A slice of Rehoboth Beach history – with pepperoni

July 29, 2022

Extensive studies have proven once and for all that oceans and boardwalks do, in fact, attract pizzas. Though uniquely American, pizza is like most regional foods: Everybody is convinced that their favorite is the best. Rehoboth dishes up a variety of pies – from Neapolitan to New York to Detroit to Sicilian – but one of the locals’ longtime favorites is Louie’s.

Since ’74, Louie’s thin, yeasty and house-made crust has yielded an appetizing pull with every bite. Lazaros “Louie” Gouvas and his sons Tony and Tim are known for pilin’ on the pepperoni, and somehow their pizza tastes even better while scanning the surf from the Boardwalk. But I must warn you: Beware of the seagulls! I have been the victim of a fly-by slice-grab perpetrated by two gulls working in unison to secure their lunch. In the typical “good gull/bad gull” maneuver, they were 100% successful – at least from their point of view.

Louie’s Pizza, officially known as Louie’s Home of the Grinder, grew out of George’s Lunch, owned by dad’s Uncle George. At that time, many of the storefronts by the ocean on Rehoboth Avenue were owned by first or second-generation Greek immigrants from Wilmington and Philadelphia. The families worked hard to keep their businesses thriving. A few examples include Gus Svolis and his family-run Gus & Gus’ Place on the Boardwalk, the long-gone Country Squire restaurant (where Semra’s Mediterranean Grill is now) owned by Nick Tsoukalas, one of the three brothers who owned Sea Wood (where Grotto Pizza’s outdoor seating is now) and the still-going-strong Robin Hood.

As is so often the case with multiple families living and working in close proximity, buildings and owners were shuffled around. Louie Gouvas ended up with the space that housed West’s clothing store after the former owner added the second floor to the building. In fact, the Gouvas family lived in that upper floor for many years. (George’s Lunch was where Thrasher’s is now.)

As he and his brother Tim brought the nuts & bolts of Louie’s business into the modern age, Tony realized that all that history couldn’t go to waste. So several years ago, he created an almost museum-like mural in the dining room. This slice of Rehoboth Beach history is a collage of family photos, old-time images and postcards showing beachgoers lined up at George’s lunch with West’s in the background. There are great pictures of a young Louie Gouvas and his uncle serving customers and hand-cutting fries.

Louie's Pizza is truly a family business! Currently, Tony’s wife, both their sons and his teenage daughter are slingin’ pies. Earlier in the summer, the whole place was like a family reunion with the addition of the sons’ three first cousins – and Tony’s brother-in-law! “The leadership transition from the founders to the younger generation is not without its challenges,” says Tony. He continues: “It takes time, but my son wants to take control of the business, and he has my blessing. We own the building, so we’re not going anywhere!”

Tony is the first to admit that the business – along with just about every other business at the beach – suffered over the last several years. But the boys and crew are back in the saddle, and that pepperoni-carpeted pizza is as good as ever. Of course you can’t forget Louie’s famous cheese fries and their toasty grinders. What is a grinder, you ask? It’s a New England term for a sub that’s toasted. Add that to the salty air and the sound of the waves, and few experiences are more Rehoboth Beach.

Louie’s offers online ordering and delivery at They’re open every day except Tuesdays. Call ahead for pickup at 302-227-6002.

So when a long day on the sand brings on that empty feeling, a Louie’s slice – or two – might be just what you need. Top it with pepperoni and a twilight view of the surf, and you’ve got the perfect taste of summer. Just watch out for those pizza-thievin’ gulls.


Bob Yesbek writes and talks beach eats nonstop. He can be reached at

  • So many restaurants, so little time! Food writer Bob Yesbek gives readers a sneak peek behind the scenes, exposing the inner workings of the local culinary industry, from the farm to the table and everything in between. He can be reached at

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