In 1965, Louie Mallane established Louie’s Pizza in Ketchum– Sun Valley, Idaho. With a bank loan of $150, Louie purchased necessities such as flour, mushrooms and napkins. Within six weeks, Louie had repaid his original loan. His family grew as did his reputation for a quality dining experience at reasonable prices. Now, over 51 years later, Louie’s children continue to maintain his tradition of value and quality. Although the family left the Wood River Valley after 35 years of service, the tradition lives on in the Treasure Valley.
In search of the American dream, Thomas Guitano Mallane (formerly Mallame before a typographical error in Ellis Island) and Catherine Granato immigrated with their families to the United States with dreams of a better life.
As for many immigrants, the reward of the American dream did not come easy. When the two Italians finally met, it was as laborers in the hills of Utah, far from the comfort of New York’s Little Italy or the familiarity of their native Italy. While Thomas fought courageously for his new homeland in WWI, Catherine’s family continued a tradition of goat farming. For both families there was simply no escaping the deflated economy of the great depression. Times were tight, and Catherine’s family (which had once produced cheese fine enough to be requested by the White House) now found that they couldn’t even produce their own wine, a practice which one might suspect continued throughout prohibition in the Wasatch hills.
Married in the 1930’s, Thomas and Catherine never knew the American dream of riches and life’s luxuries. Instead, they simply knew hard work and survival- perhaps creating the greatest legacy of all, tradition. As a child, I remember fighting over who would get the heal (crusty end) of Grandma’s homemade bread before we even left town on the four hour drive to visit. “Dalla cocina,” “va il gioco” (out of the kitchen, go play) we would hear no less than 20 times a day as we waited for dinner. While patiently waiting, we would devour every olive and antipasti in sight (there was little to no chance that anyone would ever feel hungry in Grandma’s house). Eventually, Grandma would usher us to the table for a feast fit for a king. After filling each plate over and over again and muttering: “ mangia, mangia “(eat, eat) at least 20 times, Grandma would finally sit down to eat with the rest of her family.
The food of my youth was special. Although many often tried to cook with Grandma, no one ever seemed to get the recipe quite right. It was no secret that as soon as your back was turned she would add a key ingredient without which the dish just wasn’t perfect. Although I was blessed to have experienced many traditions and meals brought to America by my Grandparents, it wasn’t until my first “extended stay” in Torino (Northern Italy) that I realized I was living these traditions daily through my parents.
Each day Margaret and Louie Mallane would rise early (they still do) and go to work. Whether they are making the sauce, desserts or perhaps a pasta salad for the Sunday brunch, Louie and Margaret still help us add my Grandmother’s secret ingredient of love to every dish that we cook.
Years later, I again, found myself on an extended stay in Italy. This time, as I sat on a small veranda of Chez Black in Positano, I raised my glass and saluted my grandparents and their dream. For as I gazed at the sea and pretended to be fluent in Italian, my parents were thousands of miles away stirring the sauce and making desserts. I only hope I can do the same for my kids someday.
Thank you for choosing Louie’s Pizza & Italian Restaurant! Grazie! Lou Mallane (Second Generation)
Monday - Saturday
11:00 am - 10:00 pm
10:00 am - 9:00 pm
Louie's Pizza 2500 E. Fairview Ave Meridian, ID 83642