Restaurant Notes Extra: Fort Wayne’s Rib Room to become Sweet Lou’s Pizza

After 60 years, the Rib Room will be no more. Sweet Lou's Pizza, serving Chicago-style deep-dish pizzas, will open there after the first of the year. (News-Sentinel file photo)

After 60 years, the Rib Room will be going away, but its replacement will have some other recognizable Fort Wayne names behind it.

Sweet Lou’s Pizza will open in the spot at 1235 E. State Blvd., just east of Crescent Avenue, under new owner Lou Henry. The Rib Room will close around Jan. 1 and reopen a week or two later under the new name and concept, said general manager Karon Messman.

The Rib Room, previously owned by the Filippou family, closed for a few months before being reopened in early 2016 by Lou Henry’s uncles Chris, Kurt and Matt Henry, who own the building and the adjoining Nick’s Martini and Wine Bar. They used some of the Filippou family’s recipes.

Sweet Lou’s will keep the same ribs, salad and fries that Rib Room fans like, but the main concept change from a fine dining place to a casual experience will be the emphasis on pizza, flatbreads and stromboli, said Messman, who will remain in some capacity with Nick’s.

“We think the concept will fit better with the neighborhood,” Messman said.

While the current owners don’t have a restaurant background, Messman said, Lou Henry’s wife, Anna, was a Hall from the Don Hall’s Restaurants family. Another Henry uncle, Tony Henry, owns Deer Park Irish Pub and Lou’s aunt Cindy Henry owned the Green Frog Inn.

The Rib Room went through a major remodeling not too long ago so diners won’t see major changes inside.

For the pizza, while it sounds similar to Oley’s Pizza’s double crust pies, it will be more like Giordano’s in Chicago, Lou Henry said.

“It will be a traditional Chicago-style deep dish,” Henry said. However, instead of being topped with cheese, the sauce will be on top.

The dough and sauce will be made in house, and fresh produce will be used for the toppings, Henry said.

He’s hoping to open the first week of the new year with carryout available and the same hours that the Rib Room has: 4-10 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday and 4-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Have restaurant news? Call Lisa M. Esquivel Long at 260-461-8354, send email to or a fax to 260-461-8817 or write Restaurant Notes, C/O The News-Sentinel, PO Box 102, Fort Wayne, IN 46802.