Click here to sign up for our email Flag Alerts for sales and half staff notices.

  •   () Cart
    • Your shopping cart is empty.

SHOP ALL PRODUCTS

Up In Your Business Home PageAbout Kerry McCoy

Kerry speaks with Gio and Vince Bruno of Bruno's Little Italy of Little Rock Ar.

Air Date: 6-23-17

  • Hear Geo and Vinny indulge us into the Legacy of Bruno's Little Italy, passed down from generation to generation, and how they become one of the best Italian restaurants in Little Rock.
  • We take a journey into the making of one of Americas favorite eats. From Ellis Island to Chicago and eventually settleing in Arkansas, The Bruno Brothers paint a picture of a lifetime of Neapolitan cuisine.
  • Vinny explains how perseverance and passion can create a lasting impression on a community

This week’s guest is Giovanni (Gio) Bruno, one of the owners of Bruno’s Little Italy – an award winning Italian restaurant in downtown Little Rock. The story of the restaurant can be traced all the way back to the early 1900’s.

Vincenzo Gennaro Nicolo (Vince) Bruno, Giovanni (Gio) Bruno and their brother, James Earnest Bruno (who goes by Jay) are the local scions of the late restaurateur Vincenzo “Jimmy” Bruno. All of the brothers worked in the restaurant at some point in their lives, and they’ve come back together so they can re-create it in a way that their father would immediately recognize... just in a new location on Little Rock’s historic Main Street.

The family business known over the years as Little Italy Cafe, Bruno’s Little Italy or simply Bruno’s—introduced generations of Arkansans’ to Neapolitan cuisine. The Bruno brothers re-opened their family business in 2013 and it has been going strong since then.

Bruno’s is a classic family business with brothers and sons working together to carry out the traditions created by their father and grandfather when they first immigrated to the United States in the early 1900s.

The Bruno family history itself is legendary in Italian American cuisine. Brothers Gennaro and Giovanni Bruno, introduced pizza as a commercial product in the United States by opening one of the first pizzerias in New York City shortly after their arrival on Ellis Island.

Vincent “Jimmy” Bruno, Giovanni’s son was considered an extraordinary chef and baker. Jimmy worked in the kitchen of his father’s restaurant and bakery as a child and later during World War II he joined the military and was stationed in North Little Rock at Camp Robinson, introducing him to Arkansas.

After leaving the Army, Jimmy opened the first pizzeria in Chicago’s famous Loop but it was a turbulent time in Chicago, with organized crime pushing to take over legitimate local businesses. This influenced Jimmy’s decision to move to Arkansas and start the Little Italy Café in Levy in 1947.

In 1949, Jimmy moved his restaurant to West Roosevelt a major thoroughfare at the time in Little Rock and renamed it Bruno’s Little Italy. The restaurant remained at that location for 29 years and won multiple awards for their food over those years.

When Jimmy Bruno first moved to Arkansas, not many in the southern state even knew how to pronounce pizza. He even had the distinction of being the first man to ever show how to make a pizza on television.

In 1978, Bruno’s Little Italy moved to Old Forge Road in west Little Rock where Jimmy’s sons Jay, Gio, Vince and stepson Wayne Gilchrist carried on management and food prep with Jimmy in an advisory role until his death in 1984.

The business continued at that location with wife, Ernestine Bruno at the helm until the real estate crunch of the 80s forced them to close.

In 1988, Bruno’s Little Italy reopened with brothers Jay and Vince backed by Little Rock businessman Scott Wallace at the Bowman Curve location. This location remained in business for more than 20 years. Jay left the business in the early 90s to pursue a career in wine sales, leaving Vince as chef and manager. In 2011, Bruno’s Little Italy once again closed due to the failing economy, even though it was still a thriving business at the time of the closure.

So, in 2013 Vince and his brother Gio, with returning employees from the previous locations, including pasta chef Harold Woodbury who had been trained by their father Jimmy, reopened Bruno’s, this time on the historic Main Street in downtown Little Rock.

In 2016, Bruno’s Deli opened up on Main Street as a lunchtime-only quick eatery. Most of the sandwiches the deli serves are identical to the recipes Jimmy Bruno created when he first started Bruno’s Little Italy back in 1949, making this some of the most historic food still sold in Little Rock.

This year, Bruno’s Deli moved from its separate location of 308 Main Street into the full restaurant space at 310 Main Street to offer more room for customers to eat lunch in the restaurant.

Up In Your Business is a Radio Show by FlagandBanner.com

 

Behind The Scenes

 
 
 
 
 

EPISODE 41

 

[INTRODUCTION]

 

[0:00:03.2] TB: Welcome to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy. Be sure to stay tuned till the end of the show to hear how you can get a copy of this program and other helpful documents.

 

Now, it's time for Kerry McCoy to get all up in your business.

 

[INTERVIEW]

 

[0:00:17.8] KM: I’m Kerry McCoy, and like Tim said, it’s time for me to get all up in your business. For the next hour, my guest, Gio Bruno, and his brother; Vinny Bruno, from Bruno’s Little Italy Restaurant in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas, and I will be getting up in the business of the Bruno family. A fascinating story of restaurant loyalty.

 

We’ll be talking about legendary cuisine and secret family recipes. I’m sure they won’t tell us what they are, but they’ll tell us about them. We’ll have Gio and Vinny share some of their restaurant wisdom.

 

Through our storytelling, you will hear how we maneuvered the path of leadership and entrepreneurship in pursuit of our dreams and we’ll be answering questions and giving advice via phone and email.

 

My business experience began over 40 years ago when I founded Arkansas Flag & Banner. During the last four decades, Arkansas Flag & Banner has grown and morphed from door-to-door sales, to telemarketing, to mail order and catalog sales, and now relies heavily on the internet. Each change in sales strategy required a change in company thinking and procedures. My confidence, leadership, knowledge and my company grew. My initial $400 investment now produces nearly four million in annual sales.

 

Each week on this show you’ll hear candid conversations between me and my guest about real-world experiences on a variety of businesses and topics that I hope you’ll find interesting. Running a business or an organization is like so many things, it takes persistence, perseverance and patience. I worked part-time jobs for nine years before Arkansas Flag & Banner grew enough to support just me.

 

It’s not grown and expanded so much that to operate efficiently we require — Are you ready? A purchasing, manufacturing, graphic, shipping, technology, accounting, marketing, sales, and customer service department. Plus, a retail store. 25 people make their living from working at Arkansas Flag & Banner. I hope you’ll take advantage of this unique opportunity to ask questions or share your experience by calling or emailing and my guest on today’s show.

 

Before we start, I want to introduce the people at the table. We have Tim Bowen, our technician who’ll be taking your calls and pushing the buttons. Say hello, Tim.

 

[0:02:24.8] TB:  Hello, Tim.

 

[0:02:26.0] KM: My guest today is Giovanni Bruno, who goes by Gio; and Vincent Bruno, who goes by Vinny. They are brothers and owners of Bruno’s Little Italy, an award-winning Italian restaurant in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas.

