NEW YORK - An Elmhurst staple is officially back open for business. Louie's Pizzeria and Restaurant on Baxter Ave. was forced to close in late March after the owners, a father and son duo—Charlie and Louie Suljovic- were stabbed multiple times while saving an elderly woman from being assaulted.
"It’s so heartwarming--the love and dedication from the neighborhood," says Louie Suljovic. "Everyone comes in and gives you a hug, to say hello, to say they miss you--that means a lot. It means that the 13 years I’ve been here--it means something to other people as well."
"Very excited to see Louis back—this neighborhood is not the same without him," said long-time customer and neighbor, David Caneppa. "I've been coming here for years. He knows my order by heart, he’s one of the best guys to know in this neighborhood."
Louie and his father, a veteran, heard Eun Hee Chang, 61, screaming outside their pizzeria. The victim was shoved to the ground, stabbed and robbed. The two men chased down two of the three suspects. Louie was stabbed once in the back--his father nine times--they both suffered a collapsed lung.
"I’m tired," says Suljovic. "My body is tired--it's been a long time since I’ve been on my feet for this long--for this many hours in a row--since the incident, and it’s become very difficult to breathe but hopefully in a couple of months I’ll be back to normal."
Louie was shortly released from Elmhurst hospital after the incident, while his father Charlie remained hospitalized for a month--released right before his 69th birthday. Louie added he doesn't expect his father to return to work--the ordeal just too much.
A Go Fund Me Page was set up for them and has raised more than $750,000 dollars.