Editor's Note: A previous version of this story included an errors. This version has been corrected.
A Shreveport man’s plan to open an Italian restaurant in a downtown Longview building vacant for almost two years is the latest piece of a continuing resurgence in the area.
Ardian Marevci, owner of Roma Italian Bistro in Shreveport, says he will open Roma’s Italian Kitchen in the former Tyler Street Bistro at 102 E. Tyler St. in two or three months or “as soon as I am done with everything.”
“I have a lot of customers in Longview, and they asked me for it,” Marevci said of opening the new location.
He said the restaurant will feature homemade pasta, bread and pizza, have a license to sell beer and wine and a piano player for entertainment.
Marevci said he signed a lease for three to five years with Coldwell Banker Lenhart Properties to operate the restaurant. He has owned the Shreveport restaurant for eight years.
Broker Jack Lenhart confirmed the lease Tuesday but declined further comment. Lenhart represented his brother-in-law and property owner, attorney Doug Monsour, who was unavailable Tuesday for comment.
Monsour bought the building in January 2018 as an investment from Robbins Siblings Holdings. The Tyler Street Bistro and the adjoining Gerald’s Martini Bar closed after longtime owner Gerald Rodriguez died in May 2017.
The building has been vacant since then but now has a banner announcing Roma’s will open. Marevci, who was born in New York City but grew up in Albania, said he plans to move to Longview from Shreveport.
Marevci said he plans to be open for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 9 or 10 p.m., six or seven days a week.
“I am looking for a piano player,” he said.
Officials have said public and private investment in downtown are bringing more people to the area.
The city spent more than $26 million in voter-approved bonds to renovate downtown streets, while housing projects are planned for the historical Petroleum Building on Fredonia Street and Heritage Tower at the corner of Green and Methvin streets.
Most recently, VeraBank announced it bought the 10-story building it had on Tyler Street and is renovating the former top-floor restaurant.