Taste of the Month: Back in downtown Bellefonte, Bonfatto’s offers an authentic Italian experience
Celebrating its 100th year as a family business, Bonfatto’s Italian Market and Corner Café had its grand reopening in April at its new location at 401 West High Street in downtown Bellefonte.
“This really brings us back full circle to where my grandparents got their start opening the original Bonfatto’s in 1919, at 214 West High Street,” owner David Letterman says.
After 20 years in the full-service restaurant business, Letterman was ready to rebrand the family business with a focus on providing the community with a truly authentic Italian experience.
Letterman carefully sourced imported meats, cheeses, pastas, and tomato sauces that are regulated by the Italian government to be authentic and meet the highest quality standards. Even the coffee grinder and espresso machine were imported from Europe to brew the optimal cup of coffee for customers to enjoy. Some specialty, must-try items include the rosemary-herbed ham, gorgonzola picante cheese, and a line of organic carbonated beverages from Italy.
“For a few years now, we have been researching and developing the ideas behind this concept of an Italian market and sub shop. We really wanted to offer specialty products imported from Italy that you can’t find anywhere else in the area, so customers don’t have to go to Pittsburgh or New York,” Letterman says.
After months of renovations and closing their former location on Zion Road in December 2018, Bonfatto’s Italian Market and Corner Café this spring welcomed back loyal customers, who have been patiently waiting to satisfy their cravings for Bonfatto’s famous Bonanza Subs.
“It feels good to be behind the counter again, interacting with customers and building those relationships while you are making the order,” Letterman says.
Open for dine-in or take-out Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., the menu also features panini sandwiches, pastas, as well as healthy options such as salads and smoothies. The Pancetta Panini is a delicious combination of sweet fig jam, creamy-tangy telaggio cheese, and crisp pancetta. The Mediterranean Bowl is a mixture of quinoa topped with arugula, avocado, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, baby cucumber, Kalamata olives, marinated artichokes, chickpeas, and freshly made lemon vinaigrette.
“My daughter Michele is vegan, and she came up with the smoothie blends with natural energy and metabolic boosting ingredients like carrot, ginger, guava, and beetroot,” explains Letterman. “My grandson picked out what he wanted to eat for the kids menu, such as made-to-order mac and cheese, spaghetti served with pomodoro (red sauce) or butter sauce, grilled cheese panini, an individual-sized pizza (with or without pepperoni), and a 4-inch turkey sub, all served with a choice of chips, seasonal fruit, or a chocolate chip cookie.”
Although Bonfatto’s no longer serves chicken wings, their famous wings sauces are available in bottles for sale. The new Bonfatto’s doesn’t have a bar or liquor license, but customers are welcome to bring their own beer or wine to enjoy with their meal. Hershey ice cream is also available for dessert.
For more information about Bonfatto’s Italian Market and Corner Café, check out their Facebook page or call 353-3330.
Mention Town&Gown’s Taste of the Month article n June and get $1 Hershey ice cream at Bonfatto’s Italian Market and Corner Café.
Vilma Shu is an editorial consultant for Town&Gown.