Gran Forno and Gran Forno Pronto Swap Management
"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 all."
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 Padula. "I'm already making him work."
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