401 W. High Street Bellefonte, PA 16823
By Serge Bielanko
It used to be that a picnic in Talleyrand Park was a quaint Sunday afternoon thing to do, you know? You'd take a relaxed spring afternoon in Talleyrand with the kids- or maybe the boyfriend or girlfriend...or maybe even the mother-in-law if that's how advanced and Zen you roll these days- and you'd throw together some sandwiches, a bag of chips, some lemonade in a Thermos (do people still use a Thermos....do they even MAKE a Thermos anymore?!?), a bunch of grapes or a chocolate cake or whatever, and head out into the park with some loved ones to claim a patch of grass and enjoy the day out in the sunshine.
Now all of that has changed forever.
I mean, you can still go. Of course you can, silly. You can still have the picnic and feed the trout and climb on the old parked train and all that stuff, but listen up, okay? Because the rules of the game are wildly different these days. See, now that David and Sherri Letterman have unlocked the doors down at the brand new Bonfatto's Italian Market and Corner Cafe at 401 W. High Street, across from the park itself, gone are the days of charming little picnics in the park with crappy supermarket sandwiches and all that, okay?
Because the Lettermans are here to raid your picnic basket one person at a time. No more tired cold cuts down by the gazebo. No more floppy pickles over near the tracks. And please, for the love of all that is delicious and deserving, no more slugging that lukewarm swill you call coffee out there beneath that big beautiful sun hanging out over Bellefonte on what should have been a perfect day until you broke out the bad food and worse Joe. From here on out there is no excuse.
Bonfatto's is back. And they're open. And they're different than whatever it was you knew before. And better too.
Now it's time for the whole darn county to understand what I'm putting out here. The fact is: a revolution of sorts has occurred. You, me, your kids, my mom, your husband, my girlfriend, we are all in this crazy little thing called LIFE together. But unlike before, now we can sit down underneath that big tree over by the playground in Talleyrand and unwrap a freshly made...are you ready?!....a freshly made pancetta panini....still warm from the oven! That's right. I said PANCETTA! Imported! From Italia, from the old country! Not from some arctic meat locker in Hoboken or whatever.
The world is better now. It just is. And it's all because this new Bonfatto's cafe and market has shown up right across the lane from Talleyrand Park. So a celebration must occur and a celebration shall. This weekend, May 3-5, Bonfatto's Italian Market and Corner Cafe will be throwing a Grand Opening party that will basically be a three day event allowing people like me to rejoice in the fact that the days of me wishing I could buy a bottle of absolutely fresh silky imported olive oil (or balsamic vinegar, depending on your poison), put it in a paper bag, and walk directly out into Talleyrand to sip it's glorious contents while I sit on a bench by the wishing fountain are over. I can do that now! And I do!
So come celebrate with the Letterman's and their master staff as they return the Bonfatto's pure Italian spirit and cuisine back to downtown Bellefonte where it all started 100 years ago. All weekend long there will be free samples of all the divine Italian ingredients and foods they're carrying now. State College's own Moody Culture Kombucha will be on hand bewteen 12-2pm each day too, to prove to each and every one of you why a nice glass of Kombucha goes just as well with a bowl of homemade Rigatoni Bolognese as a glass of Chianti Classico.
The peaceful walls of the cafe will be adorned with art for the very first time as the paintings of local artist, April Scimio, are put on full display.
Heck, there's even going to be a chance to meet and greet with a real-life author, as Joe Batista, reads from and signs copies of his book, The Power of Pragmatic Passion on Friday, May 3rd from 5-7pm. So, like, if you have ever wondered if it was possible to change your outlook on life for the better AND sip a cappuccino hand-crafted by true experts in the art of cappuccino-ing, well, I got news for you. It is possible. And it's all part of this Bonfatto's grand opening celebration I'm throwing at you.
Perhaps the dearest and most important reason to swing by the new cafe this weekend though is just to show your support, you know? This has been a long time dream for some folks who are long time Bellefonte fixtures. The Bonfatto's name is as synonymous with Bellefonte as the words 'Victorian Christmas' or 'parking ticket' have been for a century, people. That ought to count for something. We ought to support that kind of showing up day after day, decade after decade, all in the name of feeding the people....of giving them the lasagna they know they deserve at the end of another long hard Centre County day.
Did I mention there's a special Sunday Lasagna Dinner from 11-4 on Sunday?
Plus, owner David Letterman tells me, he's been so happy about everything that, as a thanks to the community, everyone one who pops in this weekend stands a chance at winning some pretty excellent prizes.
"It has such a wonderful feeling with all of the well wishes and welcoming us back to downtown. Everyone has complimented us on the work we have done and just love the concept," he exlplains. "So we're going to have a drawing for $100 in Bellefonte.com merchandise, free coffee for 100 days, and 10 $10 gift cards in celebration of our grand opening and 100 years in business."
You see what I'm getting at here?
This town is changed forever. And there's a little corner of Talleyrand Park that is probably going to have a whiff of some kind of magic South Phillly Sunday morning garlicky red gravy simmering down there from now on.
Bonfatto's Italian Market and Corner Cafe Grand Opening Weekend
Friday-Sunday, May 3-5, 7am-7pm
(Special Ribbon Cutting Grand Opening Ceremony Thurs. May 2nd at 10am)
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