Bay Area/ San Francisco/ Food & Drinks
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Published on February 26, 2024
Former La Ciccia Owners to Open 'Binu Bonu' Wine Bar in San Francisco's West PortalSource: Google Street View

San Francisco's Italian fare aficionados have reason to celebrate, as former La Ciccia owners Lorella Degan and Massimiliano Conti are making a comeback with a new venture, Binu Bonu. Slated for a late April opening at 230 West Portal Ave., Binu Bonu will be a wine bar spotlighting "ethical" Italian wines from predominately small-scale producers committed to sustainable farming. However, unlike their previous establishment, this spot will swerve away from a full-fledged restaurant format to a bar with light fare. The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Binu Bonu will take over the space currently occupied by Que Syrah wine bar, which is set to serve its last glass at the end of March.

After a much-needed break following the sale of La Ciccia in 2022 to real estate broker and regular Cheryl Maloney, Conti and Degan are ready to jump back into the vibrant San Francisco culinary scene. "We’ve done the restaurant already,” Conti explained, “We wanted to do something that wouldn’t involve staying there all day like we did at La Ciccia." Their new setup won't feature a kitchen but will still offer nibbles such as cheese and charcuterie to complement their curated wine selection. The space doesn't have a kitchen. The focus will be delivering an experience that allows patrons to savor their wines with or without food, aiming for a balance that avoids "too austere" labels, Conti mentioned in a San Francisco Chronicle interview.

The rejuvenated spirit of Conti and Degan is palpable as they prepare to fill the void left by La Ciccia's departure with something fresh yet familiar for their following. They both recognized the need for respite which saw Degan finally undergoing postponed foot surgery and the couple spending quality time in Italy with family. Such a retreat seems to have rekindled their drive as they gear up for the new establishment's opening in the promising neighborhood that has recently welcomed Elena's, a new Mexican restaurant, and anticipates the arrival of a high-end doughnut shop, notes Tablehopper.

West Portal appears to be in the midst of a dynamic transformation – a fact not lost on Conti, who harbors aspirations of recreating the warm camaraderie among establishments he fondly remembers from his early days in the city. "We're going to try to have a good relationship with all the restaurants" in the neighborhood, Conti said, reminiscing about times spent at Zarzuela in Russian Hill and Bacchus wine bar. It seems Binu Bonu aims not only to be a purveyor of fine wines and snacks but also a harmonious component of West Portal's expanding tapestry. According to the Tablehopper report, prepare your palates for a spring filled, with ethical wines and “some surprises later” at this much-awaited wine bar.