Family Owned & Operated since 1949!
WHO WE ARE
Family owned and operated since 1949, Luigi’s Italian Restaurant has been an Akron landmark for over 60 years. Priding itself on consistency and tradition, Luigi’s has been serving up its famous pizzas, cheesy salads, and pastas for decades. The tradition began in 1949 when Nick Ciriello, the son of a cheese maker, and his wife, Rose, bought a steak house on North Main Street. This small, one room restaurant only sat 60 and was better known for its steaks and late night dining. As time went on, however, the delicious, simple Italian recipes had gained much popularity. By the late 1960s, the grill had long been turned off, and Luigi’s had begun forming it’s famed reputation—consistent, delicious Italian cuisine and a comfortable atmosphere that attracts generation after generation.
Luigi’s made it to print in 1972 in Tom Batiuk’s long-run comic strip Funky Winkerbean. Montoni’s Pizza, the local pizza parlor that Funky co-owned with Tony Montoni, is modeled after Luigi’s Restaurant.
The band box frequently shown above the entrance inside Montoni’s is an actual fixture inside Luigi’s. There is a framed and signed Funky Winkerbean strip hung in the main dining room of the restaurant.
Despite Luigi’s new popularity in print, in 1977 the city of Akron elected to close down the North Hill Viaduct and begin construction on the All-America Bridge. Better known as the Y-Bridge, this viaduct effectively rerouted Main Street’s traffic above and around Luigi’s. The next generation of the Ciriello family, brother and sister Mickey and Marie, worried this would hurt their family business. Thankfully, Luigi’s loyal customers did not wane—in fact, that same year, Luigi’s won the Akron Beacon Journal’s “Great Pizza Contest.” Since then, Luigi’s has consistently won 1st place in reader polls for its pizzas and salads. With the discarded portion of old Main Street being used for additional parking, Luigi’s still thrived.
WHAT WE’VE BECOME
Through the 80s and 90s, business remained steady as Mickey and Marie continued their management of the restaurant. In 1985, Luigi’s opened its doors for lunch. Daytime specials like the slice and salad, pasta fagiole, and soup du jour drew in large lunch crowds. In 1990, a third dinning room was opened, bringing the restaurant’s seating up to 190. By the end of the 90s, Mickey and Marie had turned over the daily operations to Tony Ciriello, Marie’s son. Luigi’s has still since remained a popular Akron landmark with the same look and feel it has had for decades. ”We try very hard to keep the restaurant timeless,” Mickey Ciriello says of his family’s legacy.
From the recipes to the décor, Luigi’s strives to maintain the traditions that made it successful from the beginning. Luigi’s Restaurant will continue to deliver what it has for over 60 years—award winning food, great service, and an inviting atmosphere.