The dream of reopening the burned-out Louie’s Foot-Long Hot Dogs site in the Elmwood Village has died.
But that doesn’t mean the hot dog stand won’t reopen in the immediate neighborhood.
Angelo Turco, the owner of Louie’s, announced Tuesday that he has decided not to reopen the boarded-up restaurant at Elmwood and Hodge avenues, which was extensively damaged in a February fire. Louie’s remains open at its original location in the Town of Tonawanda, at Sheridan Drive and Grand Island Boulevard. “I just didn’t know if I had enough left in the tank to reopen it,” Turco said of the Elmwood-Hodge site, which he helped open 22 years ago when he was 27.
However, Turco revealed that he is talking with someone who would operate a new Louie’s franchise in the immediate Elmwood Village area, using the name and the recipes, and relying on Turco as a consultant who would work there for at least a few months.
His father, Louis, who helped popularize the foot-long hot dog when he opened the Sheridan-Grand Island Boulevard location in 1951, died in May. He had run the business for 58 years before his retirement in 2009. Turco, who said he has been in the business since he was 5 years old, plans to focus much of his energy on the original location.
“This is our 63rd year at this location, and I’m going to honor the commitment to my father and keep this location open and in the family for many, many years to come,” he said. And whether Louie’s has one or two sites, Turco plans to honor his father’s formula for operating a hot dog stand: french fries cut by hand, food cooked to order and hot dogs delivered with a strong personal touch from the owner and his workers.