Luigi’s Italian Restaurant – Ottawa Herald

Marissa Ventrelli The Ottawa Herald

If you want Italian food and you live in Franklin County, you’re in luck because the only Italian restaurant within 60 miles is right in Ottawa, and it’s delicious.

Luigi’s Italian restaurant is located on Ottawa’s main street under a must-have yellow awning. The restaurant opened in 2013 and has been a community staple ever since. After a kitchen fire in 2019 caused more than $10,000 in damage to the building, the restaurant’s owners asked former general manager Kristin Randall if she would be interested in buying Luigi from them. Randall, who had worked her way up to waitress but left Luigi just two months earlier, decided she was up for the challenge. “[Luigi’s has] I’ve been here so long, it was important to me to make sure the community didn’t lose this restaurant,” she said. So she decided to return to Luigi, this time as the owner.

While the restaurant remained closed for repairs, Randall decided to spruce it up a bit: “With the building being closed, I used that to my advantage to go in and remodel everything to make it modern and sort of clean everything up” . she said. Although the restaurant has changed its look, Randall has made sure to keep the original recipe that the community has come to love over the years. Less than six months after the fire, in March 2020, Luigi’s reopened in a very different world. The COVID-19 pandemic was just beginning to take hold in the United States, and small businesses were struggling to stay afloat despite restrictions in place to keep people safe. Despite the inopportune timing, Randall says Luigi’s has come through the pandemic relatively unscathed. They offer delivery and pickup for those who wish to dine at home, and now that the restaurants are open for dinner, there is also plenty of space inside for diners to enjoy a spaghetti or a meal. a social distancing chicken. Luigi’s offers a traditional dining room as well as a banquet hall for hosting parties, and even a second-floor couples-only lounge area with a speakeasy. The restaurant is closed on Mondays for private parties, and Luigi’s also hosts events like weddings and balls.

Randall says Luigi’s has always been a family business — it’s named after the original owner’s father, after all — and she wants that to continue. All of the staff are local, including Randall’s own daughters, aged 14 and 22. The eldest daughter has worked at Luigi’s since she was a teenager and now works in the kitchen as a chef.

One thing that has really helped Luigi stay a fixture in the community is his partnership with other local businesses, says Randall. For example, diners can bring receipts from any downtown business and get a discount on their meal. Discounts are also available for military, police, fire and healthcare workers.

“We’re doing what we can because if small businesses don’t support each other then no one will want to go anywhere.” Randall explained. “I’m not competing to be the number one restaurant in Ottawa, I don’t want to be the best, but we try to be the best and we try to do our best to support our city.

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