so long, louie's...welcome, angie's
Acclaimed Houston chefs close their Italian East End restaurant and reboot to new wood-burning pizzeria
Chefs Angelo and Lucianna Emiliani are changing things up at Louie’s Italian American. The brother-and-sister duo announced they’re closing the East End restaurant effective today, April 10, in order to convert it to Angie’s Pizza.
Houston pizza obsessives may recall that Angelo Emiliani burst onto Houston’s pop-up scene in 2020 with his wood-fired pizzas. The chef, a veteran of legendary pizzaiolo Chris Bianco’s Los Angeles restaurant, brought Bianco’s same respect for locally sourced ingredients to the pizzas he made from a portable oven. Emiliani quickly established a reputation for his quality pies, earning a CultureMap Tastemaker Awards nomination in 2021 for Best Pop-Up.
Instead of focusing on pizza for his first restaurant, the chef and his sister chose to open the Mediterranean-inspired Cafe Louie in 2022 in order to showcase Lucianna Emiliani, a rising star pastry chef whose resume includes California’s acclaimed Tartine Bakery. The cafe quickly developed a following for chef Louie’s pastries in the morning and chef Angelo’s more elevated dinner menu centered around classic bistro fare. Still, it closed in December to become Louie’s Italian American, a restaurant devoted to classic red sauce fare such as spaghetti and meatballs, rigatoni with vodka sauce, and chicken parmesan.
Initially, Angelo Emiliani planned to get Louie’s off the ground and then open Angie’s Pizzas as a separate restaurant in a different location. He tells CultureMap he simply changed his plans.
“I was mentally exhausted [after opening Louie's]. I came to the conclusion that I don’t want to do another one,” Angelo says. After speaking to his business partners about that decision — and the extent to which everyone really liked the chef’s pizzas — they had a realization. “We thought, ‘what if this turned into Angie’s?’”
Angie’s Pizza will open after the renovations to the current Louie’s space that include the installation of a wood-burning oven. Initially, the restaurant will serve two types of pizza — 12-inch, Italian-style and 18-inch New York-style — along with pastas and salads. A few of Louie’s most popular dishes will make the transition, including rigatoni with sausage ragu, ricotta ravioli, and tiramisu.
“Our beverage program will tell the story of Italian drinking culture with a wine program that shares our geographical relationship to Southern Italy,” the siblings add in a lengthy Instagram post announcing the decision.
Initially, the restaurant will be open for dinner with lunch service to follow via the space’s walk-up window. Emiliani says he envisions lunch being primarily focused on the neighborhood with prices similar to what diners pay at nearby institution Champ Burger.
Louie’s pastries will continue to be available at a few locations around town, including Red Box Grocery, Catalina Coffee, and Giant Leap Coffee. They could also be sold during at Angie’s during lunch.
“I’m excited. I think everyone’s excited,” Angelo says. “It’s been an interesting process. We’re really happy with the conclusion. We’ve been happy with every iteration. It’s been a challenging experience, but I wouldn’t change anything.”