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Posted by on Mar 4, 2015 | 4 comments

Best of Akron: Luigi’s Restaurant

Best of Akron: Luigi’s Restaurant

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As much as I love discovering a Great New Spot, something about our never-ending Ohio winters sucks the explorer right out of me. Our family’s been clinging to the ‘classics’ these past few months, and you can’t get more tried-and-true than Luigi’s Restaurant in Akron, Ohio.

Luigi’s, which first opened its doors in 1949, is downright legendary in these parts. That’s why even though it’s a family fave, I felt zero-need to write about it, until recently. {Our blog has purposefully veered toward writing about new spots or hidden gems.}  But a few weeks ago, one of my dearest foodie friends STUNNED me by confessing that in her 19 years of living here, she’s never been. Beth, honestly, I thought I knew you. ;) So, this post’s for you, Beth, and anyone else who has yet to discover Akron’s slice of heaven that is Luigi’s.

Let’s start with logistics. No, not food. Logistics. It’s exceptionally important at Luigi’s. If you like to dine during peak dinner hours, expect to wait in line out the door and down the sidewalk. Reservations are not accepted, and I’ve had some sort of wait on most visits, including lunches. Even on bitterly cold or rainy nights, we’ve been known to have to wait outside for 20+ minutes. And by ‘we’ I mean my husband, while the kids and I stay in the car until he nears the door. He’s good like that. Luigi’s is also cash only. They have an ATM on site for debit card holders, but no credit cards are accepted. Come prepared!

Once you’re lucky enough to get inside {and you will feel lucky}, you’re immediately greeted with some seriously out-of-date décor, wall paneling and floor-to-ceiling wall murals. The restaurant hasn’t been updated since ever, but in this rare case, it’s a positive. Old school recipes + kitchy décor = throwback charm. My kids love the vintage revolving Budweiser Clydesdale fixture over the bar/waiting area. They think it would look really nice in our dining room.


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Although Luigi’s has a fairly sizable menu, ordering is super easy for us. We’ve definitely honed in on our favorites over the years: salad, pizza, baked meatball casserole, wine.

Italian Tossed Salad with Cheese: Just set your food snobbery and your micro-greens and your Burrata cheese aside for a few and enjoy this salad. A heaping mound of shredded whole-milk mozzarella cheese rests on iceberg lettuce and sliced black olives tossed in a garlicky-oil house Italian dressing. This is the Double, which was plenty for our table:

double italian tossed salad

Pizza: I’m stuck with a family of traditional pizza eaters, so while *I* would go for the delicious Pizza Bianco, I get overruled Every. Time. Our family’s go-to is what Luigi’s refers to as Tomato Cheese Sausage Pepperoni. It’s basically a sausage pepperoni pizza, and boy is it good. The crust is on the thick doughy side, the red sauce is slow-simmered and rich, and the sausage is housemade. It’s totally worth every calorie and carb. If sausage-‘roni isn’t your thing, never fear – multiple combinations abound.

pizza

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Baked Meatball Casserole: This one’s easy to miss on the menu, but trust me, it’s a winner. You get two sizable meatballs, baked with homemade red sauce and melted mozz cheese. Be sure to get some extra Italian bread for dipping.

baked meatball casserole

Cheap Red Wine: Nope, no Wine Spectator awards here. I usually order a glass of red that I know by the picture of a pizza on the bottle label {$5/glass}. Know what I’m talking about? It’s super fancy. ….when in Rome.

Homemade Lasagna: I’m giving this an honorable mention, along with their other baked pastas. People are crazy about them, but I prefer Luigi’s pizzas and meatballs over the pasta dishes.

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A few other things you should know…. They’re open late, very late. I’m talking 4 am late. It’s a must-stop after a night of bar-hopping or concert-going. {Sidenote: I’ve completely forgotten how to do either of those things, not to mention staying up until 4 am on purpose. Sigh.} Speaking of no longer bar-hopping or concert-going, Luigi’s is exceptionally kid-friendly. Pizza, meatballs, wine {for mom!}, all inside a noisy restaurant? Family dining-out perfection, I say.

Just one more thing. Beth: when can I pick you up? We’re going to Luigi’s.

On the web:
http://www.luigisrestaurant.com/

105 N. Main St.
Akron, OH 44308

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4 Comments

  1. How is Luigi’s kid friendly? They have NO kid menu, NO CHANGING STATION, NO crayons. I’m sorry but just because they willingly serve children does not make them kid friendly. VERY DISAPPOINTED.

    • Changing table aside (we’re thankfully beyond those years) my kids have always done great at Luigi’s! Either their own small pizza, or some of our pizza or pasta (which are staples on most kids’ menus). Very kid-friendly noise level and super-casual atmosphere, too…it all works, at least for our family, anyway!

  2. LOVE IT! And I’m honored. We’re on for a Luigi’s trip, come get me anytime!

  3. Absolutely love Luigi’s! Definitely an Akron establishment!

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