Art institute gets new restaurant operator

Bernstein’s Fine Catering will take over management of Leo Bistro inside the Dayton Art Institute effective Aug. 7, DAI officials announced Tuesday.

The restaurant’s current operator, Elite Catering, will continue to operate Leo Bistro through Aug. 2. The Bistro will then close for four days, from Aug. 3-6, to make the transition to its new operator, re-opening under Bernstein’s direction on Aug. 7.

Bernstein’s Fine Catering traces its roots to the Uptown Delicatessen restaurant that Steve Bernstein founded in 1988 in the Randolph Plaza in Clayton. The catering company, which moved to West Carrollton in 2011, will bring “a wealth of experience and innovative culinary ideas” to Leo Bistro, said Michael R. Roediger, CEO of the art institute.

Leo Bistro opened in February 2013 under the direction of the owners of Roost Modern Italian restaurant in Dayton’s Oregon District. Elite Catering took over Leo Bistro’s operations five months later, in July 2013.

Roediger said DAI officials knew Leo Bistro “wasn’t going to be (Elite Catering’s) focus forever,” and said a transition to Bernstein’s is “a natural progression” in part because both Elite and Bernstein’s are preferred caterers for events at the museum.

Elite Catering’s team was “an invaluable asset as we developed long-term plans for Leo Bistro,” and the company will continue as a preferred caterer for DAI, Roediger said.

Adam Baumgarten, co-owner of Bernstein’s Fine Catering, said he hopes to help make Leo’s Bistro “a destination in and of itself,” and intends to spread the word about the bistro’s proximity to downtown, its free parking and its suitability for lunch and business meetings.

After Leo Bistro opens under Bernstein’s direction, its lunch hours will be 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, and noon to 2 p.m. Sunday. It will serve dinner from 4 to 8 p.m. on Thursdays.

About the Author