by Max Brantley
Bruno's Little Italy, one of Little Rock's oldest restaurants, closed after Saturday night dinnner, but owner Scott Wallace said a sale is in the works that should lead to remodeling and reopening.
"Business has been tough the last couple of years," Wallace said. "After 25 years, I was just worn down." But he said he'd struck a deal with former Bruno employees that he hoped would be completed this week. Wallace said they planned some remodeling, would have fresh capital and would reopen the business with the familiar men of pizza and pasta as before. He declined to identify the buyers for now.
The restaurant, at 315 Bowman Road, dates to a cafe Jimmy Bruno opened in Levy in 1947 and then relocated to Roosevelt Road in 1949, where Bruno's Little Italy began. Jimmy Bruno's sons followed him into the kitchen and continued the family traditions. Bruno's moved west in 1978 and to its present location in 1988 with Wallace, now the owner, as a backer.
Wallace is now vice president for sales for a roofing company. He said restaurant business was still good, though it suffered a downturn in 2010. He said he expected the new buyers to aim for a reopening in November, traditionally the beginning of a busy time in the restaurant business.