Louie Linguini's, located on the second level above Steinbeck Plaza, celebrates the life and times of Louie Linguini, who after a career as an actor, athlete and adventurer has returned to his Monterey roots to pursue his lifelong dream of opening a quality dining establishment.
Come upstairs and enter Louie's world. Enjoy his magnificent fresh seafood, savor his delicious pasta creations or devour one of his trademark individual pizzas. Marvel in the atmosphere of his seafood shack, inspired by his World War II years in the South Pacific. Relive the glory of hisfabulous life, in which he has attempted and almost succeeded at practically everything. Learn why he never won an Academy Award, and why he never quite became a champion. Learn why his marriages didn't work, and who was to blame. And learn much, much more.
THE FULL STORY....
Louie Linguini was born on March 12, 1930 in the little Italian seaport town of Portofino. Christened Lucien Martini Linguini (his middle name had nothing to do with his family history---his father simply liked martinis), Louie grew up hanging around the movie stars and other celebrities who sailed into Portofino on their private yachts. By the age of seven, Louie would awaken early and bicycle down to the docks with a basket full of dead fish that he had caught in the last month, hoping to sell some of his catch to a wealthy actress or vacationing oil baron.
Unfortunately, sales were slow. Crew members, holding their noses, would gently shoo Louie away, letting him know he wasn’t welcome. As seven-year old Louie pedaled slowly back up to his ramshackle house with his collection of old fish, he made two promises to himself: 1) he would be famous some day, just like the celebrities who shunned him and, 2) if he ever owned a restaurant, he would only sell fresh fish.
Soon thereafter, he was off to America, land of opportunity. His father, Strami Linguini (affectionately known as Pa Strami) and his mother, Caroni Linguini (affectionately known as Ma Caroni) decided to flee the rumblings of war in Europe and move to the relative safety of the United States. They packed their meager belongings and took their four children (Louie was the youngest) and emigrated to Monterey, California.
Pa Strami joined the sardine fishermen and Ma Caroni worked in the factories on Cannery Row. They eked out a living for the family off the sea. Louie would help where he could, but it was a constant struggle making ends meet. By the age of 14, and with World War II raging and food scarce around the family table, Louie decided it was time to serve his country. He said goodbye to the sardines and his parents and enlisted in the Marines, fudging a bit about his age. With orders to head to the South Pacific, Louie stepped into a world he was about to take by storm.
Louie became a man while fighting with the Marines. He learned to shave in Iwo Jima, used his first deodorant while in the Philippines and kissed his first girl while on liberty in New Caledonia. By the time the war was over, he had made a name for himself as a fighting machine, although as a supply room clerk he never actually saw any real combat. It was now 1945, and he was ready for his next career. He was already 15, and he felt life was passing him by.
His success in deceiving the Marines into believing he was at least 18 years old convinced Louie that he had a gift for acting. So after a warm welcome home following the Japanese surrender (which he attended), Louie headed for Hollywood. He appeared in numerous films over the next 35 years, earning the respect and admiration of his peers. While never awarded an Oscar (or for that matter, nominated for one) Louie nevertheless took great pride in never bowing to a director’s pressure for him to show his bum on camera. He lost many parts, many which might have earned him that elusive Oscar, but he maintained his dignity.
He also married for the first time, tying the knot with Hollywood starlet Elizabeth Taylor in 1948. He was only 18, and his inexperience at love proved costly. They were divorced one week after the wedding. But Louie learned from his mistakes, and during his subsequent six marriages with, respectively, Katharine Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Natalie Wood, Jackie Onassis, Julia Roberts and finally, Madonna, he worked harder to make the marriages successful. And successful he was, with each marriage lasting a little longer than the last one, culminating in the blissful union with Madonna, which lasted almost a full month.
By 1955, with his Hollywood career in full swing, Louie ventured into other areas. A natural athlete, he excelled at all sports, but had particular aptitude for golf and baseball in his younger years. His body well-preserved from these low-impact sports, he turned in his later years to the more rigorous sports of boxing and football. He had his ups and downs in his professional sports career, mostly downs (especially in boxing), but it never stopped him in his quest to get to the top. He played with the best, and even though they always beat him, he kept coming back for more.
In the off-season, when he wasn’t making movies, Louie pursued his other interests. He was a great adventurer, scaling Mt. Everest in 1960 (almost made it to the top), trekking almost to the South Pole (made a wrong turn), had a valiant quest to hot-air balloon around the world (not even close) and made various other magnificent attempts to go where no man had gone before.
Louie also found time for just plain fun. He was part of the Rat Pack, along with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Louie’s other pals. These were his boozing days, and he’s not entirely proud of some of the things he said or did, but it was a different era. He smoked, he drank, he partied, he married. But he never inhaled.
As the 1960’s progressed, so did Louie’s social conscience. He developed an interest in politics. He got involved in the civil rights movement. He became good buddies with Russian President Nikita Krushchev. He entertained the troops in Vietnam with his pal Bob Hope. In the ‘70’s he worked for Richard Nixon and was accidentally instrumental in bringing his presidency down. He consulted with Jimmy Carter during the Iran hostage crisis (the yellow ribbons were Louie’s idea).
The 1980’s found Louie at the tail end of his athletic and movie career. Miraculously, he was still playing football at the age of 50, but he had clearly lost a step. His boxing career had ended with the famous “Disasta in Alaska,” when he was knocked out ten seconds into the first round by an 18 year old Eskimo welterweight. His movie career was coming to a screeching halt. The roles were getting thinner and he was getting fatter. By the mid ‘80’s, he bid Hollywood and professional athletics a fond farewell.
He worked for Ronald Reagan for awhile, but his heart wasn’t in it. He knew that if any second-rate actor could become President, it should have been Louie Linguini. He always thought President Linguini had a ring to it, but it was not to be. When Bill Clinton was elected in 1992, Louie attended the inaugural balls, collected a few good stories, and then headed home to Monterey, finished with politics, finished with the movies, finished with adventuring, and finished with professional sports.
His retirement lasted more than a decade. Louie took long walks in Pebble Beach, fished for calamari with some old friends, and hung around Cannery Row. After a lifetime of fame and adventure, he cherished his solitude. But eventually he grew restless, and he decided to finally follow what he believed to be his one true calling, the goal he set for himself when he was seven years old and he was shunned by those rich snobs on the yachts at Portofino. He was going to open a restaurant, and he was going to serve the freshest fish available. He wouldn’t be shunned this time.
Louie Linguini’s (the décor was inspired by his WW II South Pacific days) was born in 2004. Louie was only 74, and he had played professional football into his ‘50’s. Surely he could cook and run a restaurant for decades to come. He felt like a new man. All the fame, all the money, all the wives, all the adventures could not compare to the satisfaction he got from watching a customer happily devour one of his family’s treasured recipes.
This restaurant is Louie’s true calling, and he has never been happier. Louie Linguini welcomes you into his new home and hopes you enjoy his life and times as much as you will enjoy his food.
Louie Linguini's660 Cannery Row
Monterey, CA 93940 831-648-8500
****4 Stars on Trip Advisor
Lunch & Dinner 11:00am to 10:00pm
(Closing times may vary, please call ahead)
"Louie Linguini's is Terrific!" - The Monterey County Herald
"Best Cioppino!" - "Ciao America," Food Network