It’s fitting that Frank Sinatra’s Luck Be A Lady fills the air while touring new neighborhood joint Louie’s by the Bay, an Italian Steakhouse with a California je ne sais quoi(oh wait, that’s French). The enchanting establishment opened its door on January 23rdas the newest member of the Miracle Mile mob. Owner and operator Ron Salisbury’s goal was to create an upscale watering hole for locals by locals, and that he did.
“I would like to see it be all local Newport Beach people, people who know each other. So when you come in here, you walk through and you start seeing neighbors you don’t normally see and it makes the experience much more enjoyable,” explains Ron when asked about what kind of demographic he expects at his latest harbor-hugging haunt.
Salisbury has been in the restaurant ‘biz’ for over 64 years and his nearly 7 decades of experience is apparent with this latest addition to his edible empire. No stone went unturned when renovating the waterfront restaurant to give Louie’s the love that the location deserves. Local design company Hatchmodeled the warm yet ever-so-faintly retro restaurant after Ralph Lauren’s beach house creating a sense of nostalgia that permeates the place and makes patrons feel right at home. Louie’s is Ron’s prized pony, complete with equestrian detailing and all. He explains that every restaurant should have a family associated with it to “make it human”, a point that is reiterated by the family photos that accessorize the reclaimed wood walls.
“The restaurants just become an extension of who you are in your life and it’s a great extension. This is an obsession. I wake up in the morning and the first thing I think of is ‘what problems do I have to solve out there? Oh man, good, I’ve got something to go out there and dig my teeth into’ and it keeps me alive,” says Ron.
From a design standpoint, Louie’s is a complete masterpiece. The entrance boasts a vertical garden that quite literally gives the bayside bistro life. The restaurant has an indoor outdoor persona that pairs perfectly with the far-as-the-eye-can-see seaside sights. Louie’s is for lovers, quite literally. It’s the dream date night destination that starts with a Fernet Old Fashioned and ends with a fireside chat. The Tartan-tinted booths are whimsy in just the right way and add to the overall sense of ease the place exudes. Need some company over a cocktail? The expansive bar is almost invasive in nature radiating camaraderie and inviting strangers and friends alike to saddle up and schmooze over a spritzer.
“No matter where you are sitting or dining, you’ll feel a little bit of the energy from the bar.”
The kitchen itself was inherited from the former tenant, The Ritz. It is an impressive culinary wonderland of mise en place, marbled meats, and imported mozzarellas. Most of the ingredients hail straight from Italy so you know you are getting the most authentic experience. Renowned restauranteur Piero Selvaggio is the man behind the merlot and the brains behind the burrata. He has infused his Italian roots into every nook and cranny of this Newport Beach brasserie. Piero’s right hand, Chef Antonio Orlando, is continuing his culinary quest in the kitchen at Louie’s transporting diners to the rolling hills of Tuscany and the straits of Sicily.
The food and drink menus at Louie’s are a compilation of the classics with a twist. And as good neighbors do, if they can’t offer you the best – they tell you where to get it. As is the case with the cocktail menu Mai Tai which reads “for a world famous version…head next door” giving the nod to neighbor Billy’s at the Beach for their ever popular tropical rum recipe. There’s no ego at Louie’s, no one person who is more important than another.
“We don’t use the word VIP here, we’re all the same here,” says Ron.
And there you have it. Everyone is a VIP at Louie’s by the Bay!
Louie’s by the Bay
2801 West Coast Hwy
Newport Beach, CA 92663
Open every day at 5:00 pm!
Parking: $7 valet
Brendon Salisbury – 949-610-5006
Chef Antonio Orlando – 818-415-8237