Bufalina is coming back with a new East Austin location and Grae Nonas as executive chef
Some of the most long-awaited Austin restaurant news is finally ready to come out of the oven. Bufalina owner Steven Dilley told the American-Statesman that his Neapolitan pizzeria finally has a new East Austin home.
Bufalina will open later this year at 2215 E. Cesar Chavez St., in the old Frank's Laundry space, about a half-mile east of the original location that Dilley opened in 2013 and closed in February 2021. In its original incarnation, the pizzeria changed the way Austinites looked at pizza and reconsidered where to expect to find exceptional wine lists.
"I feel really lucky to have found a building that's similar in feel to our old location, not to mention being just down the block," Dilley wrote in an email. "We trucked our oven down the street and are also reusing some of our original furniture and fixtures."
2021 Austin360 Dining Guide:The 20 best new restaurants that opened in the past year
While the restaurant is in its final stages before opening, Dilley said, he does not have an exact opening date yet. What he does have is a new executive chef to lead the location. Grae Nonas, who was one of the founding co-executive chefs at Olamaie and was the opening chef at Carpenters Hall, will oversee a menu that Dilley says "will hopefully continue to reflect our interests and the seasons."
Austin diners who have followed Nonas since he left Carpenters Hall will know that he hosted several popular pop-ups of Le Cowboy, a pasta-centric Italian concept that also briefly occupied space on the old Eastside Cafe property.
"I've been a fan of Grae's cooking since Olamaie, and his sensibilities in the kitchen should fit in well with Bufalina," Dilley said.
Asked if guests can expected expanded pasta offerings at the new Bufalina, Dilley said, "The top half of the menu should be pretty exciting."
Nonas was named a Food & Wine best new chef with Olamaie's Michael Fojtasek in 2015 and was twice named a James Beard Award semifinalist for rising star chef.
In addition to the Nonas news, Dilley also said that Rania Zayyat, Bufalina's wine director, has become a partner at Bufalina and will continue to manage the wine program while taking on a broader role operationally.