Madisonville locals can now add authentic Italian eatery to their restaurant repertoire with the opening of Luigi’s Italian Grill on East Main Street this week.
The new location will be focused on the old family recipes and dynamics that have made the Luigi’s name successful in the past. Antonio Haxhiraj, who will run the Madisonville location, is joined by his wife, brother, nephew, sister-in-law and other relatives.
They are happy to hire outside help, but the most important aspect of the business will always stay in the family.
“We hire people to wash dishes, prep and stuff like that, but not to cook,” said Antonio. “It is always one of us who does the cooking. We start from scratch and everything is fresh. You can take off or add whatever you want on any menu item.”
The menu is loaded with New York style pizzas, specialty pastas and dinners, seafood, sandwiches, appetizers, desserts and much more. It is the same menu as the Huntsville location and can be found online as well as in store.
Antonio Haxhiraj is originally from Southern Italy. His father is Albanian and his mother is Italian.
The first Luigi’s was opened by Antonio’s grandfather, Luigi, in New York in 1977. It has since grown to over 30 locations, including eight in the Houston area. Along with Texas, they are located in New York and Oklahoma.
Antonio came to the United States 20 years ago and opened a location in Dallas. He has since moved to Houston, where he has helped expand the family business with his brothers. The brothers try to open a location in the area every 30 miles or so, which took them from Huntsville to Madisonville.
“There really were not a lot of places to get good Italian food here,” said Antonio. “People were always asking us why we did not have a location in Madisonville.”
The Main Street location took nearly eight months to prepare before Monday’s official opening, but it allowed the Haxhiraj family to get acquainted with some of their new customers and friends.
“There are very nice and friendly people in Madisonville, I feel like I am from here,” said Antonio. “I am originally from a small town in Italy that is very similar. Everyone waves and says ‘hi’ to you. We appreciate everyone’s nice comments and the support they have shown us on social media.”
Luigi’s is now open for business at 1608 E Main Street, Suite 123 in Madisonville. Their hours of operation are Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m.