Bonfire Food & Drink is heating up the South Side
The South Side has added another restaurant to its stacked roster: Bonfire Food & Drink, a much- anticipated new culinary concept by Chris Bonfili, the chef and owner of Shadyside’s former Avenue B and Sewickley’s B Gourmet.
After closing Avenue B last year, Bonfili scoured the city for a location to open up a new restaurant. Originally, he wasn’t set on the South Side, but when he found the space, he liked a lot of elements of the building: a brick oven and two floors that would allow him to create two different concepts in one building.
“The more I was in the space, the more it sang to me,” Bonfili says.
The first floor has a casual and elevated bar food menu centering around the wood-fired oven. There are traditional mac and cheese or fancier versions, such as one with roasted mushrooms, Boursin cheese and smoky onion. All come served in cast iron with smoky char on top from the wood-fired oven. Bonfili says the menu is intended to stay consistent, filled with dishes that guests know they can come in and order time after time. The Bonfire burger with roasted mushrooms, goat cheese, arugula and truffle and the crispy Brussels sprouts with smoked grapes, hazelnuts and a brown butter aioli will be something reached for often.
“I didn’t have a lot of experience cooking with a wood-fired oven and I’m excited to play around with it and do something different,” Bonfili says.
The bar menu showcases some local drafts, mixed cocktails and wines by the glass. At the bar, Bonfili says, you often hear guests reminiscing about Avenue B. That’s where the second-floor space comes in.
Opening in late February, Bonfili will transform the second-floor space into a more sophisticated dining experience with a full wine and cocktail list and a small lounge area. He says that guests who may not like the hustle and bustle of the busy first floor will enjoy a more relaxed setting upstairs. The menu is set to be inspired by, but not exactly like, what he did at Avenue B, and will change frequently.
Though Avenue B’s famous meatloaf might make an appearance on the new menu, don’t expect it to be a staple or expect that Bonfire is a reincarnation of Avenue B.
“I didn’t want people to think this was a second coming of Avenue B,” Bonfili says. “When I heard that some people thought I was just reopening the restaurant, it made me even more excited to come to the South Side and do something different.”
And the neighborhood has already welcomed the new restaurant.
“Whenever a restaurant like Bonfire opens in the South Side, we welcome them with open arms,” says Mark Bucklaw, board president of the South Side Chamber of Commerce. “It brings a vibrant momentum to a beautiful location that was unfortunately unused until now.”
Bonfire is located at 2100 E. Carson St. and is open 11 a.m.-midnight Tuesday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Friday, 3 p.m.-1 a.m. Saturday and 3-11 p.m. Sunday. Brunch is served 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.
Sarah Sudar is a Tribune-Review contributing writer.