the way people laugh at cat pictures. While innovations are good for grabbing headlines, the chefs at Country lounge see the value of keeping things classic. In addition to juicy steaks and sauce-laden pastas, their bill of fare calls back to art deco decadence with bygone dishes such as shrimp de jonghe and oysters rockefeller. Dinners unfold at tables clad in burgundy-colored cloth, and a full-service bar offers post-meal cocktails.
Perched above the awning, a sturdy cow statue welcomes guests to the red-brick realm of Piatak Meats, first opened in 1910 and serving Merrillville since 1959. Inside, bright-pink cuts of meat line glass cases alongside homestyle heat-and-serve entrees such as lasagna and meatloaf. Culled from animals raised without hormones or added preservatives, the meat is chopped fresh daily, and staff also cut humanely raised Amish chickens by hand. Piatak Meats' signature house-made sausages include the flagship polish sausage made with garlic, as well as hot and mild italian sausage with whole fennel.
Antonio and Rosa DeRosa came from a long line of merchants who sold Italian staples such as pasta, olive oil, and wine in Montedecoro, Italy. The family was well known around Naples for these provisions, and when Antonio and Rosa immigrated to America in 1926, they stocked their business, DeRosa Imports, with these same Old World staples.
Today, grandson Anthony DeRosa runs the shop, where he upholds tradition by importing extra-virgin Sicilian olive oil, Italian espresso, and pastas ranging from rigatoni to gnocchi. Over time, the family has expanded their selection to include products from countries such as Croatia and Serbia. Artisanal pickles, sauces, and jams infused with rose hips or sour cherries line the shelves, along with bottles of wine to pair with dinner or pour on thirsty houseplants.
Prior to arriving at tables, the wings at Brewski's Wings and Things bathe in one of 12 sauces, which range from Dijon honey to parmesan and pepper. It's fair to say the sauces have a kick since even the mild buffalo sauce is called "mild hot" and the hottest flavor goes by the name "hotter than super hot." Aside from wings, diners nosh on chicken tenders, half-pound steak burgers, and nachos loaded with beef, beans, jalapeños, and guacamole. A cartoon rooster named Roscoe, the eatery's brew-holding mascot, makes multiple appearances on the menu and in the dreams of children who want to grow up to be a chicken who drinks responsibly.
Many families gather for holidays, weddings, and other special events. The Kambouris and Zaronias clans also convene to celebrate Greek and American cuisine at Maxim's Restaurant, their eatery, cocktail lounge, and catering service. Their lunch and dinner menu brims with hearty comfort food such as homemade soup, roast turkey with dressing, shish kebobs, and more than a dozen types of pasta dishes. Tivoli pizzas, one of the kitchen's specialties, can be ordered Greek-style with gyro meat and feta cheese or American-style with hamburger or barbecued pork. From 6 a.m. to midnight, the cooks also prepare homestyle breakfasts, including omelets, biscuits and gravy, and crepes with fruit or chocolate chips. In the lounge and sports bar, mixologists pour domestic drafts and craft colorful cocktails such as bloody marys and Maxim's fruit punch. The space also hosts toga parties teeming with ouzo shots, bottled beers, and music from a live DJ.