Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Presidential Pies: Bono Pizza

Entrance to Bono's Presidential Palace
I've been a huge fan of pizza since I was a kid, with my tastes evolving greatly since my childhood days, when I thought Celeste combination frozen pizzas were the best thing around.

Sadly, though, pizza has been somewhat lacking in my overall Columbus food experiences. I've learned enough to know that Columbus has its own style of pie, marked by a square shape and a thin crust, and that most styles can be found here in the metro if you look hard enough. But both I and Mrs. 614orty-Niner agree that we need to shore up our pizza exploration.

One reason for this may be our love of Bono Pizza. Their thin-crusted (our preference) pizzas with creative combos, matched with their famous "Menage a Trois" offer (any three pizzas for $25, with regular pricing at $10 per pizza) provided us great-tasting pie that would last into the next day, if our appetites weren't too ravenous. All we had to remember was to give plenty of time for our order and bring the cash and we'd be set.

When the circumstances behind Bono's relocation from their longtime Northwest Blvd haunts were announced early February, we were worried about their long-term prospects. We put in a last week before the move order to be sure we had their pizza at least one more time. I admit my talk with the owner while waiting for our pies to finish didn't ease my concerns: their new location seemed like an odd spot to have a restaurant, and the simple fact that this area had been having a tough winter in general added to my worry.

The Menage a Trois is alive and well
Forward a few months later, and yes, Bono Pizza is still alive and running. My spouse and I had had a full day sandwiched around Columbus' big Comfest celebration, and we weren't inclined to cook. As we biked back to our place, we thought of dinner options and Bono entered the thought process. Perfect! We could finish our bike home, and by the time we were showered up, the pizzas would be done, just like old times. We gave them a phone call about 15 minutes out from our house to put in our order.

Pizzas would be ready in five minutes...uh, what? We knew Bono had changed location, but this quick bake-up time was another huge change. Not expecting this revelation, I never did quite articulate the fact that we really didn't need the pizzas until 30-40 minutes later.

The most noticeable change with Bono, of course, was their new location. Presidential Drive, which is just off North Star Road between Northwest Blvd and Kinnear Road, is flanked by a sea of apartment buildings. Bono itself is located on an island of commercial spaces that don't look too much different from surrounding apartments. The courtyard which Bono is located in (the driveway leading into it had quite a few Bono-oriented lawn signs) is flanked by the sides of five separate buildings with numerous doorways, and it took me a bit to figure out which door was Bono's.

Gaming space shared by Bono and 14 Twenty Bar & Grill
Another big change is the space itself: compared to their cramped and claustrophobic old space on Northwest Blvd, the interior feels cozy yet palatial by comparison, with enough seating to handle a small group. In addition to the main dining area, Bono shares adjoining space with a local bar (14 Twenty Bar and Grill), allowing one to grab an alcoholic beverage to enjoy with your pie.

The menu and its pricing has slightly changed as well. The famous "Menage a Trois" three for $25 deal is only offered on certain days (typically Monday through Wednesday.) Also, additional "specialty" items I don't remember from the Bono's previous iteration such as salads, cheesy garlic bread and dessert pizza are available to enhance your meal.

With all that change, two important things have not. One is the cash only policy: you can bring those credit or debit cards, but only if you're going to withdraw some moola to pay for your order.

The other thing that hasn't changed is the pizza. This wood-fired delight is just as good as ever, with its crispy thin crust pockmarked by bits of char, and topped by bright tasting, fresh ingredients. We stuck with some old favorites this time around (the Cherry Bomb, the Hulk and San Rolando) and enjoyed them just as much this time as we did on the first order.

The San Rolando and the Hulk - a superhero pairing of pizza pies
It turns out that change has been good for Bono. Yes, Bono is in somewhat of an odd location, but once you've figured out how to get there, it should be as easy as (pizza) pie to regularly drop by to enjoy their pizzas. Their pies are among the best in the Columbus metro area, bar none.

Bono Pizza
1420 Presidential Drive (Grandview/Upper Arlington)
Columbus, OH 43212
(614) 906-8646
Website

Bono Pizza on Urbanspoon

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