Despite the challenges of COVID-19, entrepreneurs Dan Bavaro and Bob Johnston have moved forward and opened Oronzo Honest Italian!, a new fast-casual concept with its first location in New Tampa, which opened to the public June 16.

Bavaro, Bavaro Hospitality founder, and Johnston, Front Burner Brands CEO, had the vision to bring a fast-casual Italian concept to the market. In 2018, Bavaro Hospitality and Front Burner formed a joint venture partnership. Bavaro Hospitality is behind Bavaro’s Pizza Napoletana & Pasteria; Front Burner is the restaurant management company for The Melting Pot Restaurants, Inc., with 45 years of experience and proven success.

This partnership combines the two successful restaurateurs’ unique strengths – Bavaro’s Italian heritage and a passion for food and culinary experience combined with the foundation for rapid concept growth, through Johnston’s franchising development expertise.

“Through our work with the Melting Pot, Front Burner specializes in creating special experiences for our guests,” says Bob Johnston, Front Burner Brands CEO. “We are excited to join Dan Bavaro in opening Oronzo, a fast-casual concept that plays off our experiential DNA. Guests will enjoy authentic Italian food with an immersive experience, including an open kitchen where guests can see their food being prepared and the FIAT 600, an iconic Italian-made old-fashioned imported vehicle on display.”

Oronzo is located at 18027 Highwood Preserve Parkway, just off Bruce B. Downs near I-75 in The Walk at Highwood Preserve.  The 1,800 square foot location, designed by partner ScottSquared Design, accommodates 52 for inside dining and 40 outside. Currently, the restaurant is abiding by COVID-19 requirements with dine-in tables at six-feet apart and employees wearing masks.

“Oronzo is named after my grandfather, Oronzo Bavaro, who migrated in the early 1900s from Giovinazzo, Italy to the Gravesend neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York,” adds Dan Bavaro, founder of Bavaro Hospitality. “Despite these crazy times, we are grateful to be open. We have more future locations in the works.”

The Oronzo menu features “from scratch” recipes with origins dating back to the 1800s 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 uses the Piadina bread as a base for a pizza called Piatto—meaning flat in Italian. 

The Piadina bread is also used as a wrap for fresh Italian ingredients including the ancient grain and superfood, Farro.  Other menu items 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 is now serving guests seven days a week from 11am-9pm. For more information visit us online at or call us at 813-730-0100.                                                    

Emerging Concepts, Fast Casual, News