Luigi's
33rd Street, Newport News, VA 23607

THEN: NOW:
   
   
   

Hey Carol!
 

I remember a tiny little place where we bought hot dogs ... Think it was called Luigi's ... they were THE BEST!!


- Alice Fowler Edwards ('64) of VA - 10/26/07
Thanks, Alice!
 


Webmediator;

Just my two-cents worth, Terry Seay ('67 TN) mentioned "Little John's" and Alice Fowler Edwards ('64 VA) noted she remembered "Luigi's." Don't remember the name of the bistro on the corner of 33rd and Washington Avenue, next to the Paramount Theater, maybe that was "Little John's?"

But who could forget Luigi's, next to the florist shop and immediately behind the Bank of Hampton Roads. Seems to me there were days when Luigi's had five hot dogs for a quarter. He cooked them in the front window and we all crammed into the little nooks to throw them down with a splash of bottled Coca-Cola. It was in and out, and a dash of "Texas Pete," still a staple in my pantry.

- Norm Covert ('61) of MD - 10/29/07
Thanks, Norm!
 


I looked at NN Hill’s Directories from 1957 to 1967 and could find no listing for a Luigi’s, despite Norm Covert’s vivid recollection of it being located “next to the florist shop and immediately behind the Bank of Hampton Roads.” As you will soon see, that was the location of another remembered eatery.

- Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 11/08/07
Thanks so much, Dave!
 


In response to Dave Spriggs ('64 - of VA) and his search for Luigi's, Norm Covert ('61 - of MD) is not the only one who has a vivid memory of Luigi's.  It was certainly there on 33rd Street in the 50's, especially between '55 and '59.  You need to go back and research again!!  Surely there is a record somewhere.

- Renee Helterbran Benton ('59) of VA - 11/09/07
Thanks, Renee!
 


Well, Renee is not going to like this report.  We seem to have one of the agonizing mysteries which appear from time to time:  People with vivid recollections and no documentary evidence to support them.

At the Hilton Library, I looked at Hill’s Directories from 1950-1960, except for 1953, which they do not have. In none of them could I find a listing for a Luigi’s. I looked in the alphabetical listings, then in the street address listings … nada.  I looked in the only telephone directory they had from the 50’s (1958); no Luigi’s. As Renee and Norm seemed so certain that Luigi’s was located just behind the Paramount and next to the flower shop, I recorded the businesses at that location on 33rd Street from 1950-1960 (less 1953).

1950:   208 ½  Brooks Antiques
           210      Paramount Florists

1951:   208 ½  was not listed
            210      Paramount Florist

1952:   208 ½  Mac’s Place (Mac Thomas)
           210      Paramount Florist

1954:   208 ½  Mike’s  Place
           210      Paramount Florist

1955:   208 ½  Mike’s Place
           210      Paramount Florist

1956:   208 ½  Mike’s Place
           210      Paramount Florist

1957:   208 ½  Mike’s Place
           210      Paramount Florist

1958:   208 ½  Mike’s Place
           210      Paramount Florist

1959:   208 ½  John’s Little Place
           210      Paramount Florist

1960:   208 ½  John’s Little Place
           210      Paramount Florist

There is truly a mystery here, with at least three Typhoons remembering Luigi’s.
I trust that someone will have the answer.

- Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 11/10/07
Thanks again, Dave!
 


Personally - and I have absolutely NO memory of any of these places, so bear in mind that this is NOT an expert opinion, I'm beginning to wonder if Luigi's and John's Little Place might not be one and the same.  As a case in point, the Stuart Gardens variety shop was officially named Bernard's.  I knew not a soul who called it anything but Minnie's - as might be obvious from the conversations on this page:

http://www.nnhs65.00freehost.com/bernards.html

- Carol Buckley Harty ('65) of NC - 11/10/07
 


To add some more to the mystery of Luigi’s, I have a 1946 and a 1955 Newport News phone book with no mention of Luigi’s in either one. Of course, back in those days, not every place had a business phone. Some of the mom & pop places just had a pay phone on the wall or a booth in the corner. Wish I could be of more help.

- Mike Leonard (68) of VA - 11/11/07
Thanks, Mike!
 


As Dave (Spriggs - '64 - of VA) says, the Directory may list 209-1/2 33rd Street as Mac's or Mike's Place, but from 1952 to 1956 most of us that ate there called the place and the owner "Luigi" and he never complained or told us otherwise. I remember 3 hot dogs with chili and onions for 25 cents that left me enough lunch money to go to the chocolate malt shop at 35th and Washington or to the Florida Orange Store bakery for their great cinnamon rolls for desert.

Just remembering  "Old Times" like this makes me all the more grateful for all that You do to keep NNHS and Newport News as it was then fresh in all our minds.

Thank You.  

- Bruce Sims ('56) of VA - 11/11/07
Oh, my goodness - I was actually right!  No such official name existed; the two hot dog stands are one and the same!

   As Kathy Pilgrim Clark ('63) used to say, "Bruce knows practically everything about the Peninsula." She was right, as usual.
Another mystery solved! Thanks so much, Bruce!
 


OK. Yes, my Medicare card came in the mail last week and my children sometimes believe that I have early onset of Alzheimer's, but Luigi's? My recent heart problems may date back to those wonderful tube steaks from the guy I always thought was Luigi. Paramount Florist? Yes. Had thought originally that might be Evelyn Coleman Florist, both of whom had those great Mum corsages with the little blue "N" for sale prior to our Turkey game with Hampton High (not for me smarty!).

I've pondered my "vivid memories" since Dave's (Spriggs - '64 - of VA) report and tried to put them in context with lots of historical/genealogical research I've done over the years. Sometimes anecdotal evidence trumps the city directory. I don't remember us being politically correct on some things in those days and guess none of us really understood that calling Mike or Little John "Luigi" might have been by today's standards an ethnic slur. As  Bruce (Sims - '56 - of VA) so aptly puts it, the owner "never complained." He just kept rolling out the Dawgs and Texas Pete. 

Dave has indeed told me something I didn't know and I appreciate his effort to find the answer.  Here's a trivia question for you, Dave: How come we had so many lovely young ladies in the yMca on 32nd street? One answer might be, that we only had "lovely young ladies."

- Norm Covert ('61) of MD - 11/11/07
GIGGLES!!! Thanks, Norm!


 Oh, I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener.
     That is what I'd truly like to be,
     'Cause if I were an Oscar Mayer wiener,
     Everyone would be in love with me.


(This page was created on 11/09/07.)


"Oscar Mayer Wiener" jingle courtesy of http://www.toomunchfun.com/oscarmayer/FamilyFunPark/JingleJukebox/JingleJukebox.html,
at the suggestion of Dave Spriggs ('64) of VA - 01/24/04 with the technical assistance of my son, Nathaniel Harty of IL - 01/26/04
Thanks, Dave and Nathaniel!

"Oscar Mayer Wiener" jingle lyrics courtesy of http://www.bsu.edu/web/knkramer/standard10.html - 01/24/04

Long Hot Dog clip art courtesy of http://pub29.bravenet.com/resources/clipart/index.php?search=category&category=12 - 02/24/04

Animated Cheering Smiley clip art courtesy of Al Farber ('64) of GA - 08/18/05
Thanks, Al!

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