What a week for eating it's been! First there was Pita Hut, then Sage, and then, bonoTOGO. Husband and I were driving home from a glass wine and a bit of (wine) studying last night, hungry and lamenting having to go home and cook, when I suggested we drive past Russell St (in the Short North) just to see if maybe bonoTOGO was open. I had read they were open until midnight, but I was sure they would be closed on a Sunday. But no, they were open! Bliss! Happiness!
The new pizza joint by veteran pizza-maker Bill Yerkes (he's had stores in various locations, mostly pretty far from downtown) is located inside the Eleni Christina bakery, where they will operate during the hours the bakery is closed. There is one table in the small space and 3 tables on the sidewalk, giving the place a best-kept-secret-hole-in-the-wall-charming-urban-side-street appeal. Pizzas are on the smallish side, about 8-10 inches, and are $8 apiece or 3 for $20, so they are a pretty good bargain. I guess I should be ashamed to say Husband and I ate all 3 pizzas. No leftovers for breakfast. Without even thinking about it, we ordered three vegetarian pizzas, so for all you veggies out there, no worries: there are plenty of vegetarian options.
The pizzas are hand-tossed and baked in a very hot oven - 1200 degrees, to be more precise. It's that heat which separates pizzas; the heat enables the pizzas to cook in 3 minutes and creates a nicely puffed and crisp crust. This was some seriously good crust.
I had heard the Hulk (#17) was really good; it includes pesto instead of sauce, and is topped with all sorts of green things - mine had spinach, zucchini, olives, green peppers and scallions on it. I was asked if there were any veggies I didn't like, in case they had anything else to add. Nope, I love all veggies. Well, I don't really love green beans, but somehow I didn't think that would be an issue. It was really good. The veggies tasted fresh and the smattering of really good Asiago (not always available) really made the whole thing sing:
I ran over to the Burgundy Room to buy a bottle of Nebbiolo to go and let Husband choose the next two flavors. He fist chose the Puttana (#7), a take on the famous puttanesca sauce on pasta (er, "good" woman sauce - read, prostitute sauce). This was really spicy, but still tasty. It mixed tomato sauce, lots of artichke hearts, capers, olives, and fresh hot green peppers:
Lastly we chose the Cippolini (#13), topped with tomato sauce, lots of carmelized onions, gouda, scallions, fresh mozzarella and Parmesan. It was sweet and savory; a nice foil to the very spicy Puttana:
My only complaint with the space is they aren't open for lunch (they are Wednesday - Sunday daily 5pm - midnight).
In addition to the suggested combos, there is a very extensive list from which you can choose your own toppings.
The owners are really nice, and they will probably recommend you eat your pizza there; last night's weather was perfect, and it would have been nice to sit on the street, but we headed home anyway, and the pizzas survived the 3 mile journey just fine. We were sitting at home, munching away on the pizza, and Husband looked at me and said "I am very, very happy with this pizza." High praise, indeed.
I highly recommend bonoTOGO, and only apologize that you have to wait until Wednesday to try it. Oh well, it's the anticipation which makes it even better.
info: bonoTOGO, west Russell street (the address is technically High street, but the storefront is on Russell) 614.906.TOGO. Menu.