 

The Bruno’s family history is legendary in Italian-American cuisine and harkens back to the early 1900s when Gio and Vinny’s grandfather and great uncle arrived on Ellis Island. The two brothers; Jenero and Giovanni Bruno Sr. were among the first Italian immigrants to introduce pizza as a commercial product to the United States by opening one of the first pizzerias  in New York City.

 

Giovanni’s son; Vincent, who we all remember as Jimmy, grew up working in the family’s restaurant and bakery in New York. He was known for being an extraordinary chef and baker. Jimmy’s first introduction to the south and Arkansas was during World War II when he was stationed at Camp Robinson in North Little Rock. After leaving the army, Jimmy Bruno followed in his father’s footsteps by opening the first pizzeria in Chicago’s famous loop.

 

The pressure of Chicago’s organized crime ring on legitimate local businesses brought about Jimmy’s decision in 1946 to move back to Arkansas and open Bruno’s Little Italy in Levy of North Little Rock right down the street from where he was stationed at Camp Robison.

 

I am happy to say the Bruno family is still introducing generations of Arkansans to their Neapolitan cuisine and by using recipes passed down from generation to generation. They are still creating it in a way their father would be proud.

 

It is an honor to welcome to the table third generation restaurateurs Gio and Vinny Bruno.

 

[0:04:17.8] GB: Thank you so much.

 

[0:04:18.9] VB: Thank you.

 

[0:04:19.6] KM: Wow y’all! I’ve known y’all for a longtime, but I’ve really never known you all.

 

[0:04:26.7] GB: It’s quite a diverse history.

 

[0:04:29.0] KM: You really are restaurant royalty. You could claim your family is responsible for bringing pizza to the United States.

 

[0:04:29.0] GB: True. We just have no proof of it, because rather than start a restaurant, my grandfather had a bakery that served pizza, so it was not — Even though they were the first, they don’t have the clout of first Italian restaurant with pizza type of thing.

 

[0:04:58.0] KM: Right.

 

[0:04:59.2] GB: There’s no way to patent a food item as we all know.

 

[0:05:01.2] KM: No, I didn’t know that.

 

[0:05:02.0] GB: Yeah. You can’t.

 

[0:05:04.1] KM: You’ve tried.

 

[0:05:05.3] GB: No, but I’m saying that especially at that time, there was no way to say we were the first to bring this, and I’m sure there were some families that had it at home

 

[0:05:17.0] KM: To think that New York and Chicago that are both so well-known for pizza is where your grandfather and your father started the first pizzeria is absolutely amazing.

 

[0:05:25.8] VB: That’s right. Yup.

 

[0:05:26.2] GB: Yes.

 

[0:05:27.3] KM: I don’t care whether you can prove it, we know it. You call your cuisine not Italian food. You do, I guess, but you also call it Neapolitan cuisine.

 

[0:05:36.4] GB: Right, because most of our recipes come from Naples where our grandfather came from. Southern Italian is all the red sauces and stuff like that.

 

[0:05:46.5] KM: Oh! It’s kind of got a French —

 

[0:05:50.8] GB: No. It’s the opposite of that. Northern Italian is French, and southern Italian is not French.

 

[0:05:54.9] KM: That’s what Neapolitan is. It’s the better sources.

 

[0:05:56.7] GB: Yeah, that’s the red sauce. Right. Now, we do some of the dishes that are more northern Italian that my dad new and put on the menu, but we are primarily Neapolitan cuisine.

 

[0:06:09.2] KM: I don’t think probably most people know what that means. They think of Neapolitan ice cream probably, wouldn’t they?

 

[0:06:13.4] GB: Right. Neapolitan is just a saying it came from Naples.

 

[0:06:17.2] KM: I see. That’s interesting. I love how your family has passed down and continuous to use the Italian names of your heritage, Giovanni.

 

[0:06:24.2] GB: Yes. I was named after my grandfather.

 

[0:06:27.3] KM: Vincent.

 

[0:06:28.0] VB: My name is actually Vincenzo.

 

[0:06:30.8] KM: I was going to ask. That was your father’s real name.

 

[0:06:33.6] VB: Okay. He was named after three of my father’s uncles. So he’s Vincenzo Gennaro Nicola Bruno.

 

[0:06:42.8] KM: That was your father, I thought.

 

[0:06:44.0] VM: No. Dad was just Vincenzo Bruno. He didn’t have a middle name neither did his grandfather, but when he decided to name Vinny, he gave him all three of the uncles that came over to America.

 

[0:06:57.7] KM: Then your other brother is named James and I guess that’s named after Jimmy, your father.

 

[0:07:01.2] GB: No. My mom got some say in this. Jay is named after her uncle Jimmy and she was named Ernestine. She had an uncle Ernest. He’s named after two uncles on mom’s side.

 

[0:07:16.3] KM: Okay. That just happens to work out that it was also your father’s nickname, Jimmy.

 

[0:07:19.0] GB: Absolutely. The way he got that nickname that was his father, when he would call him Vinny to come in from playing, it sounded like Jimmy to the other kids.

 

[0:07:29.9] KM: That is so interesting.

 

[0:07:31.3] GB: And it stuck.

 

[0:07:32.3] KM: It sure did. Your father moved to Arkansas when people didn’t even know what the word pizza meant.

 

[0:07:38.3] GB: He had to show him how to pronounce it. He would have P-E-T-E – S-A in parenthesis after the word.

 

[0:07:44.6] KM: A lot of the cuisines in your menu may have been hard for them to spell.

 

[0:07:48.1] GB: Oh, very many. Yes.

 

[0:07:49.6] KM: But he didn’t serve as elaborate of a menu as you have, did he?

 

[0:07:53.5] GB: Not at first. Not in Levy. He had a pretty small menu in Levy. He had a pretty small place in Levy. By the way, it’s the empty lot across from US Pizza, across from the Latino store that used to be — I can’t remember the name of the lumber company.

 

[0:08:08.2] KM: Oh, in Levy?

 

[0:08:08.7] GB: Yeah.

 

[0:08:09.3] KM: Venable.

 

[0:08:09.9] GB: Venable. Okay. He was across the street this way from US Pizza  and on Pike, and then right across from Venable Lumber, and there’s just an empty little lot there now. You can see that the four cars that can park in that lot, that it was a really small place. They said that the pizza oven took up more space than the tables because there was just not a lot of room in there.

 

[0:08:31.6] KM: I bet pizza is not even your main build anymore, is it?

 

[0:08:33.7] GB: Oh, heavens! No. No. No. No. Lasagna sells more than anything. Our lasagna is so unique. It’s just not like other people’s lasagnas, and so we sell more of it than any other entre. 

 

[0:08:45.2] KM: You know what else I think is I read about your dad, and then this next segment we’re going to talk more about your restaurant and your menu. To stay on your dad’s subject, he was the first person to ever make a pizza on TV.

 

[0:08:54.3] GB: Yes.

 

[0:08:55.0] KM: Vinny, you can’t nod your head. You got to talk.

 

[0:08:57.8] VB: I got to talk.

