Philly in C'ville: New cheesesteakery comes to Long Street
During their lunch break, some guys sit waiting at foldout tables with thin paper tablecloths at one of Charlottesville’s newest eateries, with a flavor that Lucious "Lou" Craig Renfrow couldn’t believe C’ville diners had been missing out on for so long– the flavor of a Philly cheesesteak.
One man looks up from his phone and asks another group of eager diners, "You guys been here before?"
"Yeah," another answers quickly, "It’s new, but great."
Renfrow opened Lou's Philly Steaks on July 1, and he's not bashful.
"The fact is that you could go as far as Philadelphia and you're not going to find a sandwich as good as here," Renfrow declares.
Renfrow first arrived in Charlottesville for one of his son's AAU basketball games and moved here six years ago. A towering, powerfully-built man hailing from West Philly, Renfrow grew up eating cheesesteaks at his favorite corner store, Miss Hattie's.
"Those are all the best places– corner stores," says Renfrow, crossing his arms definitively.
Like any corner store in West Philly, what Lou's lacks in ambiance may be compensated by the cheesesteaks with all the accoutrements (green peppers, onions, three different types of cheeses, etc.), a dozen different hoagies, fries, and fountain drinks. A meal costs about $10.
One man sitting and enjoying a hoagie wonders aloud in reference to the purple and gold color scheme, “I should ask Lou why he likes JMU colors.”
Renfrow says he actually chose the colors as a tribute to Omega Psi Phi fraternity, and he decided to name his eatery as a tribute to his late father, who was named Lou.
A graduate of the top-rated Wharton school of business, Renfrow explains that he wants Lou's to make a statement as a small business in this community.
"I’m here to bring people together," says Renfrow. "And food can always bring people together."
Lou’s is located on 1305 Long Street (right next to All-American Car Wash) and operates from 9am to 8pm Monday through Friday– with the "Lou’s Lunch Special" providing one free sandwich for every six purchased from 10am to 3pm on weekdays.Read more on: Lou's restaurant