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Buona Vita to Open Second Location in Downtown Covington

After Joseph Frommeyer graduated from college he was "tinkering with" with the idea of landing a standard nine to five job, but a trip to Italy with his brother Matthew changed the course for both of them.

"We went to Italy together and stayed there for a little bit and were sitting there and he asked me what I wanted to do and I said I was thinking of getting into the food business," Joseph said. Matthew told his brother that he wanted to go to culinary school.

And across the Atlantic Ocean a restaurant concept for back home in Kentucky was born.

"We fantasized about what we would call it," Joseph said. "Neither of us had experience. He was a server for maybe eight months and I had zero experience.

Jumping in with no idea how a restaurant worked paid off for the brothers. They launched Buona Vita Pizzeria in Dayton, KY in 2008 and have done so well in serving slices of "the good life" that the Frommeyers are opening their second location on Scott Boulevard in Downtown Covington.

While they did not know much about the restaurant business they were experts on good Italian food. "What we had was, we grew up eating Italian food, our mom is Italian and we took her and grandmother's recipes and that's what we started with, and as (Matthew) got more confident in school, he took them and made them his own," said Joseph.

The Dayton location, at 411 Sixth Avenue, features traditional Italian-American fare such as spaghetti & meatballs, breadsticks, lasagna, and a long list of pizzas.

The Frommeyer's won't be bringing their entire arsenal to Covington (not yet, anyway) and will instead focus on pizza. They have been hard at work renovating the interior of 405 Scott Blvd, which previously hosted a Subway and Frank & Tony's Double Deckers.

"This is going to be an extension of what we do in a restaurant," Joseph said. "This will be a traditional pizzeria. You'll walk in, order at the counter, it'll be slices or large pizzas, sandwiches, salads. We're catering more for the lunch crowd. It's going to be the same recipes, the same everything, just a limited menu. It's going to be like a satellite of the restaurant.

The interior is undergoing a complete remodel with lots of painting, clean-up, and reorganization of the dining room. They've built a new counter and incorporated two pizza ovens, what Joseph calls the "showpiece" of the restaurant.

Opening a second Buona Vita restaurant in Covington is not the brothers' first connection to the city. Joseph, 30, graduated from Holy Cross and Matthew, 25, went to Covington Catholic (in Park Hills). They see Covington as being on the verge of big things and want to be part of it.

"We're super excited about being in Covington," Joseph said. "We love the things that are going on with the Gateway and the library and the riverfront coming back to life and all the other projects that we've become aware of. It's great. We're just glad to be part of it. Hopefully we can help out with the great stuff."

Buona Vita will be another addition to a growing pie of pizza places in Covington. Within a couple blocks of the Frommeyers' new location is the newly opened Pizza Bomba and a LaRosa's. In Mainstrasse Village, Goodfella's and Lucy Blue are making pizzas. Giuseppe's and Germantown south of Downtown are also on the city's menu.

"It's fun, it's exciting to be able to open up where there's other competition," Joseph said. "It's good for everyone, it keeps us on our toes. We're a little different style than those places. They all do a heck of a job and we just hope we can be another one."

Buona Vita is awaiting inspections this week and has a target opening date of May 21. The Frommeyers expect to be open from 11:00 a.m. - 7:00 p.m. Monday through Friday initially but will respond to demand as far as its hours go.

"Eventually, after we get there and see what we can keep up with, we'd like to start a delivery so can hit everyone that lives in the area," Joseph said. "If the demand is there and people are calling for us to stay open on Saturday or later, we'll do that, too."

Written by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News

Photo: Buona Vita's new Covington location on Scott Blvd./RCN

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