 

[0:08:59.1] KM: He’s nodding.

 

[0:09:01.3] VB: I’m kind of letting Gio do the talking.

 

[0:09:03.2] KM: It’s that the way it’s always been?

 

[0:09:04.8] VB: Yeah.

 

[0:09:05.5] GB: Maybe a little bit.  Maybe on radio, anyway. He would be just fine if I wasn’t here. I just stick my nose in quick.

 

[0:09:12.9] KM: Your dad made pizza on TV for the first person who ever make pizza on TV. Do you remember — Were you alive then?

 

[0:09:16.8] GB: Tossed pizza and everything.

 

[0:09:18.6] KM: Yes. Were you allowed then.

 

[0:09:20.3] GB: No. I was born in ’55. That would probably be around ’51, I’m saying. Around that time; ’51, ’52.

 

[0:09:28.0] KM: Do you know what station? Was it national? Was it local?

 

[0:09:29.6] GB: It was local.

 

[0:09:30.5] KM: It was local, right?

 

[0:09:31.3] GB: Yeah. It would be one of the four 7/11 daytime show-type things.

 

[0:09:38.3] KM: This is a great place to take a break. When we come back we’re going to have Gio and Vinny share some Bruno family stories, because I’m sure they’ve got a lot. We’re going to talk about the pros and cons of owning a family business. I’m sure there are some there, and hear about his restaurant’s famous menu and customers. If we have time, Gio’s going to talk about his love of music because he does love it. You’re listening to Up In Your Business with Kerry McCoy.

 

My guest is Giovanni Bruno and — How do you say your name, Vincent?

 

[0:10:05.8] VB: Vincentio.

 

[0:10:07.7] KM: And Vincentio Bruno from Bruno’s Little Italy Restaurant in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas.

 

You’re listening to Up In Your Business with Kerry McCoy. I’m speaking today with Giovanni and Vincentio Bruno, owners of Bruno’s Little Italy; a third generation restaurant in Little Rock, Arkansas. Y’all don’t know this, but my very first date was to Bruno’s on Roosevelt.

 

[0:10:44.9] GB: That’s awesome.

 

[0:10:47.0] KM: You hear that probably from people all the time.

 

[0:10:48.3] GB: All the time.

 

[0:10:49.7] KM: That’s  great feel good. Your father has left a legacy that is probably kind of hard to live up to. Do you feel that sometimes or you’re just so proud you can’t stand it? 

 

[0:11:03.4] GB: The latter. Very proud.

 

[0:11:06.3] KM: I remember your father — I’m sorry. Go ahead.

 

[0:11:08.4] VB: I was going to say, we’re a lot like him. Especially when talking to customers and stuff. I kind of feel like I got my people skills from him. 

 

[0:11:18.2] KM: I remember your father throwing pizzas in the restaurant.

 

[0:11:22.4] GB: Oh,yeah.

 

[0:11:23.2] KM: Do you all still do that?

 

[0:11:24.3] GB: Yes. I teach all our people —

 

[0:11:25.0] KM: No, you do not.

 

[0:11:26.0] GB: I started when I was 9 years old tossing pizzas and I still teach all of our pizza people to make the pizzas and toss them. We still have the pizza window.

 

[0:11:37.0] KM: You do?

 

[0:11:37.8] GB: Yes.

 

[0:11:39.0] KM: I don’t remember seeing it down there.

 

[0:11:40.4] GB: It’s tall and thin next to the booths. Rather than being wide like it was in the other locations, it’s tall and thin. Yeah, there’s room for about five kids to stand in there and watch pizza be tossed.

 

[0:11:51.9] KM:  I’m surprised pizza is not one of your more favorite subjects for the novelty of having a thrown pizza, because — What, Vinny?

 

[0:11:59.9] VB: Due to size issues.

 

[0:12:01.3] KM: What do you mean?

 

[0:12:01.2] VB: Space issues. The pizza window is much smaller than what dad has.

 

[0:12:05.1] KM: Still, it’s a hand-thrown pizza.

 

[0:12:06.7] VB: It is. Yeah.

 

[0:12:08.3] KM: You go to any place else and you’re getting a triple gluten pizza that comes out of a box that any college kid can make.

 

[0:12:14.6] GB: True.

 

[0:12:15.9] KM: Which is probably why everybody had gluten issues today.

 

[0:12:17.8] GB: We have a lot of people that love our pizza. We sell a lot of pizza. It’s just that we don’t push it above anything else because it’s just as important that they like all the other dishes too, some of which, Vinny, invented. We have dishes that are his babies that came after dad’s menu that was established.

 

[0:12:37.4] KM: What are they, Vinny? The scallions?

 

[0:12:40.6] VB: The dishes that I put on the menu would be when we moved to Bowman. We were there for 25 years. I put spaghetti-carbonara, shrimp zucchini pomodoro, and seafood fettuccini. I put those dishes on the menu.

 

[0:12:55.3] KM: Yeah, that seafood is a northern — Getting out of your Mediterranean.

 

[0:12:58.2] VB: Which is kind of where I was going with that.

 

[0:13:01.6] GB: I was especially saying the chicken Vincentio which is his recipe is our only pink type sauce that is a tarragon cream and tomato sauce over fettuccini with grilled chicken and it’s wonderful.

 

[0:13:18.2] KM: Do you have a vodka pasta?

 

[0:13:19.8] GB: No.

 

[0:13:20.3] KM: When you go to New York you always get a vodka pasta.

 

[0:13:23.6] GB: Right. That’s very northern and that’s one of the things that we just never had our own recipe for.

 

[0:13:28.4] VB: I have done specials at the Bowman location back when doing a vodka sauce.

 

[0:13:33.9] GB: That’s true. You have done a vodka sauce as a special.

 

[0:13:35.6] KM: What do you remember the most about your father in the restaurant, since you both grew up there.

 

[0:13:41.0] GB: Bigger than life. He was a bigger than life man. Everybody in the room knew he was in the room. He was extremely charming.

 

[0:13:49.1] VB: He had that thing about him in my opinion. He had that thing about him that almost like a star has.

 

[0:13:54.7] GB: Star quality.

 

[0:13:55.3] VB: He has star quality.

 

[0:13:56.8] KM: Was he a large person?

 

[0:13:58.1] VB: Yes.

 

[0:13:59.0] KM: Was he six feet?

 

[0:14:00.1] VB: Yes.

 

[0:14:00.1] KM: Over six feet?

 

[0:14:02.0] GB: About six feet. About my height.

 

[0:14:03.0] VB:  He was my size.

 

[0:14:04.6] KM: I remember he was — I was young, so he seemed big to me with dark hair. That’s about all I really remember. 

 

[0:14:10.9] GB: Actually, he fluctuated between my weight and Vinny’s.

 

[0:14:16.5] VB: We all do really —

 

[0:14:17.6] GB: He’d be up and down with diets and that kind of thing.

 

[0:14:20.2] KM: I don’t trust skinny chefs.

