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Famous Luigi’s Pizza Restaurant Closes at 19th and M St, NW after 70 Years

by Prince Of Petworth December 23, 2013 at 10:30 am 14 Comments

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1132 19th Street, NW

End of an era. From the Washington Post:

“The pizza-and-pasta parlor will cease operations after Saturday night’s service, just a month or so after the restaurant celebrated its 70th anniversary at the same address, 1132 19th St. NW near Dupont Circle. A young Italian immigrant from Genoa, Luigi Calvi, opened the place in 1943 as a pizzeria, nothing more.”

Any fans of Famous Luigi’s?

They were located on 19th Street between L and M between the new Sophie’s Cuban Cuisine and G Street Food.

Update from a press release:

“For 70 years… since November 2, 1943, Famous Luigi’s has occupied a prime location on 19th St. NW in downtown Washington, DC. Legend has it that with the opening of his pizzeria, owner Luigi Calvi was the first person to introduce pizza to the nation’s capital. Luigi passed away in 1961 and left the restaurant to his niece Maddelena and her husband Corrado Bruzzo, who emigrated from Italy at that time to come run the business. The Bruzzos moved their family, including grandparents and their young daughter, into the upstairs flat above the restaurant, and turned the pizzeria into a full-service Italian eatery, complete with delicious, authentic family recipes, including homemade pastas and ravioli that the city had not yet seen.

The Bruzzo’s children Deborah and Corrado Jr. literally grew up in Famous Luigi’s. Wishing to pass along a strong work ethic, the Bruzzos taught their children the business from an early age. At five-years-old, Deborah was shown how to roll-out pizza dough using a Coco-Cola bottle instead of a rolling pin, and that began her life in the family business. In 2009, Deborah’s father Corrado Bruzzo passed away, and Famous Luigi’s traditions continued under the management of Deborah and her brother Corrado Jr.

But now, Famous Luigi’s has retired. After 70 years, its last dinner was served on Saturday, December 21st. After more than 40 years in the family business herself, Deborah Bruzzo, feeling that the time was right to pass the baton, has decided to retire as well. She will start a new chapter (literally), by becoming an author; for she is already writing a book about her family, the Famous Luigi’s experience, and the life lessons that it has taught her.

Deborah is particularly at peace with this decision, as she sees her family’s restaurant tradition being continued in a new location with a new generation. Osteria Marzano, which opened this summer in Alexandria, VA, is the dream of her daughter, Elena Bruzzo Pouchelon, who also grew up in the family business. Elena is Osteria Marzano’s Managing Owner in charge of the front of house, and her step-father Carmine Marzano is Executive Chef and Co-Owner, who also happens to be Deborah Bruzzo’s husband.

Deborah wishes to extend her sincere thanks and appreciation to all of Famous Luigi’s wonderful patrons and staff through the decades. Fans of Famous Luigi’s are encouraged to visit Osteria Marzano to experience how its Italian family tradition continues in an upscale dining restaurant.

Osteria Marzano serves classic brick oven pizzas, delicious handmade pastas, hearty main courses and a well-curated wine, beer and cocktail selection, as well as a variety of small “Assaggini” Italian tapas-style sharing plates uniquely available at the bar. Located in the Kingstowne region of Alexandria, VA, Osteria Marzano is a sophisticated, 6,100 sq. ft. venue for lunch, drinks, or dinner.

Osteria Marzano
6361 Walker Lane. Suite 140 (Metro Park VI)
Alexandria, VA 22310″

More photos after the jump.

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