Rebranded East End cafe reveals new Italian-American menu and opening date
Café Louie’s transformation into an Italian restaurant is nearly complete. Louie’s Italian American will open for dinner this Sunday, December 11.
As CultureMap has previously reported, Café Louie closed last month to focus on the Italian American fare that it had begun to serve during its popular Red Sauce Sunday dinner special. The Mediterranean-inspired, all-day cafe had earned considerable media attention for chef Angelo Emiliani’s classic bistro fare and pastries made by his sister, pastry chef Lucianna “Louie” Emiliani, but the six-month-old restaurant struggled to build a sufficient following. Sunday night’s success prompted them to make the change.
“Louie and I grew up with Italian American cooking, and we launched Red Sauce Sundays at Café Louie to honor that tradition,” Angelo Emiliani said in a statement. “Little did we know it would resonate so much with seemingly everyone, and we had to take a good look in the mirror when Sundays started to regularly outperform Saturday nights. We poured our hearts into Café Louie, but we must be responsible as small business owners and give the people what they clearly want.”
While Red Sauce Sundays featured a prix fixe menu, Louie’s Italian American will offer an a la carte, family-style menu. Meals will begin with selections such as a chopped salad or a Caesar salad along with Café Louie’s fan favorite shrimp cocktail with verde cocktail sauce and lemon aioli.
Louie will make four pastas in house — rigatoni, tajarin, tagliatelle, and spinach ravioli – each of which can be paired with difference sauces such as rigatoni with vodka sauce or meatballs and gravy, tajarin with mushroom masala or vongole, and spinach ravioli with cultured butter sauce or a classic red sauce. Entree choices include chicken parmesan, redfish piccata, and steak and shrimp fra diavolo made with wagyu New York strip.
Vegetable sides such as roasted pumpkin and seared cauliflower round out the savory options. While the menu may be new, the chefs remain committed to utilizing ingredients from Texas farms, ranches, and other producers.
Pastry chef Luciana has put her spin on Italian-inspired desserts such as tiramisu, Meyer lemon posset, carrot cake, and a daily gelato. She also developed the restaurant’s cocktail offerings that include a frozen Negroni, different spritzes, and a martini.
An Aperol spritz.Photo by Lindsey Cooper-Trevino and Sergio Trevino
Inside, the space has been given a makeover that includes floral wallpaper, bistro-style wood chairs, framed recipes, and lace curtains along the kitchen windows.
Located at 3401 Harrisburg Blvd., Louie’s Italian American is part of The Plant. The East End mixed-use development is also home to wine bar How to Survive on Land and Sea, popsicle and gelato shop Popston, the Little Red Box Grocery, and others.