 

[0:14:22.7] GB: I don’t blame you. I agree. I like that —

 

[0:14:25.0] KM: There’s that Italian chef on TV, that girl, NBC. Do you know who I’m talking about? She’s the Italian —

 

[0:14:31.1] TB: She does all the wedding stuff, right? Like, “Here’s your wedding mean,” blah-blah-blah.

 

[0:14:35.9] KM: She’s a skinny Italian chef.

 

[0:14:37.6] GB: I believe I know who you’re talking about. I can’t think of her name.

 

[0:14:41.1] KM: Sure, she’s fine, but I’m like, “You don’t eat enough for me to trust you as a chef.” 

 

[0:14:46.8] GB: You’re talking about Giada, are you?

 

[0:14:48.5] KM: Am I?

 

[0:14:50.2] GB: Giada De Laurentiis?

 

[0:14:50.4] KM: Yes, I think so.

 

[0:14:52.0] GB: Okay. Yeah. Absolutely. Yes. Chefs have broken nails too.

 

[0:14:58.0] KM: Burn marks. It’s one reason I love to cook, but I don’t like what it does to your hands, because you’re burned all the time.

 

[0:15:07.5 ] GB: Thank God for silicone. All the pads and everything in the kitchen anymore have silicone that keeps you from burning yourself. It’s a lot better now.

 

[0:15:16.1] KM: doesn’t it change the way things bake though?

 

[0:15:18.3] GB: You just use to take it out of the oven and put it in the oven.

 

[0:15:23.1] KM: Oh, I see. It’s not the pan.

 

[0:15:25.3] GB: I don’t use silicone pans, but we use silicone stuff. Gloves are sprayed with it now.

 

[0:15:31.8] KM: Do you remember anything about your grandfather?

 

[0:15:33.9] GB: He was dead before we were around. He around in 1950 or ’51. I think ’50.

 

[0:15:38.0] KM: I bet he couldn’t speak English.

 

[0:15:40.2] GB: He could speak a little English by the time he died. You’ve got to remember that the patriotic Italians that turned their back on their country in Mussolini, especially from ’38 on — 1938, when the Nazis and the World War II was beginning before America joined. It was very very popular to abandon the old languages. I can tell you that my grandfather started writing John Bruno instead of Giovanni Bruno as his signature, because that was their way of saying, “We’re Americans now. We are not Italians anymore,” because they turned their back on the fascist regime.

 

[0:16:21.8] KM: Interesting. When he came over here, he wanted to be done with the language, probably. Did your fat her end up speaking Italian?

 

[0:16:29.0] GB: Oh, yeah. When my dad was young growing up, it was before World War II. Obviously, all they spoke was Italian. He knew Italian before he knew English. What he knew was a Neapolitan dialect which hardly anybody speaks anymore, and my grandfather was a Neapolitan poet rather revered. The dialect that he wrote in hardly anybody can read. I’ve got things — I’ve had people that speak Italian try to translate, that it’s kind of like so different than standard Italian.

 

[0:17:01.3] KM: I bet those are worth something. Not that you would ever sell them, but I be they’re fairly rare collections.

 

[0:17:07.8] GB: Absolutely. We have one song that he wrote the lyrics to that plays on the music loop at Bruno’s, Povera Mama, Poor Mom, about her family, the menfolk in the family going off to war and not coming back.

 

[0:17:22.7] KM: It happened a lot.

 

[0:17:23.4] GB: Yes.

 

[0:17:23.6] KM: Do you all speak Italian.

 

[0:17:24.8] GB: No. That’s part of the same thing, is that they didn’t teach the kid —

 

[0:17:28.8] KM: They didn’t wanted you to know it.

 

[0:17:29.8] GB: No. They didn’t teach the kids Italian. English is our language now. All we know is the cuss words dad would throw at us.

 

[0:17:37.5] KM: That’s really all you need to know.

 

[0:17:39.6] GB: I’m going to let Vinny answer something. I’m answering too much.

 

[0:17:41.4] VB: I just want to say, didn’t Caruso really liked granddad’s poetry?

 

[0:17:46.8] GB: Absolutely. Yeah.

 

[0:17:49.1] KM: Who’s Caruso?

 

[0:17:50.3] GB: Enrico Caruso was the — Some people say, the best operatic tenor that ever lived, and he came to America after having known my grandfather. They actually stole bread together to feed their families before they came to Ellis Island. Enrico Caruso made a career becoming a fabulous opera singer.

 

[0:18:08.7] KM: Famous Italian singer.

 

[0:18:09.2] GB: We have photos of him sitting in the bakery restaurant of my grandfather. When Caruso died, the Italian newspapers printed my grandfather’s poetic tribute to him in their papers and we have clippings of that next to those pictures.

 

[0:18:26.1] KM: Ain’t that odd? Neapolitan language?

 

[0:18:28.5] GB: Yes. I’ll give you a really easy example. On our menu, it doesn’t say mozzarella, it says mozzarella, with a U. That’s Neapolitan dialect. A lot of the Os turned to Us. Our grandmother’s name was Columba, but in different places it spelled different. If she was writing it, it was Neapolitan dialect and had a UMBA, but strict Italian was OMBA. It’s just that switch of that one vowel sound.

 

[0:18:55.4] KM: Interesting. You have three brothers.

 

[0:18:57.9] GB: We’ve had oldest brother, John, in Connecticut, has passed. Our older brother here, Ron, has passed, and our half-brother on our mom’s side, Wayne, has passed.

 

[0:19:09.6] KM: Oh, really?

 

[0:19:10.2] GB: Then there’s Jay, Vince, and me, and I guess after Wayne is Anna who lives in Sikeston, Missouri. We have a sister whose husband is deceased as of last year who lives in Sikeston, Missouri. Ron and Anna were our half-sister by, essentially, let’s just say dad’s second wife. It was common law.

 

[0:19:33.1] KM: Wow! Interesting. This is a great place to take a break. I’m going to have Gio run out to his car and bring in some of his music so we can hear some of this music. You are listening to Up In Your Business with Kerry McCoy. When we come back, like I said, we’re going to hear some of Gio’s music.

 

While we were on the break, Vinny said when I think of — I asked earlier at the first break, when you think of your dad, what do you think of? We talked about his star quality. Vinny said when he thinks of his dad — Tell us Vinny what you said.

 

[0:20:21.1] VB: I think of his voice singing at the restaurant when I was a kid, because he had a great voice. Unbelievable voice actually. He used to stand me on the table, and I don’t remember this because I was too young to remember. He used to stand me on the table and have me sing to the restaurant. My mom told me I would do, apparently, a full rendition of That’s Life when I was five, but I have no memory of that, but my mom used to tell me about it all the time.

 

[0:20:46.3] KM: Your father was a true — It was the epitome of an Italian stallion, wasn’t he?

 

[0:20:50.3] VB:

 

[0:20:50.6] KM: He could sing. He could cook. He was a lady’s man. He was tough, it sounds like.

 

[0:20:58.4] GB: Very much.

 

[0:20:59.2] KM: He was just the epitome of what you’d think of when you think of —

 

[0:21:03.6] GB: He had it all.

