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NORMAL - You've heard of calzones, and if you're thoroughly ethnic, you may call them cal-ZONE-es.

But if you're going to D.P. Dough, you're getting "cal-ZONES." The menu usually refers to the creations as "Zones."

And don't expect Italian dinner music, unless you count Bruce Springsteen, who is Italian on his mother's side.

Place for a formal date? Not even close. Informal place for a creative sandwich? Yep.

Carryout and delivery also are options.

D.P. Dough is new in uptown Normal, located at 121 E. Beaufort St. along the strip and on the same side street as the Children's Discovery Museum.

The business, a Massachusetts-based chain, has taken the calzone, which is essentially a pizza sandwich or a pizza turnover, and added some thoroughly American curves.

I had the "Combat Zone," which despite the name is pretty straight forward: pepperoni, sausage, peppers, mushrooms and mozzarella.

Less traditional items include the Ham N' Egg Zone, one of three breakfast calzones. (The business isn't open for breakfast, unless you consider breakfast hour to be after 11 a.m.) There's a Cordon Bleu Zone, a BBQ Chicken Zone and the Maui Wowi Zone with ham and pineapple.

Strike Zone, Safety Zone, Danger Zone, Party Zone. The Passing Zone, Red Zone, Speed Zone and Target Zone.

You never grasped how many zones we have created in our jargoned English usage or how many things you can do with a calzone until you start reading the D.P. Dough menu.

I count 51 varieties of zone sandwiches on the menu. If you can't figure it out from that selection, No. 52 is the construction zone - which is a custom-ordered concoction of up to five ingredients.

Someone ordered onion with pineapple the other day. Strange. The local franchise owner, Ryan Fiala, noted that the employees will cook to such orders but "we don't sell them with a warranty."

All the zones are $6.50. With a drink, my lunch was $8.

The Zones handle well if eaten like a sandwich.

I was handed plastic ware along with my Combat Zone and fountain soda. I thought I'd cut it, but the plastic knife wouldn't make it through the Zone crust easily. Use the hands. Pick up the pie-shaped piece, dip it in the provided marinara sauce and bite.

Essentials

D.P. Dough

• 121 E. Beaufort St., Normal

• (309) 888-ZONE (9663).

• Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Monday through Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Thursday through Saturday; 11 a.m. to 1 a.m. Sunday.

• Parking: There is street parking along Beaufort, but it's limited. You may end up walking a couple blocks from public lots along North Street.

• Delivery: The delivery area is all of Bloomington-Normal. There's no delivery charge but there may be in the future because of gas prices.

Other menu items

Also sold are chicken wings, chicken salad and salads. Cookies and pints of ice cream are available for dessert.

Drinks

It's Pepsi products - can or fountain drink.

Interior

The location is a little cramped, with room for two two-seat tables and four four-tops and walls painted a deep red. Add jam music and it feels like campus town. However, the selection during my visit was classic rock, so boomers on down may feel at home.

Customers

I'm told the clientele has been a cross-section: A decent number of families leaving the Children's Discovery Museum, college students, university employees and townies. Bulk orders are heading out to businesses for employees wanting something a little different at lunch. Late-night, it's the after-bar crowd of mostly young people.

Business history

Penny and Dan Haley (the D. and the P.) are a mother-son team who started the chain in Amherst, Mass. The Normal owner, Fiala, is a graduate of Illinois State University, as is his brother Steve, who runs the Champaign store. David Flood is the general manager in Normal.

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