Without a doubt, food brings people together. Locally owned eateries are the center of activity in Atlanta’s historic downtown district, and Luigi’s Italian Café is quickly becoming the destination of choice.

“It’s a fine establishment, and the community really likes it,” David Graham, executive director of the Atlanta City Development Corporation, told me. So I decided a visit was in order.

Located at 210 North East Street, Luigi’s stands out with its freshly painted façade, turquoise lettering and wooden doors. The restaurant dresses up the street in an understated manner, and as I entered the tastefully decorated dining room, I knew good things were to come.

Luigi’s opened its doors on Feb. 1, according to Lela Powell, a server at the restaurant who drives up from Shreveport for work. Owned by Jashar Zeqaj and his father-in-law, the spacious dining room is beautifully appointed with wooden paneling, graceful arches, lovely flowers and handsome prints on the walls.

All the carefully designed details give Luigi’s a quiet ambience that is perfect for a night out with someone special or for lunch with a client. Casual and intimate, this is the ideal choice if you want to carry on a conversation during your meal.

The food is just as thoughtfully crafted as the décor at Luigi’s. From the ample loaves of fresh Italian bread that are brought to the table along with your beverage, to the entrees like the spicy Shrimp Diavolo I ordered which came with enormous shrimp and homemade sauce, the food is fantastic!

I did manage to save room for dessert and ordered one of my favorite Italian creations, a cannoli with chocolate sauce drizzled on top. Yes, it is decadent and sinful, but hey, we only live once.

By the end of my meal, I nearly had to roll out of the restaurant. The portions are large and could easily be shared, but they taste so good it was probably best that I ate alone. If someone had tried to take some of my food I may have stabbed them with a fork.

The restaurant doesn’t serve alcohol, but they do encourage you to bring your own bottle and they’ll happily pour it for you to enjoy with your meal. And since O’Farrell Country Vineyards is so close, I’d suggest you stop there and pick up a bottle of wine to enjoy at the restaurant.

All in all, this Italian café is worth the trip for all you Texarkana folks. Pack up the family and enjoy this sweet treat in Atlanta, just about 30 minutes from T-Town. The staff will treat you well and I think you’ll agree with me that when you dine at Luigi’s, it’s love at first bite.

For more information, visit Luigi’s Facebook page to view the menu, photos and more.

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