Settle down at your table in the beautiful, new Bonicelli Kitchen and you will be greeted with a special welcoming piccoli piatti, which is Italian for small plate, and some “Immediate goodwill!” said owner and Chef Laura Bonicelli. And goodwill is the mood.
Cooking for people is nothing new for Chef Bonicelli, who has been doing it for years with her fresh meal delivery business, Bonicelli Fresh Meal Delivery. This past December though, her dream of well, maybe forever, became a reality with the opening of Bonicelli Kitchen in the heart of Minneapolis’ Northeast neighborhood. The patio was open this summer for some lucky patrons, but the inside remodeling was only recently finished.
“Small plates—they slow people down, that’s the philosophy. You can almost watch people start to relax when they feel the pace and style here. I try to visit every table,” said Chef Bonicelli.
A slowed down European experience right in Northeast Minneapolis—much of it made from the best this part of the country has to offer to eat, at least when it’s available.
That’s why the Minneapolis Farmers Market is featuring Chef Bonicelli—who is a committed Minneapolis Farmers Market shopper in her personal chef business, and now her new restaurant. You will see Chef Bonicelli herself at the Market every week (often more than once) during growing season. She is committed to fresh and local. She also hosts a few Market Talks during the summer months, giving us some creative and delicious ideas on making food with what’s in season.
As Chef Bonicelli puts it, “Bonicelli Kitchen proudly sources from local farmers and producers whenever possible. We gratefully use the finest ingredients available and make everything, from our house mayo and dressings to our tortillas, from scratch. Breads, pastries, and desserts are baked daily in our own kitchen.”
“When food is grown right, and it’s fresh, it tastes better. People will find you,” Bonicelli said. So if you are a Farmers Market shopper, you are going to love Bonicelli Kitchen.
And Bonicelli Kitchen isn’t only for dinner—go ahead and start your day at the restaurant with coffee, espresso and cappuccino, breakfast sandwiches, fresh made scones, brioche and croissants and a menu that is evolving and expanding all the time.
“The menu will evolve with the seasons and that is exciting to me,” said Chef Bonicelli who loves to learn and explore new flavors and cooking techniques. A few ideas she has are delicious breakfast sandwiches and tortas—using grilled bread, pates (she is famous for some of her vegetable pates using the whole vegetable and wasting nearly nothing). Also smoked foods along with gelato are some of the items on her future dream list.
“The market is my inspiration—walking around and seeing and smelling what’s fresh—that connection to place.”
Here are a few signature highlights on the Bonicelli Kitchen menu right now: seasonal small plates like Balsamic Braised Beef with Horseradish mashed potatoes from framers market red potatoes, or Torta Rustica with Bonicelli Tomato Sauce, Farinata and Roasted Veggies, and then there are small or large plates of house-made pasta—Bolognese or Lemon and Basil (which is one of the best things you will ever taste).
And if the food alone doesn’t get you, the lovely wine list specially paired for the food will.
And then there are the little touches, the warm hospitality, like that first piccoli piatti, the surprises that are uniquely Laura Bonicelli, maybe being handed a little fresh pop after dinner, tiny, bright and fresh flavored to cleanse your palate and make you feel loved, like maybe your mother had a hand in your dinner.
So slow down, savor the flavors and love the care and intention that went into your plate, with Chef Bonicelli. And keep an eye open this spring for when she will be our special chef at the Minneapolis Farmers Market Saturday morning Market Talk.
And certainly, take time this restful January, to visit Bonicelli Kitchen at 1839 Central Avenue, NE and visit their website for daily specials at bonicellikitchen.com. and subscribe to the email list to stay up on what’s evolving every day.