Iconic pizzeria’s new owners say restaurant won’t change much

Posted Sept. 02, 2012, at 7:06 a.m.

LEWISTON, Maine — A change in ownership won’t mean a change in anything else at Luiggi’s Pizzeria.

“You don’t have to fix something if it’s running well,” said Earl St. Hilaire, one of the team of owners who took over the legendary Lewiston restaurant. “You don’t tamper with it.”

Hilaire and wife Angie, brother Dennis St. Hilaire and wife Kelly, and sister LuAnn Frenette and husband Marc officially closed on a deal Friday with previous owners Beverly and Joseph Derosier.

St. Hilaire, who owns and runs the nearby Blue Goose Bar and Grill, said he was glad to keep the pizzeria a family place.

“It may not be the same family that’s run it from the beginning, but it’s a local family,” he said.

Louis Talarico opened Luiggi’s on Sept. 7, 1953. His daughter, Betty Bryant, sold the restaurant to the Derosiers in 2005. Beverly Derosier said she and her husband are retiring to Harpswell.

“I’m happy to see that the guys who are buying it are young and have a lot of energy,” she said. “I hope they do well and I’m glad to see it in the hands of people who really care about the traditions of Luiggi’s.”

St. Hilaire said he was happy to become part of that history.

“There won’t be changes in anything, especially not the food,” he said. “I know people love the sauce and the meatballs and the way the pizza’s cooked. So the way it’s running now is the way it’s going to stay.”

St. Hilaire said he might consider one tweak, applying for a license to sell beer.

“We might put beer and wine in there, so people can have a beer with their pizza,” he said. “It won’t be a place to hang out and watch sports, but they can do that instead of going someplace else.”

The pizzeria’s iconic sign, with a light-bulb-lit arrow pointing inside, was taken down several years ago and donated to Museum L-A, Derosier said .

“We’re trying to raise money to restore it,” she said. “They have it over there and some copies of the original menus and some old menus. It would be wonderful if they could get it repaired.”

People interested in helping out should contact Museum L-A, she said.

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