Bono Bounces Back
Posted by cmh gourmand on January 13, 2010
The summer of 2008 was THE season for Bono Pizza in the Short North. The unconventional ways of pizza purist Bill Yerkes meshed a traditional approach to pizza (well kind of) with many non traditional elements such as a unique partnership with a Short North Bakery in a location along an alley. The enterprise should not have worked. It did. In fact it prospered. It was the darling of Short North and Victorian Village residents and an unofficial meeting point for Columbus Underground ilk. However, like any burning sun, it was bound to extinguish and it did in the fall of 2008. (To learn more about this era see my December 2008 post and Foodcast episode 18 from August 2008.)
There were attempts at rebirth. Bill came full circle with a location near his home at a site vacated by Cowtown Pizza. Showing his very unconventional side and some significant out of the box thinking, Bill utilized Columbus Underground as a means to raise some fast cash to get his operation going. (See below and below that)
Always the non-traditionalist, Bill has put together a proposal for his loyal customers to help raise the extra cash quickly. He calls it the “bonoPIZZA Pay it Forward Plan. Effective immediately, bonoPIZZA will begin selling half-price gift certificates in $100 and $200 increments. The $100 gift certificate will cost $50, and the $200 gift certificate will cost $100, making it a great deal for anyone planning on dining at bono in the future. The goal is to sell approximately 75 of these certificates to cover the cost of raising the additional $5,000.
The equitable effort was successful but the site fell through. As a result, most of 2009 was a year without a Bono clause so the natives started to get a little restless. I was one of the people that invested (or donated depending on your perspective) money depending on how you look at it. The outcome was a new location even closer to Bill’s abode. Bill has the best commute to work in the local restaurant trade. Bono bounced back so I now have $200 worth of pizza in the form of twenty buy one get one free pizzas.
The new Bono Pizza is located in a carryout on Northwest Blvd in Grandview. It features a wood fired oven and the always entertaining personality and styling of Bill Yerkes. His wife Peggy is there most evenings to take orders and take care of her customers. I was technically the first paying customer and somewhere in the establishment there is a signed first dollar bill from me. Bono is still experimenting with hours (we could see an lunch option in 2010), the menu – a constant blank slate for Bill and other dishes (maybe a salad, maybe a pepperoni roll) and who knows what else. Bono also offers crepes for $3, espresso for $1 and more often than not creme brulee in shot style glasses. Beverages can be obtained in the adjoining carry out.
The new site is not without challenges. There have been issues with the roof and the space itself calls for some creativity for business hours after the carry out closes. The walkability and charm of the old site are not the same but the “hidden clubhouse” feeling continues on in this incantation of Bono.
The new Bono features eighteen specialty pizzas as well as a build your own option. All pizzas are $10 each. Bill perfected his pizza craft for twenty five years in Italy. His crusts and ratios are in the Italian style with all flavors balancing each other. His non traditional half or in his case 3/4 self, exhibits itself in the toppings and names (Hulk, Waikiki, The Greek Boy….) Here are a few examples of the pizzas:
Fresh tomato sauce, pepperoni, (real – really good too) Italian Sausage and fresh Mozzarella cheese.
This pizza is named in honor of Roland Kopecky, the best Bono customer of 2008 and future Pierogi King of Columbus.
Smithfield peppered ham/bacon, carmelized for three plus hours with onions then lathered on a layer of Asiago and real mozzarella cheese with a sprinkling of Parmesan and “pixie dust” (that came right off the menu not my keyboard, but at Bono….it could happen).
This pizza was created and inspired in part by the Grumpy Gourmet who has made an appearance or two at this establishment.
Bono ToGo Pizza
1717 Northwest Blvd
as the menu says: “of course it’s in the back of a liquor store, it’s bonopizza!”
Open: Monday to Saturday 5 PM to 10 PM