Good news for Madisonians who miss Luigi's Diner: It's returning.
Luigi's, a Food Fight restaurant that from 1997 to 2004 served fun Italian food at the corner of Main and King streets (currently the Tipsy Cow), is being revived by Bill and Melanie Horzuesky, chef and co-proprietors of Bluephies Restaurant. Luigi's new location is 515. S. Midvale Blvd., near the Midvale Plaza Shopping Center. Why bring back Luigi's, gone now for seven years?
"We always loved that restaurant," says Bill Horzuesky. "The food, the vibe, the energy." He started early on at Luigi's as its chef; his wife, Melanie, was there from the beginning as a server, moving up to general manager. They always thought that if they could "find the right spot in the right neighborhood," they'd like to bring Luigi's back. The Midvale site suited the couple's requirements: "We kept coming back to, this feels right," says the chef.
While part of the old Luigi's atmosphere came from its historic building and quirky triangle shape, some of the feeling should come back in Luigi's 2.0, despite its being brand-new construction (the walls started going up this week). The interior designer of the original, Ed Linville, is the architect and designer of the new model as well. And while Bill wants to update the menu, fans can expect a return of the thin-crusted pizza: pepperoni, margherita and "the original chicken." Look for baked pastas. And the outstanding bread will be back.
Plans are currently for a mid-September opening.
Déjà vuall over again: Another venue from the recent past is slated to return in somewhat altered form. The folks behind the Journey Coffee, once located at Regent and Monroe, are working to establish a State Street-area space to be called the Redamte Coffee House. "The Journey" is a "community of faith" and nonprofit; fundraising for the new meeting place/coffeehouse is ongoing at redamte.com.
Director Mitchell George is optimistic about a Sept. 1 opening. He says Redamte will serve "simple food, breakfast, lunch and dinner" and attempt to source food locally. Madison coffee roaster Just Coffee will supply the beans.
Special Dinners: The Underground Kitchen, which closed due to fire June 30, will be doing a pop-up in the Graze dining room at 1 S. Pinckney St., at 6 p.m. on July 24. The five-course tasting menu will be "inspired by the food from Underground Kitchen, drawing on past menus and dishes that had been created but never served." A vegetarian option is available. Advance tickets ($50) via brownpapertickets.com.
Sardine will hold a Wisconsin Beer and Cheese Tasting on July 31 at 3 p.m. ($20). Eight Wisconsin cheeses and eight local beers will be served; reservations are required. Call 608-441-1600.
Now Open: Dumpling Haus, at Hilldale, is serving Chinese dumplings, steamed buns and noodles. Now open for lunch: Nostrano, 111 S. Hamilton St., 11 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Mon.-Fri.