A potential buyer has emerged for a large part of the Bravo Cucina Italiana and Brio Tuscan Grille chain of restaurants, according to documents filed in the restaurant chain’s parent company’s reorganization bankruptcy case Tuesday and today, May 27, 2020.
Photo: Mark Fisher
Photo: Mark Fisher

Brio Tuscan Grille at The Greene to reopen dining room

BRIO Italian Grille at The Greene in Dayton has announced its plans to reopen its dining room next week.

BRIO will resume in-restaurant dining service on Wednesday, July 1, a spokeswoman for BRIO confirmed Wednesday.

The restaurant will be open for lunch and dinner from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Sunday to Thursday and from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Friday to Saturday. The restaurant at 4459 Cedar Park Drive overlooks The Greene’s public square.

BRIO reopened for curbside carryout and delivery over Memorial Day Weekend.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE: May 26, 2020 — Defying the odds, Brio Tuscan Grille reopens at The Greene for carryout, delivery

Brio Tuscan Grille at The Greene in Beavercreek has reopened for curbside carryout and delivery, a positive and somewhat surprising development for a chain that had said six weeks ago that such reopenings were unlikely.

Diners can carry out meals from the Brio’s lobby, or can pick up an order via curbside carryout, an employee of The Greene’s Brio location said this morning, Tuesday May 26. Delivery via DoorDash or GrubHub is also available. 

Plans call for reopening Brio Tuscan Grille’s dining room “hopefully within the next couple of weeks,” the employee said. 

The reopening over the Memorial Day Weekend of the restaurant at 4459 Cedar Park Drive, overlooking The Greene’s public square, comes as its parent company is in the midst of a reorganization bankruptcy proceeding in central Florida.

In its bankruptcy petition filed Friday April 10, in U.S. Bankruptcy Court for central Florida, FoodFirst Global Restaurants Inc., the corporate parent of Brio and of Bravo Cucina Italiana, said that at that time, only 21 of its nearly 100 restaurants “continue(d) to operate, with the remainder temporarily closed pending a final determination whether to reopen. It is likely those not currently operating will remain closed.” 

>> Coronavirus: What’s reopening this week in Ohio

There’s no indication The Greene’s Brio restaurant was open at the time. It operated briefly as a carryout restaurant the the days following the March 15 statewide order that shut down all restaurant dining rooms, but  it had not been included in The Greene’s list of restaurants offering carryout since after March 25.

This is an excerpt from a bankruptcy document filed April 10, 2020 by the corporate owner of Bravo Cucina Italiana and Brio Tuscan Grille in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in central Florida.

A video hearing in that bankruptcy case is scheduled to take place Wednesday, May 27 before U.S. Bankruptcy Court Judge Lori V. Vaughan. There is a pending motion in the case in which FoodFirst is seeking a 60-day extension before it must make rent payments on some of its properties. 

In that motion, filed April 29, FirstFirst Global says the coronavirus pandemic contributed significantly to its financial problems, and although some of its restaurants are open and generating cash-flow via carryout and delivery, “Unfortunately, Take-Out does not generate the same revenue as traditional dining services, and (the company) continues to experience substantial liquidity concerns.”

Bravo Cucina Italiana operates a restaurant outside the Dayton Mall. That restaurant has been serving carryout and delivery for about three weeks. A second Dayton-area Bravo, at the Mall at Fairfield Commons in Beavercreek, is no longer listed among the chain’s Ohio locations on the company’s web site. The reservations web site opentable.com lists the restaurant as being “permanently closed.” The Mall at Fairfield Commons has not responded to an inquiry regarding the restaurant, and Bravo officials could not be reached. 

The Bravo and Brio restaurants concepts were born in Columbus in the 1990s. The  April bankruptcy filing came nearly two years after Bravo Brio Restaurant Group Inc. went private in a May 2018 deal valued at $100 million. The company changed its name to FoodFirst and moved its headquarters to Orlando, Florida.

>> FLASHBACK: Ann Heller’s restaurant review from 1995 of then-new Bravo Italian Kitchen

Bravo opened its first Dayton-area location — then called Bravo Italian Kitchen — on State Route 725 east of the Dayton Mall in 1995 and moved to a new location in front of the mall in 2006. 

Bravo Cucina Italiana is offering free delivery and pickup at its Dayton Mall restaurant.
Photo: Mark Fisher

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