PARKERSBURG – The new Southern Craft restaurant and bar on Emerson Avenue is a family affair for the DeAngelos.
Louis and Kristen DeAngelo opened the restaurant with their five children: Louis III, Alex, Aiden, Isabella and Leonardo.
“Family is what it’s all about”, says Kristen.
Louis, originally from New Jersey, moved to Parkersburg with his parents when he was 10 years old. He began working with his sponsors, Mike Ruscitto and Franco Scotto Rinaldi, the owners of Pizza Place in Marietta and the mall.
The DeAngelos attended Parkersburg Catholic and were high school sweethearts before getting married and moving to Louisiana, where they lived for 28 years. They raised their five children in Louisiana while Louis owned restaurants and consulted in New Orleans and Baton Rouge.
When their children decided to work in the restaurant business, the DeAngelo family arrived in Parkersburg three years ago.
“Bringing the South Home” says Kristen.
“It was logical” Louis said.
“Being able to come back here and have my kids in an environment I grew up in is good,” Louis said. “I grew up here for most of my teenage years and my teenage years, and I learned a long time ago from my sponsors and by serving, we all serve people in a way and that’s not a food is really about serving people.”
He explained his passion for what he does. “Serving people, the union of food and caring people, and those I serve, fills my soul. There’s nothing else to it.” he said.
The restaurant offers traditional southern flavors on its menu, such as Cajun and Creole, along with shrimp and grits, okra and jambalaya.
Everything is fresh “and this is the truth” Louis said. “From andouille sausage to grinding our own beef for our steak burgers, we knead and bake our brioche buns and make the glazed donuts for our glazed donut bread pudding. Everything up to the mayonnaise, we make fresh.
The DeAngelos hope to bring to the region what they believe is their family: southern hospitality and uniqueness.
“Southern cuisine is bold, unique and flavorful, carrying Southern culture with it,” Louis said.
The menu is a work in progress.
“It’s small but we’re going to perfect everything, then add more. I would rather have 25 dishes on the menu that are the best in the world,” Louis said. “Having anything less ends up depleting quality over time.”
Food isn’t the only family-made thing in the restaurant. The interior of the restaurant was remodeled and designed by the DeAngelos.
“So all this wood comes from the old bleachers of the PHS pavilion, all the tables and the columns”, he said. “There are so many sculptures of boyfriends and girlfriends etched into the stands.”
The black window frames are from the old Pizza Place and have been scrubbed, sanded and painted, then hung from the ceiling to create a home-made aesthetic piece.
The restaurant features original artwork by DeAngelo’s late father, Lou “Big Lou” DeAngelo Sr.
“The lessons he taught us all are invaluable; the impact has been huge,” says Kristen.
The late Big Lou changed Aiden’s life before he died about a year ago.
“He was an incredibly moving and inspiring person in all of our lives,” Louis said. “The kids carved ‘Big Lou’ in the stands along with all the other carvings.”
From the shutters, original Rose Down Plantation in St. Francisville, Louisiana, to old maps of Italy and a menu by Wolfgang Puck, the Southern Craft Restaurant and Bar is brimming with charm and originality.
The small restaurant was set up by the DeAngelos hoping to serve with their food, “an experience of genuine warmth and hospitality that really means something.”
The Southern Craft Restaurant and Bar, 3601 Emerson Ave., is open 3 p.m. to 10 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday. Reservations are not required and the restaurant will be closed this weekend as its grand opening was so successful that it needs time to restock.
For more information, call 681-295-0184.
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