Dan Bavaro, Bavaro’s Pizza Napoletana & Pasteria founder, and Front Burner will launch the ORONZO Honest Italian, a fast-casual concept this spring, according to Bavaro.
“ORONZO is named after my grandfather Oronzo Bavaro who migrated from Giovinazzo, Italy, to Gravesend, Brooklyn, New York, in the early 1900s,” says Bavaro who founded Bavaro’s in Tampa in 2009. “My grandfather established Oronzo & Sons General Trucking Company which made deliveries to area grocery stores and restaurants.”
After several years of development, Bavaro and Front Burner feel they have developed an Italian concept that will resonate with customers in Tampa Bay and throughout the U.S. bringing from scratch Italian recipes and ease of technology to its patrons.
“From the first time we met Dan at his downtown Bavaro’s location, we knew there was something special about him,” says Front Burner CEO, Bob Johnston. “He is passionate about everything he gets involved with. Oronzo has great potential for future growth. We are proud to bring Dan and Oronzo into our legacy of Melting Pot family of restaurants.”
Front Burner is the operator of several restaurant concepts and a franchise operator of The Melting Pot “polished casual” dining restaurant franchise. The Melting Pot currently has over 105 locations in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.
The menu will spotlight ‘from scratch” recipes with origins dating back to the 1800’s in Rimini, Italy, a city on the Adriatic coast in the Emilia-Romagna region. Menu features will focus around Italy’s iconic Piadina bread, made with imported Italian flour, sea salt, lardo and water. Similar to a tortilla, ORONZO will use the Piadina bread as a base for a pizza called Piatto – meaning flat in Italian.
The Piadina bread will also be use as a wrap for fresh Italian ingredients including the ancient grain and superfood, Farro. Other menu items will include Italian soups and salads, as well as proteins such as crispy baked chicken, steak, grilled chicken, hand-rolled meatballs, Forza (power) bowls, homemade pasta, and gluten free zucchini noodles and vegan options.
ORONZO’s first location is scheduled to open in late spring at 18027 Highwood Preserve Parkway, just off Bruce B Downs near 75 in The Walk at Highwood Preserve. More future locations are in the works.
In 2011, Bavaro’s Tampa patrons and close friends of Front Burner CEO, Bob Johnston introduced Dan Bavaro to Johnston. The relationship has matured over the years leading to a joint venture partnership.
“We’re shooting for a late April opening,” Bavaro adds. “That’s assuming all goes well with construction, which started January 10.