"Not quite," says Leone Padula, who's been partners with Gran Forno owner Sal Annino for 18 of its 23 years. The only thing that's changed is that Padula took over both restaurants' operations earlier this month, on March 6.
"It's the same staff, same bakers, same everything," said Gran Forno
Pronto's manager, David Bennari. "You will not see a change in quality at
A fixture among New Times' best bakery nominations, Gran Forno
offers some of the most heavenly breads in the area. Thankfully,
restaurants around town agree and fill baskets and
breakfast plates with bread from the iconic shop.
Not surprisingly, the
focaccia, pastries, and biscotti are excellent,
but the best thing about this authentic, family-owned bakery is the way
it pulls off the unexpected: a terrific Key lime tartlet too delicious to share. A Thanksgiving pie that upstages a turkey.
Sibling Gran Forno Pronto is its sit-down sibling down the street, an old-fashioned-looking Italian shop with wainscoted walls and black-and-white-tiled floors. A busy,
graceful pizzaiolo mans a brick oven. Behind
the counter sits a beautiful crusty loaf several feet long, stacked with
Italian meats, provolone, and arugula. Cakes posed on old-fashioned
dishes align the counter.
When I asked if he's missing Sal yet, Padula says he still comes in for a
couple of hours every day. "He's not gonna last in retirement," said
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Padula. "I'm already making him work."