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May 22, 2010 01:53 PM

Louis Family Restaurant, Providence

Guy Fieri you did me wrong....

The spouse and I made a special trip up there today. She had breakfast, eggs, homefries, toast and 2 granola pancakes (to share); I had a bowl of chicken noodle soup, and BBQ chicken ravioli with veal. To start the soup reminded me of my last trip to RI hospital, except more oil and less flavor. The chicken was stringy and the 3 differnet types of noodles including what looked like leftover chunks of ravioli dough made me think they dont throw anything can draw your own conclusions but to me it was a bad sign...what else dont they throw away??? Her meal came first. The eggs were as expected, the homefries were not well done as requested, the complete opposite. They also lacked any flavor and several pieces were black and tasted funny in a bad way. The pancakes came and after a few bites we both wondered if we got the wrong order.....until she looked closer and saw a few oats mixed in. They must add the granola to the batter before hand becuase it is so mushy you can hardly tell its there. We both expected at least a little crunch or texture but were mistaken. The toast was the hilight of her meal.

My food came out a few minutes later and when I looked down at it there was as much water on the plate as there was sauce. This pissed me off royally. I cant think of many things that annoy me more than lazy cooks that cant properly drain pasta. Now I know that stuffed pastas do tend to have more water in them but this was rediculous. Anther server must have overheard me or seen the look on my face because she came over to ask if there was a problem. When I told he there was too much water on my plate she confirmed it and said they would fix it right away. Even when it came back it wasnt to my liking but after years of working in the industry i know better than to send something back twice. Had I taken a bith of the "famous" ravioli befor I would have told them to keep them. They were flavorless and overcooked and the suce wasnt much better. Im not going to say I have had better ravioli out of a can, but these werent much better. The ravioli was $3 more - so I knew what to expect and really cant complain about it

At $25 with tax and tip it wasnt an expensive meal, but considering the majority of the food went into the trash it wasnt a good value. I actually left hungry and considered driving down the street to Nice Slice. The food was such a let down, this place isnt even worthy of a return "maybe it wasnt that bad, lets give it another try" visit. And before somebody says - well did you say anything? 1. the majority of the food was still on our plates when removed and we refused takeout containers, 2. we had already sent a plate back, 3. neither server or the cashier bothered to ask us how the food was. If they dont care about making quality food, or even asking how our meal was (even with obvious signs we werent satisfied) then I dont feel obligated to say anything (and trust me I would have if asked.) I will voice my displeasure with my wallet and this post. Next time we will try Julians!


Nice Slice
267 Thayer St, Providence, RI 02906

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  1. My husband loves it there, but I think it's a dump. Fieri really missed the mark on Providence breakfast places, not that it surprises me.

    1. Louis' is an institution. I doubt anyone would say it's great fare but if you're a long time Providence resident, Louis' is like an embarrassing yet much beloved uncle.

      ETA: No, they don't care if you enjoyed your meal. If you didn't, you won't come back and that's ok by them.

      7 Replies
      1. re: GSM

        I hope thats not their attitude, we all know this is a small state. I know that I have already told several people not to bother going. While I am from Warwick, not Providence, I have to admit I had never even heard of it. When it was on DDD nobody I asked had never even heard of it.

        I think that place survives due to Brown students that dont really have any other choice. I would go to Dennys before I ever ate there again.

        1. re: joe777cool

          Yes, the students are loyal, as are the Brown facilities workers. Surviving four years of Louis' is like a rite of passage in these parts.

          1. re: joe777cool

            I grew up in Pawtucket, just a few miles from Louis'. No one ever talked about the place, no one ever said, oh you gotta go there, and the few times I tried to eat there they were always closed. So my money is on the captive Brown students theory for why this place is still in business.

            1. re: Bob W

              Before I wrote this post, I did a search of this board for Louis to prevent any duplication.....only 1 recent mention and that was "next to Louis" (Iron Wok) . Julians, Nicks, Modern, Olga's etc. were the names consistently named for breakfast in the Providence area.

              1. re: Bob W

                I believe they are open 6 am to 3 pm or something like that. Yes, it's definitely a die-hard locals only kind of place. I've been going there off and on since the late 80's-- back when that dear old curmudgeon Louis himself was alive-- but it's all about nostalgia for me. That, and the pancakes are good.

                1. re: GSM

                  i guess it never really occurred to me to critique the food at loui's from a culinary POV, but honestly where else can you get pancakes , fish & chips & a beer at 6am after a loooong night? not a fan of the pastas though, don't know why the heck they put that on DDD. the fish & chips has always been good (7 days a week), the egg subs are yummy, i love a grilled blueberry muffin, and the poached passion is a tasty complete meal. when we were in high school we'd go there for lunch and we'd literally order our homefries EXTRA EXTRA EXTRA crispy and they'd always come out the same- mushy. i don't know why that is so comical to me, it's just one of those things i guess. <3 louis!

                  1. re: sarabean

                    Yeah, this was my high school lunch hangout too! Grilled cheese sandwiches with extra crispy fries. Love their hand-cut fries.

          2. Speak of the devil. The ProJo reviews Louis' today. As always, it's a positive review (the only kind you'd see in the ProJo).


            1 Reply
            1. re: Bob W

              Those Projo "restaurant critics" are worthless. One drank white zinfandel a couple years ago with his meal. If that ain't sayin' somethin'.

            2. Seriously, if you went to Loui's (note the odd spelling -- just another one of the quirks at this quirkiest of RI institutions) expecting gourmet pasta then you were sadly mistaken, as you found out. It's a great greasy spoon, and the prices are charitably low. It's amazing they can stay in business at those prices.

              Same goes for the service. It's short order cooking. And it's usually a madhouse in there. And you expect them to notice that you didn't eat much?

              Just because some celebrity recommends a place doesn't mean it's right for you.

              1 Reply
              1. re: ml77

                Gourmet pasta? not what I was expecting at all. But when it gets built up like it was, plus the advertisements for Fieri/DDD/the food he tried on the menu, tables, walls etc. one would expect it to be a better quality than Chef-Boyardee.

                About the service - fyi when I was there the place was half empty. Having worked in the restaurant industry for the majority of my life, YES I would expect any server, shortorder or not, to notice the signs of an unhappy customer. Even if the server is clueless, they would have found out I was unhappy upon checkback. I dont know a restaurant in America where checkbacks arent practiced. Nobody cared.

                And to make an excuse about the prices is equally puzzling - so because the prices are low , its ok to deal with poor service and terrible food? NOT IN MY BOOK!

                I love greasy spoons - but this may be one of the worst around.