 

[0:21:03.4] KM: Yeah, he really did.

 

[0:21:04.9] GB: We have element. He had it all.

 

[0:21:06.8] KM: Isn’t that nice? Gio. You closed Bruno. You’ve had a lot of different locations. Let’s kind of tell the listeners that your dad started in Levy in 1947 —

 

[0:21:16.5] GB: With the Little Italy Café. Correct.

 

[0:21:18.6] KM: Yes, and you’ve had lots of names.  Yeah, the Little Italy Café.

 

[0:21:22.0] GB: In Roosevelt Road.

 

[0:21:24.2] KM: In 49, and he was there 29 years.

 

[0:21:26.2] GB: Till ’78. Yeah.

 

[0:21:28.3] KM: That was his longest running place.

 

[0:21:30.0] GB: Absolutely.

 

[0:21:29.9] KM: That’s where I met your father the first time.

 

[0:21:32.6] GB: Right. Yes.

 

[0:21:33.5] KM: It was called — What was it called there?

 

[0:21:34.7] GB: Bruno’s Little Italy.

 

[0:21:35.4] KM: Bruno’s Little Italy.

 

[0:21:37.0] GB: It stayed Bruno’s Little Italy after the first incarnation.

 

[0:21:39.7] KM: Then, he and I both moved to Old Ford Road. I was living at Sturbridge Apartments across the street and —

 

[0:21:45.0] GB: There you go. I lived there as well. That was ’78 to ’87.

 

[0:21:49.6] KM: Yes. He died in ’84.

 

[0:21:52.0] GB: He died in ’84.

 

[0:21:54.1] KM: And you closed it in ’87.

 

[0:21:55.0] GB: Right. This was right in the middle of the real estate crunch. We had a bad building there. It had been a sawmill restaurant —

 

[0:22:01.6] VB: It was on too much anchorage.

 

[0:22:03.8] GB: It was on too much anchorage. It had an air-conditioning system that was not what was in the original plans, because we had the original plans and they went cheap on it so that they were ducks through the dining rooms. All of that contributed to us losing a compressor about once every summer which takes the cream right out of the coffee. My mom was still devastated by my dad’s passing and was having a hard time being the matriarch of the business, and we closed it down.

 

[0:22:32.9] KM: Yeah, I bet that was hard.

 

[0:22:34.0] GB: Very. Very, very hard.

 

[0:22:35.8] KM: How did you come to that decision? That’s a decision — You didn’t decide to sell it. You just decided to close it.

 

[0:22:40.4] GB: Mom’s gone now and so I can’t ask her, because I was there but it was her that had to make the decisions, and she saw the debt and the bills coming in and out and whether we could continue there. It just was not —

 

[0:22:55.4] VB: It was a financial decision.

 

[0:22:56.0] KM: Were all of you still working there at the time?

 

[0:23:00.5] GB: Let’s see. That would be Jay, Vince and I were all there at the time. I don’t know if Wayne had already moved on.

 

[0:23:06.1] VB: Wayne had already moved on.  Meaning he moved on from the restaurant to another job. Not moved on.

 

[0:23:09.9] GB: Yeah, I think he started selling cars then.

 

[0:23:12.3] KM: People don’t realize this, because people say to me sometimes, “Why don’t you sell Arkansas Flag & Banner and do something?” People don’t realize that small businesses, they’re not very liquid. They’re not worth very much.

 

[0:23:21.2] GB: No.

 

[0:23:22.6] KM: They’re just not. You know, you sell it and usually you have to finance it yourself because the bank usually won’t, and then they default on it. It’s better to kind of keep — It was your family’s name, so you kind of stayed true to yourself by keeping it. 

 

[0:23:36.9] VB: One thing in retrospect, all that was supposed to happen.

 

[0:23:40.0] KM: All of what?

 

[0:23:41.4] VB: Everything that happened was supposed to happen. [inaudible 0:23:42.8] closing, and everything passed that was supposed to happen.

 

[0:23:45.7] KM: You mean spiritually?

 

[0:23:47.0] VB: But I didn’t know that until three years ago.

 

[0:23:49.5] KM: I see what you mean. I agree with that.

 

[0:23:52.4] VB: I think that in retrospect, fate has been good to us —

 

[0:23:56.5] GB: As far as where we’ve landed. It took me being out of the restaurant business for the years in between when Vince was running Bowman to bring back the fervor or that I have for it now. I was disenchanted with the restaurant business when we went out of business in ’87.

 

[0:24:11.7] KM: You’re burned out.

 

[0:24:12.1] GB: I was burned out, and it took that period of time for me to come back to it with fresh eyes and all that.

 

[0:24:19.1] KM: Then after old forge, it closed. It looks like you moved to Bowman Curve.

 

[0:24:23.4] GB: That’s correct. 

 

[0:24:24.6] KM: Was it 10 years before you moved to Bowman?

 

[0:24:25.7] GB: No. That was one. 

 

[0:24:28.2] KM: In one year you reopened.

 

[0:24:29.2] GB: About a year and a half.

 

[0:24:30.4] KM: Was it hard to find financing?

 

[0:24:32.2] GB: No. There was a guy in town who wanted very much to have our restaurant back who was friends with Jay and Vince and he got together with them. I had already gotten into advertising, so I wasn’t interested. Like I said, at that point, I was disenchanted with the restaurant business.

 

[0:24:46.4] VB: He found his niche somewhere else, and that’s what he wanted to do at the time.

 

[0:24:49.4] GB: At the time. Vince and Jay went in with this guy as the money man.

 

[0:24:54.5] VB: Great customer came in twice a week. Jay and I would go to his table, and Jay knew his family and people in his family from the past. We got together and opened Bowman. It was there for, I think, 25 years.

 

[0:25:06.8] KM: Really?

 

[0:25:07.2] VB: Jay only stayed for about 7 years —

 

[0:25:11.7] GB: Then he got in the wine business.

 

[0:25:13.3] VB: He went into the wine business because that’s his passion. He loves wines.  He knows a lot about it. He went into the wine business.

 

[0:25:20.7] GB: Jay sells cellar wine at Bruno’s now, which is why he can’t be —

 

[0:25:23.2] VB: That was also supposed to happen, because what that did was that took me from not just knowing the food part of it into knowing everything else because I had to learn it.

 

[0:25:33.1] KM: What is a wine connoisseur called? We learned this in the show a couple of days — Starts with a — Come on! We learned this.

 

[0:25:39.5] VB: Are you talking about a sommelier?

 

[0:25:41.0] KM: There it is. Sommelier. He’s a sommelier?

 

[0:25:44.0] VB: He isn’t technically that — 

 

[0:25:46.7] GB: He’s actually trained those.

 

[0:25:48.7] VB: He knows everything about wine. 

 

[0:25:51.2] GB: I’ve never met anybody that knows more about wine than my brother.

 

[0:25:52.9] KM: That fits really good with his Episcopalian priesthood that he’s just —

 

[0:25:56.8] VB: Absolutely. [inaudible 0:25:58.1] began the whole wine thing. I told him, as long as he keeps selling me my wine, he can be a priest. He can be a nun. I don’t care. 

