Akron meets Italy

Written by: Lois Elswick

Luigi’s has been serving home-cooked Italian cuisine since 1949, making it one of the longest-running Italian restaurants in Akron.

Such a legacy doesn’t come easily to most restaurants, but Luigi’s has kept their recipes the same since day one, and their staff is so loyal that many have stayed for over ten years.

Nestled at the top of a hill off of Main Street, Luigi’s has an atmosphere that immediately draws one into the Italian world. The walls are adorned with autographed photos of famous people that have sampled their cuisine over the years. The iconic “Luigi’s” sign is one that many have gazed at while waiting in line for a table.

Luigi’s does not take reservations unless you have a large party, and often, on a busy night, you will find yourself standing in a line that extends out to the parking lot. However, Luigi’s kitchen runs like a well-oiled machine. Even if you are at the end of the line, you will be pleasantly surprised how fast you get a seat.

Luigi’s is also known for their late-night hours — they are open until 2 a.m. Sunday through Thursday, and until 4 a.m. on the weekends. Their prices are reasonable, with most entrees around $10.

In a recent visit, we began our meal with fresh, warm, homemade bread and were offered wine or beer to accompany the meal. Luigi’s is famous for their Italian tossed salad, served with their Italian dressing and topped with fresh mozzarella cheese. Patrons always marvel about the quality of their cheese. Never in my life have I had cheese on a salad that tastes quite as soft and flavorful as Luigi’s.

We continued with an antipasto platter that included strips, Italian meats and their amazing cheese atop a bed of fresh lettuce ($9.15). The bread was kept replenished, along with the drinks.

Next, we sampled their homemade pizza and were not disappointed. The crust was slightly crunchy on the outside and moist and tender on the inside. The pizza was topped with their special sauce, which cannot be found anywhere else, as well as their sumptuous cheese (A large starts at $11.15). We were thoroughly impressed.

Luigi’s regular Liz Medlock said, “I always get their pizza here. I get it to sit and eat and even order it for takeout. It’s delicious, the best pizza in Akron.”

Diners also have the option of ordering one of their meatball or sausage sandwiches, if they are not in the mood for pizza.

No Italian restaurant would be complete without a pasta section on their menu, and Luigi’s is no exception. You can order pasta with plain marinara or meat sauce, and you even have the option of a small or large portion, depending on your appetite. The spaghetti with marinara was light and flavorful, and the homemade marinara was spiced with just the right amount of garlic. ($9.30 for a large portion.)

Patron Navarre Medlock said, “I love their marinara sauce. The pasta here is always fresh, and the spices are so tasty. Plus, with the budget of a college student, I can eat here often.”

My personal favorite on the menu is the spaghetti with garlic and oil ($9.30 for a large portion), baked with mozzarella cheese on top. You can order any of their pastas baked this way, and it comes out of the oven toasty and gooey, with a generous amount of their signature cheese. I have tried spaghetti with garlic and oil at other restaurants, but Luigi’s is definitely the best. They use a hearty helping of freshly-chopped garlic in each dish. And the garlic is not chopped to minuscule bits, but rather into larger pieces that will certainly leave their mark on your breath after eating.

Also, when you ask for baked spaghetti at other Italian restaurants, they may stick it into the oven for a minute or two, but Luigi’s really lets it bake to get that slightly crispy cheese around the edge that is so delicious.

Luigi’s is located at 105 N. Main St. in Akron. Their telephone number is (330) 253-2999.

This restaurant is a must for anyone who is living in Akron. It’s a tradition and a well-respected institution in Italian cuisine.

If you see a line out the door, don’t be alarmed. You will be seated within minutes. And don’t forget their late-night hours for food after you have been out on the town, or if you’re just hungry from studying all night. Luigi’s is an experience not to be missed.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story