I just received a text from Tim. He reports Louie Canelakes, owner of Louie’s, passed away today. I’ve got some calls out for details which I will pass along ASAP. Apparently he had been ill for some time and died today from a heart attack.
Update: I just spoke with a friend of the family who said Louie had been in the hospital for pneumonia. Sadly, Louie was only 58.
The first time I met Louie in the mid-70s. He was a bartender at Joe Miller’s on McKinney and Lemmon, where The Loon now operates. Joe Miller’s was the ultimate hangout in Dallas. Every night (day!) You would find politicians, lawyers, judges, and journalists sharing stories late into the night (day!). One could sit for hours and listen to Louie. At the end of the night, he would load people on his shoulder and carry them to their cars. When owner Joe Miller died of cancer in December 1985, Louie kept pouring (deep) for loyal patrons.
In a recap of 1986 published in D Magazine, Brad Bailey writes:
Speaking of bar wars, in May we named Louis Canelakes one of the ten best bartenders in Dallas. In August, we reported that he had been fired from his longtime job at Joe Miller’s by Miller’s widow, Linda. As the year draws to a close, Louie is involved in negotiations to open his own joint. He guarantees it will be at least as tacky as his former venue. Linda Miller has made some overtures to bury the hatchet; Louie figures the best place for it is still her head. “I got an attitude. When I’m in my own bar, I’ll forget it, it never happened. But right now I got an attitude. I been livin’ on beans and franks.”
Canelakes opened his own joint on Henderson where he and his brother Chris ran one of the most popular bars in Dallas. The two guys from Illinois were known for their dry senses of humor and their thin crust “Waukegan-style pizza.” Louie’s was featured on Diners, Drive-ins & Dives in March 2009.
Louis Canelakes was a unique Dallas character. His death is a enormous loss for our city and our vibrant, eclectic restaurant/bar scene. I can hear his scratchy low voice telling me to shut up. So I will.
Bless you, Louie. I hope you and Joe are standing together next to the big fish tank in the sky.