One of this year's most eagerly anticipated new restaurants will make its debut next week. Cafe Louie, an all-day cafe inspired by Mediterranean flavors, will open Wednesday, May 11.
Located at The Plant, the converted East End warehouse that's also home to popular wine bar How to Survive on Land and Sea, Cafe Louie will occupy a 2,300-square space with a 750-square-foot patio. In addition to a cafe serving breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the space will also be home to Little Red Box Grocery, a non-profit grocer designed to appeal to area residents. Initially, the restaurant will be open daily from 7 am until 7 pm with later hours to follow.
As CultureMap first reported last year, brother-and-sister chefs Angelo and Lucianna "Louie" Emiliani will lead Cafe Louie. Angelo, a veteran of restaurants such as Uchi Houston, Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc, and Tartine in Los Angeles, made a splash in Houston beginning in the fall of 2020 with Angie's Pizza, his wood-fired pizza concept that drew upon his experiences working for James Beard Award-winning pizza master Chris Bianco. Louie started her career at Houston's popular Tiny Boxwoods before joining her brother at Tartine in Los Angeles. Together, they've created a menu of pastries and savory items that draws upon their diverse experience and includes French, Mediterranean, Italian, and Israeli flavors.
“It’s kind of like we’re pinching ourselves the whole day, to make sure this is really happening––and it is,” chef Louie said in a statement. “Because of the pandemic, we’ve been waiting and talking and planning for over a year. We are just so happy to be here.”
Angelo's savory menu begins with breakfast items such as the McLouie, a sandwich made with cheddar gougeres, a housemade maple sausage patty, cheese curds, a sunny-side-up egg, and dijonaise; gluten-free Adventure Bread is a sliced nut & seed bread topped with salted butter, comte, and soft-boiled egg. The all-day menu includes options such as a vegetable sandwich (griddled yuba, sesame dressing, herbs, roasted onions, and broccoli), the "Ham Sammich" (French ham, mustard, mayo, cornichon, and fried shallot), and more. Dinner takes a step up in refinement with options like shrimp cocktail and chicken liver parfait. Many of the dishes will utilize locally-sourced ingredients.
Cafe Louie's pastry menu starts with an extensive selection of viennoiserie (croissants and other laminated doughs), along with cinnamon rolls, morning buns, coffee cake, cookies, and more. The chef puts her spin on a classic sausage-and-cheese kolache by adding caramelized onions. Beverage options include locally roasted Amaya coffee alongside craft beer and natural wines.
“The great part of cooking professionally is the creative aspect –– to make something that’s delicious, and to work with local producers as well as nationwide artisans,” Angelo added. “It gives us such pure joy to provide hospitality to people –– and really, just means a lot to us to give people a good time. That is what we want Cafe Louie to be.”