 

[0:26:04.6] KM: Yeah. The listeners probably don’t know that he just recently became a priest.

 

[0:26:07.5] GB: Yes, episcopal priest.

 

[0:26:08.6] VB: Sure did.

 

[0:26:09.1] KM: You have to be very proud.

 

[0:26:10.6] VB: Very. Very much. 

 

[0:26:11.9] KM: Then, what made you decided to close Bruno’s on Bowman Curve?

 

[0:26:18.2] VB: Put very simply, my partner has financial issues. That area which was a hotspot when we moved there kind of started going down a little bit and some of the other restaurants that were surrounding us also felt that crunch, and so we closed in October 2011.

 

[0:26:36.6] GB: October 2011 and I was kind of searching for or possibly thinking about the idea of searching for some investors to reopen somewhere in west Little Rock. In that process, Gio called me and said that he wanted to do it with me, so that’s exactly what I wanted and so it happened exactly as I had prayed it would happen, and it did. When he wanted back in, then it was going to come back to the family, because we had to just start over. We just had to start over, and we did and downtown ended up being an excellent spot and it all worked out.

 

[0:27:14.9] KM: When you decided to close it, was it financial purposes again?

 

[0:27:17.7] VB: Mixed with all those other things I told you.

 

[0:27:20.3] KM: It’s really just you now, because Jay has gone into the wine business. Gio is not interested anymore. You’re like, “Okay, I’m out.”

 

[0:27:28.7] VB: I wanted to make sure that those years, after Jay left, which would be — I’m going to think about it for a minute. No, it wasn’t ’94. It was ’95. From ’95 — Usually, I have that number right there. It’s weird, it wasn’t there. ’95 to 2011. I wanted to make sure that I did the best I could to keep everything right, because that’s my name, to keep all the food right, everything. I’ve spent a lot of time making sure that that happened.

 

[0:27:56.1] KM: When you opened your new one on south and Main.

 

[0:27:57.5] VB: No. I’m talking about when I was there after Jay left.

 

[0:27:59.7] KM: Oh, after Jay left.

 

[0:28:00.7] VB: At Bowman. Up until it closed.

 

[0:28:02.0] KM: You were there all the time.

 

[0:28:03.2] VB: I was there all the time.

 

[0:28:04.2] KM: All the time.

 

[0:28:04.5] VB: Then we opened up at Main Street, now we kind of have a situation where I’m early morning prep and, now, lunch, and he’s night guy.

 

[0:28:13.3] KM: You got a fourth generation coming in.

 

[0:28:15.5] VB: Absolutely. Yes.

 

[0:28:16.7] KM: Because I think had one of your — Somebody’s son wait on me one day.

 

[0:28:20.9] GB: His son is a waiter. My youngest son is a water. He was one of those two people. Yeah. It’s funny, even last night when my son wasn’t working and walking to the dining room, several people went, “Your son’s waiting on us.” I went, “Nephew. Son works tomorrow night.” I get them confused.

 

[0:28:37.4] KM: This son that waited on me, I think was blond.

 

[0:28:40.0] GB: That’s his son, Gianni.

 

[0:28:40.3] KM: How did that happen?

 

[0:28:41.3] VB: Did he have a beard?

 

[0:28:42.8] KM: I think he did. How does that happen?

 

[0:28:45.0] VB: That happens because his mom had blond hair when she was young. Actually, if you look at early pictures of me, my hair isn’t near as dark as it is —

 

[0:28:54.2] KM: It is cold black now.

 

[0:28:55.8] VB: It’s funny. Gio shaved his head a few years ago and I always kind of follow his lead on that, so I shaved mine, and when my hair grew back, it was black. 

 

[0:29:06.0] KM: I think I’m going to shave my head. 

 

[0:29:09.8] VB: And it has stayed black, but I’m waiting on the color change.

 

[0:29:13.6] KM: No. No. You’re like your daddy. You’re like your daddy.

 

[0:29:16.1] VB: Possibly.

 

[0:29:16.8] KM: Possibly. When I used to eat at Old Forge, I loved the toasted raviolis.

 

[0:29:21.9] GB: Yes.

 

[0:29:23.4] KM: When I’ve eaten at the Main Street, it’s the scallops, cream scallops.

 

[0:29:30.3] GB: On, cream scallops. Yeah. Absolutely.

 

[0:29:31.1] VB: One of our most popular dishes, and a wonderful dish.

 

[0:29:34.2] KM: Who made that one?

 

[0:29:35.2] VB: That’s my dad’s recipe. Absolutely.

 

[0:29:36.8] KM: That’s one of your dad’s.

 

[0:29:38.0] VB: Yeah, there’s a little story behind that too. The way that we prepare that now versus Bowman and before, is we kind of modernized it a little bit because we sear the scallops now, because I used to just poach them, and now we sear the scallops, because that’s kind of what’s happening. It improved the — People love it.

 

[0:29:57.8] GB: Yeah, it did improve the dish.

 

[0:29:59.3] KM: People say — But you said — I’ve heard you say that your father would recognize the food today if he can’t by.

 

[0:30:04.6] VB: Yes. Sure. If there’s been a little tweaks here and there, but I would say 98% of it is exactly what he did.

 

[0:30:12.1] KM: Because you’re still throwing the pizza. You’re still using the family recipe.

 

[0:30:15.6] GB: Absolutely.

 

[0:30:17.2] KM: When you opened your Main Street location, you brought with you your pasta chef.

 

[0:30:20.8] GB: Yes, initially. Then he had health problems.

 

[0:30:24.2] KM: He was trained by your — He should, because he’s old.

 

[0:30:26.5] GB: He was trained by our dad.

 

[0:30:27.2] KM: Because he should be old by now.

 

[0:30:28.4] GB: Yes, but he did train the people that are doing it now.

 

[0:30:30.9] KM: All your pasta is handmade.

 

[0:30:33.0] GB: Not the strand pasta, like spaghetti, manicotti, cannelloni, lasagna, vegetable manicotti, toasted raviolis, raviolis, all that is handmade. 

 

[0:30:43.7] KM: I think that’s why your toasted raviolis are so good.

 

[0:30:46.0] GB: Yeah, we make them.

 

[0:30:46.5] VB: Agree.

 

[0:30:47.3] KM: You can tell. You cannot get a toasted ravioli from anywhere that tastes like —

 

[0:30:52.4] VB: I don’t think there’s anybody else that bothers to make them. They’re very time consuming.

 

[0:30:57.4] KM: They are delicious. A lot of people have reservations — About moving to Main Street and moving downtown —

 

[0:31:02.2] GB: We were the first ones on that block and everybody said I was taking a risk.

 

He had reservations. I’m the one who had been working downtown for 15 years, and so I — because I was with Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield for 15 years downtown and I could see that it was the next logical step from the River Market was to come down Main Street right at that block. It has proved to be the best decision we could have ever made.

