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Italian restaurant aiming to offer something new while preserving historic aspect of Downtown Fort Myers

Bruno's Italian Eatery
Posted at 6:02 PM, Nov 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-11-30 20:38:11-05

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Downtown Fort Myers has so much development happening, and when some hear about new things coming, they worry about the past being forgotten.

The owners of Bruno's on Brooklyn Italian Eatery are bringing their restaurant to the heart of Downtown Fort Myers, and they said change is good but if something isn't broken they aren't going to try and fix it.

They gave Fox 4's Briana Brownlee a tour of the new location as they showed how construction is going and how they plan on preserving the historic aspect of Downtown Fort Myers.
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"Being from Brooklyn New York history is so significant to us and of course as Italians, with Europe and Rome, keeping the original architecture means so much to us," said Genevieve Bruno.

The Bruno's said that's why they are so excited to restore a building that's more than a century old.

"The developer who built this building contributed a lot to developing downtown," said Cal Bruno. "During the stock market crash in the 1920s, he decided to take his money out of the bank and that's where he was storing his assets," said Cal Bruno.

Vault older than a 100-years-old

All of these years later, the Bruno's felt like they struck gold themselves when they looked closer at the building.

"This is Dade County Pine, which is virtually impeccable. It's so dense and so strong and so sought after and hard to find," Cal said. "We were so blessed when we peeled off the multiple ceilings and finally got to that level there, the quality of the wood and condition of the wood we are just elated."

100-year-old ceiling still in tact

The couple said it was fully in tact to the point they changed their original plans for the ceiling and now that wood that's more than a 100-years-old will be the focal point of their new location.

"Those planks are on an angle as if it was meant to be enjoyed, look at how beautiful that looks, isn't that gorgeous," Cal asked.

Cal said they did face some setbacks on the way to their new location.

Renderings of Bruno's on Brooklyn's new location

"Interestingly enough, we closed on this building 9 days before the hurricane," Cal said.

The building survived and the storm gave the Bruno's a jump start on a project they hope will be a focal point of the new downtown.

Renderings of Bruno's on Brooklyn's new location

"We're down with the big boys here, a lot of people who sought opportunity down here decades ago and planted their flag," Cal said. "You know who I'm talking about, they do a great job and we just want to be apart of it."

Cal gave a tidbit of something new they will offer at their new space. He said he will now come to a guest's table and make mozzarella right in front of them.

He said the expected opening date will be late spring or early summer.