Table Talk

bonoPIZZA sets up temporary space in apartment complex

By ThisWeek Community News  • 

bonoPIZZA has settled into new digs in the Heritage Apartments, just days after shuttering its storefront at 1717 Northwest Blvd., where it was located for four years.

The pizzeria has taken over the former Savelli's location at 1420 Presidential Drive.

Owner Jake Wilch said it's a temporary move while he searches for a permanent spot in the Grandview Heights area.

He likes the fact there's seating for 25, twice as much as the former location.

But he misses the 450-pound, wood-burning pizza oven constructed by former owner Bill Yerkes. Using hard woods, the oven would reach temperatures of 2,000 degrees toward the back and 450 degrees on the deck, cooking individual pies in 1 ??? to 3 minutes. That created the trademark char along the crust.

Wilch said he plans to build another one when he gets a lease.

"There's no better way to cook pizzas," he said.

Wilch, who purchased the restaurant last year from Yerkes, was forced to shutter the previous location because he was unable to work out a lease agreement with the landlord.

The final night of business was touching for both employees and patrons.

Longtime customers Scot and Barbara Pearson were unhappy to see the pizzeria go.

"It's sad," Mrs. Pearson said. "We knew it was leaving. We just didn't know when."

It was a bittersweet departure, Wilch said.

The small, well-worn space was comfortable for staff and customers, who grew to know each other's tastes and personalities.

Yet, it was simply too small, seating all of a dozen people. When an adjacent carryout closed months earlier, customers lost a primary entrance to bono, making it extremely tight when employees were cranking out 60 to 100 pizzas on busier nights, Wilch said. The oven itself could only fit up to three pies at a time.

The pizza parlor is renowned for its Neapolitan-style hand-tossed pies made from fresh dough and using premium toppings. Belgian waffles have a less conspicuous profile at the restaurant. The pricing structure remains: Pizzas are $10 each or $25 for three Monday through Wednesday.

The payment policy also is the same for the time being: Bring cash because bono does not accept credit or debit cards. Wilch said he's occasionally let people walk out with a pizza on the understanding they would bring him back the money.

"I've never been burned by it," he said, adding he will try to update his technology.

Although permanent hours have not been set, bono is currently open 5 to 10 p.m. daily. For more information, call 614-906-8646.

 

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Frezno has been recast as Front Street Bar & Grill, a casual pub with inexpensive fare.

Kevin Ames, who owns the Brewery District locale with his wife, Lori, said the change reflects a mellower mood driven by patrons.

"We realized this restaurant was positioned wrong in the market," he said of Frezno, which the couple opened last May in the vacant Hagen's storefront, 460 S. Front St.

Front Street, which was slated to open Feb. 19, looks to draw in customers with a menu consisting of small, shareable plates -- braised meatballs, homemade hummus and spicy pork tacos, to name a few -- at competitive prices.

Most are in the $6 to $10 range, with a couple topping $12. More expensive specials will run on the weekends.

The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner weekdays and dinner only on the weekends.

Front Street will offer billiards in a lounge area toward the back of the 4,000-square-foot space. A wall was torn down to give diners, who have the best vantage point, a view of the kitchen.

In November, the couple opened Jack Whitney's, an upscale pub in the former Handke's, and briefly the McCaskey's space at 520 S. Front St. However, the building's owners sold the property, which forced the Ameses to close.

But Kevin Ames is still confident in the Brewery District market, which he describes as being in a transitional phase.

"It's good," he said. "I think the residents need some consistency.

"We're going to invest here," he added. "We like what is happening here."

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