A new and improved Louie’s Wine Dive is ready to serve
There’s a new Louie in town. Louie the pig, that is. He’s the statue that sits proudly outside of Louie’s Wine Dive and is displayed throughout the restaurant at the Shops of Legacy off 168th & Center Streets. Under new ownership and a remodeled interior, Louie’s Wine Dive offers fine wine at affordable prices and a revamped menu with fresh ingredients and original recipes.
Owner Mark Kitson has spent his entire career in the restaurant and food service industry, including as a partner with Millard Roadhouse. While looking for a new restaurant opportunity, he met the founder of Louie’s, which was started in Kansas City, and discussed the possibility of opening a second location in Omaha. However, when the current location became available, Kitson didn’t hesitate to take it.
When he came on board last November, he met with the staff and decided to make changes to improve upon the existing location. Those changes included remodeling the interior of the restaurant with a new floor, paint, lighting, and complete bar top. “We wanted to really warm up the atmosphere and bring back that restaurant look and feel,” Kitson said. New umbrellas were also added to the patio tables this past spring. They even changed the music played throughout the restaurant to reflect a more relaxed environment.
Wine is still at the heart of Louie’s, and five sommeliers test every wine that the restaurant offers. The giant wine board that displays current offerings changes daily. “We bring in some of the finest but most affordable wines you can drink,” Kitson said. Even if you’re not a wine drinker but want the experience, they will have a wine you like. “We want you to come here, have fun, and enjoy the eclectic wine and food,” he added.
The food, all made from scratch, is overseen by head chef John Vong who creates new items every week. Some of Louie’s specialties include the 4 Pork Gnocchi made with braised pork and a red wine cream sauce; the Pork Street Tacos served with a hand-chopped house made salsa, and the Diablo served with either shrimp or chicken. The Honey Butter Chicken Sandwich is a new item that features cayenne buttermilk chicken, lettuce, bacon, swiss, tomato, cinnamon honey butter on a brioche bun served with fries or quinoa.
Many of the items on Louie’s menu are gluten-free or can be modified to gluten-free. The Sunday brunch is also popular featuring a variety of benedicts and omelettes and bottomless mimosas. Happy hour runs daily with food and drink specials, including the Big City Pour, which is an 8 oz. glass of wine for $6. A favorite seasonal cocktail is Grandma’s Garden: basil, cucumber, mint, Bombay Sapphire gin, and Sauvignon Blanc, served in a colorful mason jar. Live music is also offered on Sunday nights from 5:00-8:00pm.
For larger events, such as Louie’s grand reopening and its Kentucky Derby party, the restaurant has partnered with Partnership 4 Kids, a local, group mentoring program for under-served students that helps keep them engaged in learning from kindergarten through their adult careers. “We gave 50% of our proceeds to them for both events,” Kitson said. “It’s a great partnership.”
Kitson is pleased with the changes they’ve put in place, and encourages everyone to try out the new Louie’s, whether you’ve been to the restaurant before or not. He stressed how passionate he and his staff are about Louie’s, and they are a very family-oriented company. “I love talking to customers and have them tell me what’s working and what’s not,” he said. “I want everyone to feel comfortable here. Come experience the new Louie.”