If the malt shops of the 1950’s were blasted into modern day, given a contemporary make-over, and an all-star menu, you would have Little Louie’s. The Point Richmond spot, which is part café and part wine bar, has roots that date back over a century, yet it feels entirely fresh. This combination of new and old — and its delicious food — makes Louie’s one of the best lunch spots in the Point.
The building that houses Little Louie’s dates back to the early 1900’s, but it’s a little unclear when it became the institution as it stands today. Ryan Beunaflor, whose aunt owns Louie’s, thinks it goes back at least 35 or 40 years. “It’s hard to say, it’s such an historical site,” Buenaflor explains. He’s worked at Louie’s since he was a teenager. For as long as he’s known, the café has been a bustling spot for people to grab lunch.
“[Louie’s] is part of the small-town culture we have here in the Point,” says Buenaflor. “It’s like, when people walk into the restaurant, we are welcoming you into our home.”
That homey feeling is at the core of Louie’s. From the dozens of cow-shaped creamers for diners to use, to the black and white checkered tile floor, to the home-style food made to order, nothing about Little Louie’s feels at all prepackaged or contrived.
In recent years Louie’s has also made a name for itself as a high-quality happy hour spot. Four2Nine Wine Bar is its official name, and it is made distinct from Louie’s regular café by a sliding wooden panel that sections off the two establishments. Where Little Louie’s is more pastrami sandwiches and coffee, Four2Nine is more about lamb sliders and pinot noir. The only draw back of Four2Nine are is limited hours — it’s only open a few days a week, for just a couple hours at a time.
Fortunately Little Louie’s is far more accessible. The restaurant is open seven days a week and offers some delicious and truly enormous sandwiches. One of the best is the Turbo Turkey, which comes packed with fresh turkey, jalapeño, and jack cheese. The entire creation is so large that it’s hard to wrap your mouth around it, but the flavor of the spicy and savory cheese, crisp jalapeño, and turkey is worth it once you figure out your approach.
Pair your sandwich of choice with one of their many sides or desserts (fresh caprese salad, lemon bars, deviled eggs), and head out to the back patio. This sunny deck is the one of the most relaxing spots to enjoy a meal in Point Richmond. The area is wrapped by wooden walls, which gives it a feel of coziness, but there is still enough space so that diners aren’t tripping over one another trying to get a table.
The vibe, accessibility, and quality of Little Louie’s are unparalleled in the Point. Some places offer a great meal, but they’re stuck inside dark interiors, or there isn’t enough space to eat comfortably.
To Buenaflor, the secret to Little Louie’s success might be in its name. “It’s just catchy,” he jokes. “But we also serve some really good food, and the atmosphere is awesome. People keep coming, and we’re not complaining!”
49 Washington Avenue, Point Richmond
Monday - Friday: 6 am to 4 pm
Saturday - Sunday: 7 am to 2 pm
Thursday - Friday: 4 pm to 9 pm
Saturday: 5 pm to 9 pm