Beginning in Portland's Little Italy
For much of the 20th Century, the India Street neighborhood of Portland, Maine was known as the city’s Little Italy. That’s where Bruno’s started, and that’s the atmosphere you can still expect – traditional food with the Italian flavors you love served up in a place where you feel welcome.
Bobby Napolitano opens Bruno’s on India Street as a small bar, serving just beer and steamed hot dogs. Tucked into a corner of Micucci’s, a local Italian grocery, the spot quickly becomes a popular place for people to gather and relax.
Two Portland Firsts
Spurred by its growing popularity, Bruno’s moves out of Micucci’s but stays on India Street. With the expanded location, Bobby is able to open a full kitchen. The steak and cheese sandwich, pizzas, and linguini with clam sauce became instant classics.
This expansion also marks two firsts for Portland’s culinary scene – Bruno’s is the first kitchen in Portland to serve calzones and the first bar in the city to open a patio.
Bruno’s underwent an ownership change, but stayed in the family – Bobby’s brother operated the restaurant until 1990 while Bobby took over ownership of Erik’s a few blocks over on Market Street.
Back to "Bruno's"
The Bruno’s name was resurrected in 1999 when the restaurant moved to its current Allen Avenue location. With this move, the restaurant’s menu, seating, building size, and staff were greatly increased. The Bruno’s name came to be recognized once again as a favorite for Italian food in Portland. Over the next decade, old friends and newcomers to the city joined the Napolitano family at the restaurant for lunches, dinners, or beers with friends.
Bruno's Across Generations
With the continued popularity of the restaurant, 2010 brought yet another expansion – both in staff and in size. Bobby’s son Danny joined the team as a manager, setting up Bruno’s as a truly multi-generational Italian restaurant. 2010 is also the year the restaurant’s banquet room opened, providing a place for large gatherings of family and friends. Wedding receptions, office parties, class reunions, baby showers…whatever the occasion, Bruno’s is proud to be a place where Portlanders gather.
Bruno's Pasta Co.
In 2018, Bobby and Danny decided to bring the Bruno’s brand outside of the restaurant with the launch of Bruno’s Pasta Company. Since the launch, the many loyal customers of the restaurant have been thrilled to have the chance to cook their favorite Bruno’s ravioli at home.