Monday, July 2, 2007

Louie's Has Left the Building

Posted By on Mon, Jul 2, 2007 at 4:00 AM

After 18 years in Boise, the downtown location of Louie's Pizza and Italian Restaurant closed its doors for the last time Sunday night. Today, general manager Lou Mallane, son of owner and founder Louie Mallane, announced the restaurant's permanent closing effective immediately, citing the building's impending sale as the reason for the eatery's sudden closure.

"We had a lot of interest in the building," says Mallane, explaining that the property is currently in escrow. "And we are coming up on our closing date [for the building's sale] and it's come down to the point where we had to choose a date to close."

While confidentiality agreements prevented him from commenting on who might be the buyer, Mallane says it's likely the space will accommodate a restaurant after the building's sale. "I would expect it to stay a restaurant just because of impact and connection fees in the city," says Mallane. Such fees are assessed upon new development and paid by businesses wishing to hook into the existing utility system.

Since last year's announcement that Portland-based chain restaurant Old Spaghetti Factory would establish a downtown location in the building next to Louie's, there's been much speculation about how the locally-owned restaurant would fare with close-quarters competition.

In June 2006, then-manager Chris Mallane told BW that he didn't care what kind of business went into the vacant Capitol Lithograph Building. He sang the same tune in a second brief interview with BW in August 2006. Since March of this year, rumors have surfaced that Louie's was in negotiation with various parties—including Old Spaghetti Factory—to sell the building.

Monday, however, Lou Mallane, was adamant that the downtown location of Louie's did not perish at the hands of corporate competition. "We expect that people will say that," says Mallane. "But fortunately, that's not the case. In the last few years, almost every building on that side of the street has changed hands and it's just running a new course. But this change [for Louie's] is about a future change."

Employees were also given short notice about the restaurant's closing, but Mallane stresses that the restaurant would absorb many of them into the remaining Meridian location of Louie's.

"For now, we're going to focus on the Meridian location, and eventually, we'd like to open up a few more restaurants," says Mallane.

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