Bonu’ Taverna debuts Italian lunch and brunch service in downtown

Bonu’ Taverna debuts Italian lunch and brunch service in downtown

The exterior of Bonu' Taverna

NEW! I Love the Burg MORE Members get a $10 gift card to try Bonu’ Taverna Italiana!

One of our favorite new spots downtown for delicious food and drink has added a game-changer to St. Pete’s lunch scene. Beginning this week, Bonu’ Taverna is now open daily at 11:30 am, bringing a delicious new weekday lunch option to town. And on weekends, Bonu’ has rolled out Saturday and Sunday brunch, with some incredible cocktails and food specials.

Fans of the spectacular dinners – fear not. The entire menu is available all day, as ownership wanted to ensure that diners can enjoy anything they want no matter the time of the day. But in addition to that full menu, the chefs are whipping up some time-appropriate specials to pair with the pasta and pizza-filled offerings guests have been enjoying for dinner. Bonu’ plans to debut lighter sandwiches as part of the lunch menu, as well as some more breakfast-y specials during brunch (last weekend’s breakfast pizza with hard boiled eggs was fantastic).

In addition to expanded hours (don’t miss out on late nights at the Bonu’ bar over the weekends, either), the restaurant also made some additions to its full-time menu. Check out the updated menu here and find some picks for your next visit. And if you’re planning to go soon, I Love the Burg More members can redeem $10 off their bill at Bonu’ Taverna. Read more about the membership here if you’re interested in checking out new things around town and receiving exclusive offers.

The Italian taverna was long awaited in St. Pete

After months of anticipation, Bonu’ Taverna finally opened its doors in downtown St. Pete this summer. Housed in the corner lot at 601 Central Avenue, it was opened by a team of restaurateurs with roots in Italy. Bonu’ Taverna pulls from its Mediterranean roots with Sicilian-inspired cuisine, refreshing craft cocktails and a deep wine selection. Mia Maccarrone, one of the partners behind the new venture, dubs it a neighborhood restaurant with avant garde Italian offerings.

The menu honors the Italian tradition of using fewer but fresher ingredients, going light on sauces and showcasing big flavors in approachable, unintimidating and typically shareable dishes. The chefs place an emphasis on using as much local seafood, produce and other ingredients as possible.

‘Pinsa’ has become a star of the menu

Appetizers include everything from mussels, stuffed gnocchi, and meatballs, to grilled octopus, crispy arancini balls, and an absolutely divine watermelon salad topped with goat cheese and a house-made pistachio pesto. The literal big show on the list is the tagliere (charcuterie boards) delivering a tremendous selection of procured meats, cheeses and veggies.

Alongside salads and sweets (including tiramisu, cannoli, and gelato), the menu at Bonu’ also offers a wide selection of pastas and meat-forward entrees. House-made lasagna, clam linguine, stuffed ravioli, and zucchini and shrimp taglioni highlight the pasta menu, while larger plates range from salmon or eggplant to short ribs or chicken Milanese.

The dining room at Bonu' Taverna

However, it’s a more doughy delight that Bonu’ says has become the star of the menu: pinsa. A style of thin, hand-pressed pizza, these fluffy, baked favorites have been a staple of Roman cooking for more than a century. Bonu’ offers eight versions of the pinsa, providing options for any palate.

As for the bar menu, Bonu’ showcaes an extensive list of wines (with Italian varieties ranging far beyond just the region of Tuscany) as well as Italian-inspired cocktails, and local craft beer. Espresso and other caffeinated beverages are featured, as well.

Bonu’ Taverna brings beautiful look to historic building

For months, paper covered the windows at Bonu’ Taverna, but inside those walls, an incredible transformation was taking place, courtesy of the St. Pete-owned Humble & Kind Contractors.

Thanks to heavy renovation, the construction of a beautiful new bar, and the refurbishment of original floors and walls in the old building, the former location of Cider Press Café has an entirely new look. Complete with a mural by local artist Leo Gomez, the remodel has given the restaurant an open floor plan, including bar seats looking directly into the tremendous new kitchen.

Even the chairs and benches were made locally and entirely with reclaimed wood. It was important for the team behind Bonu’, who have lived in St. Pete for years and are raising their kids here, to honor the history of the building while also showcasing local makers, artists and products.

The restaurant also features a wine cellar complete with bar seating, and an event space expected to be filled with local art. Situated on the corner, Bonu’ Taverna also offers ample outdoor seating, complimenting a lively and laid back atmosphere indoors reminiscent of Southern Italian dining.

A restaurant designed for all in the Burg

A collage of pictures featuring Bonu' partners
Partners and chefs at Bonu’ displaying food dishes and a mural by Leo Gomez

The ethos at Bonu’ Taverna is a mix of Mediterranean inspiration and the personality of the Sunshine City. The neighborhood-first approach encourages conversation over shared meals, featuring a menu that is designed to not price out the locals, while providing something for everyone at any time of day.

“Come as you like and be who you are,” partner Mia Maccarrone said. “Join us, eat with us, have fun with us, and travel with us to Italy for the night.”

Indeed, she added, the restaurant is meant to be a place where one can stop in for a quick drink and a snack, or to come in and splurge on a nice bottle of wine and a decadent meal.

“You can have a coffee and sit at the bar and be happy, or you can come have the $90 bottle of wine, and we’ll treat you equally,” Maccarrone said. “For me, it’s whoever walks through the door.

“It doesn’t matter your budget; our menu is for the little guy,” she continued. “I’d prefer to have people able to come in three days a week than one time per month.”

Italian hospitality meets St. Pete style

The exterior at Bonu, and a pinsa

Mia and Mario Maccarrone have partnered with brothers (and longtime friends) Antonio and Luca Martucci to bring the team’s dream of Bonu’ Taverna to life. In the kitchen, the supremely talented chef duo of Luca Bizzari and Marcelo Rodriguez are taking the helm to help deliver a menu that the team hopes will be the centerpiece of dinner conversations among friends, family and new acquaintances alike.

It’s that Italian and Mediterranean approach they have taken in creating a restaurant where meals are meant to be savored and mere sustenance gives way to a familial dining experience. Bonu’ adheres to the idea of embodying “alla grande,” which roughly translates as “wonderful” and is exclaimed in Italy as a way to rejoice about something.

“Magic happens around a dinner table,” Mia Maccarrone said. “It’s a piece of our Mediterranean hearts in St. Pete.”

Bonu’ Taverna is open from 11 am – 10 pm on weekdays, and from 11 am – 11 pm on Friday and Saturday. The restaurant also offers sandwiches during lunch hours from 11 am – 4 pm. The restaurant says to expect live music and DJs at night on the weekends. Bonu’ does not currently take online reservations, a decision to meant to ensure that those who live in the neighborhood are able to come in any time.

Learn more about the restaurant at bonutaverna.com.

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