 

[0:31:27.4] VB: Everybody, when this was fixing to go down, everybody was for that and I was the one that was going downtown, because I’m not a downtown — I don’t really go downtown. Now, I do every day, but I don’t really go downtown, so I didn’t know — Plus, I kind of seen where it was that we were looking at. Since we were going to be the anchor for that block, it wasn’t anything, and I was going, “Whoa man! What’s going —”

 

[0:31:52.0] KM: Now you’ve made a restaurant row.

 

[0:31:54.3] GB: Yes, and there’s two more restaurants going in.

 

[0:31:55.7] VB: Absolutely, and I think that was the whole intention behind them wanting us to do that.

 

[0:32:01.1] KM: Did the city gave you any incentives?

 

[0:32:04.2] GB: I don’t know if the city did. The realtor did. Our landlords gave us plenty of incentive. I have to say, our landlords, which are Jimmy Moses, Red Tucker, and Tommy Lassiter from Doyle Rogers, they made it extremely attractive for us to be the anchor there, because they could see the future.

 

[0:32:23.8] KM: They are visionaries.

 

[0:32:24.9] VB: They used to come in and eat at Bowman all the time, and I would go to their table and sit and talk to them all the time because my parents knew them, and their parents. You know what I’m saying? I would go sit and talk to them and they were entertaining the idea of us being downtown before Bowman ever closed. They were already on that. The minute that we closed —

 

[0:32:48.7] KM: They saw the opportunity.

 

[0:32:49.8] VB: They said, “We still want you down here,” and we were actually looking elsewhere at first, even the person that was working for them was trying to help us find the place elsewhere. No matter where we looked, it was either way to expensive west Little Rock, way too expensive, or there would be another reason —

 

[0:33:08.7] GB: Too much traffic to get to you.

 

[0:33:10.6] VB: I was kind of like, “We were being pointed to that location.”

 

[0:33:13.7] KM: Back to that divine intervention thing.

 

[0:33:16.2] VB: Absolutely.

 

[0:33:17.3] KM: I believe though no matter where you went, people would have come, because every time you closed, the whole town is just, “Oh!” They’ve missed you so bad, and I hope you will keep it up forever.

 

Let’s take a break because Gio brought us some of his music and I want to play a little bit, and then we’ll come back and do a quick last 10 minutes.

 

[0:33:38.8] GB: And a shout out to Bill Ramsey, because it’s our music.

 

[0:33:41.7] KM: Oh, I’m sorry. That’s a good point. What’s the name of this group?

 

[0:33:44.2] GB: Bruno and Bill.

 

[0:33:45.8] KM: Bruno and Bill. You’re listening to Up In Your Business with Kerry McCoy. My guest is Gio and Vinny Bruno, owners of Bruno’s Little Italy Restaurant in downtown Little Rock, Arkansas.

 

[0:33:55.4] [MUSIC]

 

[0:35:25.4] KM: I love that.

 

[0:35:27.1] GB: Thank you.

 

[0:35:28.4] KM: I like lyrical songs that tell kind of a story.

 

[0:35:32.4] GB: Well, you’ll like my music.

 

[0:35:34.1] KM: How do people find your music?

 

[0:35:35.2] GB: We have a Facebook page, Bruno and Bill.

 

[0:35:37.1] KM: Bruno and Bill.

 

[0:35:38.3] GB: Yeah, Facebook page that directs you to — There’s a also a group page that directs you to where to find our music. Most of the time, it directs you to reverbnation.com where you can also search Bruno and Bill. All of our music resides there and people can listen to it.

 

[0:35:52.4] KM: You can buy it there. You can listen and buy it?

 

[0:35:54.3] GB: Places you can buy — You can buy it on iTunes. You can buy it on CD Baby. There’s a lot of venue — Amazon, that has availability for buying it.

 

[0:36:02.5] KM: Or you can just listen to it.

 

[0:36:03.9] GB: Or you can just listen to it.

 

[0:36:04.7] KM: On reverb.

 

[0:36:04.9] GB: On reverbnation.com, or jango.com.

 

[0:36:08.1] KM: I knew you when you were in The Grownups.

 

[0:36:10.8] GB: Correct, which was the wedding band that I was in for almost 38 years. Yes.

 

[0:36:14.2] KM: You’ve done that deal, and 38 years is long enough to do that. I tell you, The Grownups used to be the go-to-band.

 

[0:36:21.1] GB: Yeah. Absolutely. I had a lot of fun in that band. I’m going to dis our band at all, I never have to sing the favorite songs of the mother of the bride ever again.

 

[0:36:29.1] KM: Your son is in a band, isn’t he? Ain’t Jay in a band?

 

[0:36:32.4] GB: Not at this point. In fact, Jay played bass on some of the Bruno and Bill music, and our latest song for sure.

 

[0:36:39.7] KM: Jay is not working at the restaurant?

 

[0:36:40.7] GB: No, he can’t. It’s conflict of interest, because he sells us cellar wine. He works for Central Distributor.

 

[0:36:44.4] KM: No, I’m not talking about Jay — I’m talking about your son.

 

[0:36:47.0] GB: Oh, Jack.

 

[0:36:47.5] KM: Jack. I’m sorry.

 

[0:36:48.3] GB: Got you. Jack does play music and writes songs and all that. Yes. He’s a waiter at Bruno’s.

 

[0:36:53.4] KM: Oh! That’s the son that’s the waiter at Bruno’s.

 

[0:36:55.3] GB: Right. That’s my son —

 

[0:36:56.5] KM: So it’s your son, Vinny, that I saw down there, because I would know Jack in a heartbeat.

 

[0:37:01.0] GB: They’re both servers at Bruno’s.

 

[0:37:04.3] KM: I get you. Thank you listeners for helping me wade through that convoluted conversation just then. If you could change — What are you probably most proud of about Bruno’s? Everything.

 

[0:37:14.8] GB: I was going to say that we’ve been true to dad’s recipes.

 

[0:37:20.0] VB: Yeah. It’s the best Italian food that I’ve ever had.

 

[0:37:22.6] GB: It’s a lot of work to do things the way he did it.

 

[0:37:25.3] VB: I’m very proud of our food. Like he said, the work it takes to get that, what did. I love that we still do that.

 

[0:37:32.0] KM: You opened a deli right after you opened your downtown store. You opened a deli.

 

[0:37:35.2] GB: That was last year. Yeah, for six months we tried a deli next door, because I thought downtown was going to be ready for grab and go. They weren’t. They all wanted a place to sit. They all came in the door and went, “No place to sit down?” And so we just took the same menu and became our lunch menu inside Bruno’s. In order to accomplish that though, we didn’t have enough kitchen space to serve lunch until that time. We had to move all the prep equipment into the deli space. The deli space next door is our prep kitchen now where he works and Bruno’s lunch is essentially the same menu —

 

[0:38:04.0] KM: You’re making the sandwiches that your father made.

 

[0:38:06.2] GB: Yes.

 

[0:38:06.2] KM: They’re not trendy sandwiches.

 

[0:38:08.1] GB: No. The one trendy I’d say is the eggplant parmegiana sandwich is kind of trendy that we did that because we had tasted it and they were good. 

