... then the other.

After 39 years in the business, Louie's Pizza and Italian restaurant should know a thing or two about quality dining, and they do. Established in Sun Valley in 1965, Louie began his legacy with $150 bank loan to purchase supplies and hand-tossed approximately 20 pizzas a day. Since then, Louie has really moved on up, currently sporting two locations in Boise at 620 W. Idaho and 2500 E. Fairview with a large menu of salads, entrees and pizzas to choose from.

Though the Boise locations have not been around nearly as long as the Louie's of Sun Valley was, there is a strong community following of the family owned establishment. And for good reason: it's cheap, it's plentiful and it's enjoyable in a friendly heaven for Italian knick-knack sort of environment.

Upon my visit to the downtown location, I confused the waiter straight away with my order of tortellini-meaning the tortellini fossano instead of the regular create-your-own tortelli which I asked for. No harm done, and I began studying the painting at the rear of the restaurant of a Venetian canal scene in an effort to look preoccupied while I was really eavesdropping on the interesting conversation between a group of cops at the table across the way. (Always the nosy journalist.)

My lunch date proceeded to the pizza and salad bar for her all you can eat buffet selection and my salad arrived before she returned. Usually a basket full of garlic bread is also served whether for a party of one or 20, but for some reason our waiter forgot, unless Louie's policy recently balked under pressure from any of the number of anti-carbohydrate militia groups around town.

When she returned raving about the excellent choices between crab, pepperoni and bowtie pasta salads but with no pizza to speak of, we hailed down our waiter who informed us pies were on the way. Tiny slivers of pizza did soon emerge, as did my tortellini fossano, which was great but definitely on the rich end of the spectrum. Grilled chicken breast in a lemon butter cream sauce over cheese tortellini, spinach, mushrooms and roma tomatoes is a mouthful to say and to eat, but it was tasty for the consumable amount I could muster. Leftovers were the foreseeable fate of my lunch, which was a mere $7.25 while the salad and pizza bar of my friend was slightly less at $5.99.

Louie still knows great Italian food like it's 1965.

-Jen Parsons inadvertently befuddles waitstaff nationwide.

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