 

[0:38:16.1] VB: It’s still dad’s eggplant parmegiana, it’s just put on bread.

 

[0:38:18.4] GB: Yeah, it’s dad’s eggplant parmegiana.

 

[0:38:19.9] KM: What is your favorite recipe of your father’s, or do you have one, or is it moving? Is it always changing?

 

[0:38:24.8] GB: I would have to say it’s always changing, but there are certain things that I always go back to, eggplant parmigiana is one of them. The spaghetti reggio, which is just spaghetti with oil and onions and spices.

 

[0:38:34.8] KM: I love that.

 

[0:38:35.4] GB: I love simplicity. Sometimes I’ll throw a few mushrooms in it, just for mine.

 

[0:38:40.4] KM: Do you put parmesan in your spaghetti sauce, in it, when you’re making it?

 

[0:38:43.0] GB: No.

 

[0:38:44.2] KM: I’ve heard people do that to thicken it.

 

[0:38:45.4] VB: I guess you could, but we don’t.

 

[0:38:47.3] GB: Especially since we opened downtown, we kind of have moved the shaker cheese into the realm of the customer applying it rather than us applying it, because some people can’t eat it, lactose intolerant, don’t like it, whatever. We put the shaker cheese on the table. If they want it, they can add it.

 

[0:39:05.0] KM: I’m gluten free, and I can find plenty of recipes to eat at your restaurant. I just want people to know that.

 

[0:39:08.9] GB: Yeah, we have a gluten free option asterisk on all that stuff. 

 

[0:39:13.0] KM: I think that’s important for the listeners to listen, the scallops are gluten free. I broke my rule though and had some of your delicious bread. I couldn’t help but sup it up in there. It was just too good. I was like, “I’m going to pay the price, but I’m doing it anyway.” 

 

[0:39:26.4] GB: There you go.

 

[0:39:26.6] VB: My answer to that is the sauces, meat sauce, marinara sauce. They’re the best that I’ve ever had, and so that’s my favorite recipes of my dad. 

 

[0:39:33.1] KM: They are just to die for. What are your hours of — Okay, that’s your favorite. That’s your —

 

[0:39:39.0] VB: Yeah. I mean I like it all. If I had to choose — Yeah.

 

[0:39:40.4] KM: Let’s tell our listeners what your hours of operation are. 

 

[0:39:45.9] GB: Monday through Friday for lunch, 11 to 2.

 

[0:39:48.4] KM: That’s mostly deli sandwiches, or is it anything?

 

[0:39:50.8] GB: You can get lunch and size pizzas. You can get a cup — We added a few pasta dishes, because some people do want a small portion of pasta at lunch. Primarily, it’s soups, salad, sandwich.

 

[0:40:00.9] KM: Then your evenings are —

 

[0:40:04.5] GB: Tuesday through Saturday, 5 to 10.

 

[0:40:05.8] KM: 5 to 10. You stay up till 10:00. That’s good.

 

[0:40:08.6] GB: Yes.

 

[0:40:08.7] KM: People can come over after they leave  the Rep.

 

[0:40:10.3] GB: I will honestly say that Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursdays, we usually have no customers left by around — And had had no new people by around 9:30. Usually, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, I go ahead and lock the door around 9:30 because nobody is out downtown after that.

 

[0:40:26.3] KM: After the rep — But when the Rep starts showing, shows Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, you probably have customers come in later.

 

[0:40:31.9] GB: On Friday and Saturday, yes. We stay the full 10:00 on Friday and Saturday always.

 

[0:40:37.1] KM: It’s nice to leave the Rep at 9:00 and be hungry and have a place to go.

 

[0:40:41.3] GB: Absolutely.

 

[0:40:43.1] KM: It’s like the theater district in New York City. You get out of plays and then you walk out and you got all these Italian restaurants everywhere that you can go to.

 

[0:40:50.4] GB: Right now, we’ve Motown the Musical at Robinson, as well as [inaudible 0:40:54.1], and so we are in crossfire, and it’s wonderful.

 

[0:40:57.6] KM: Those are both great. Awesome.

 

[0:41:00.5] GB: And the ATA conventions in town.

 

[0:41:02.0] KM: What’s the ATA?

 

[0:41:02.2] GB: American Taekwondo Association.

 

[0:41:04.2] KM: Oh, gosh! Is that in town?

 

[0:41:05.4] GB: Yes.

 

[0:41:06.5] KM: Boy, you are busy!

 

[0:41:07.5] GB: We’ll be getting triple hit this week, which is always good.

 

[0:41:09.7] KM: Thank you Gio and Vinny. It has been a pleasure learning about your family, your cuisine. If anyone listening is planning on visiting the Little Rock area, put Bruno’s Little Italy a must do on your list. Gio —

 

[0:41:21.7] GB: Thank you.

 

[0:41:23.0] KM: Vinny.

 

[0:41:23.7] VB: Thank you.

 

[0:41:24.3] KM: For reopening and birthing your business again and again, a cigar from the Humidor Room at Colonial Wine & Spirits on Markham Street in Little Rock, Arkansas.

 

[0:41:32.0] GB: This is wonderful. Thank you so much.

 

[0:41:33.5] KM: Yeah, y’all are going to have that with a big glass of wine, I know. We thank — Listen, thank all of you for continuing to service us, your whole family. I don’t know what Little Rock would be like without the Bruno’s. I really don’t.

 

[0:41:44.1] GB: Thank you.

 

[0:41:44.9] KM: You’re welcome.

 

[0:41:45.0] GB: Thank you very much.

 

[0:41:46.4] KM: Who’s my guest next week?

 

[0:41:47.0] TB: Rebecca Rice, from Rebecca Rice and Associates.

 

[0:41:50.0] KM: Rebecca Rice is going to teach us a lot. She believes in whole life. She does seminars all over the United States about whole life and borrowing from your whole life so that you can start a small business. I have never thought of this. I had a conversation with her, and she’s a rock start and has a little small book you can buy.

 

To end our show, if you’ve got a great entrepreneurial story you would like to share, I would love to hear from you. Send a brief bio and your contact info to questions@upyourbusiness.org and someone will be in touch. 

 

Finally, to our listeners, thank you for spending time with me. If you think this program has been about you, you’re right, but it’s also been for me. Thank you for letting me fulfill my destiny. My hope today is that you’ve heard or learned something that’s been aspiring or enlightening, and that it, whatever it is, will help you up your business, your independence or your life. I’m Kerry McCoy, and I’ll see you next time Up In Your Business. Until then, be brave and keep it up.

 

[END OF INTERVIEW]

 

[0:42:45.1] TB: You’ve been listening to Up in Your Business with Kerry McCoy. Want to hear today’s program again or want someone else to benefit from it? Jot this down. Within 48 hours the podcast will be available at flagandbanner.com. Click the tab labeled “Radio Show”, there you’ll find today’s segments with links to resources you heard discussed on this program. Kerry’s goal: to help you live the American Dream.

 

[END]

Ecommerce & ERP Integration by Website Pipeline