Restaurant Review: Bono Pizza

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

He is telling jokes, showing me where he envisions a future patio and explaining how after 13 years he's made an unlikely return to the spot of his first Columbus business.

If his bumpy journey has featured lots of unexpected twists and turns (and whose hasn't?), there has been one constant: making truly great pizzas the way he learned to while living in Italy. On that point, there can be no compromise, and to dig into a slice of Wild Bill's terrific Bono pizza is to be an instant believer in his life's mission.

Back inside of Bono, which is snugly tucked in the back of a little carryout, Bill proudly shows me his handmade, old-school wood-fueled oven, which burns at about 1,600 degrees and thus cooks his beautiful, delicate pizzas in just a few minutes.

Otherwise, the tiny 10- or 12-seat space - with its cute counter, cramped tables, Dalis on the walls and hand-painted orange and lemon Italian plate type decorations - is the very archetype of quirky. Call it Yerkes quirky.

And call the artisanal, one-of-a-kind pies that emanate from Wild Bill, his special oven and his nothing-but-the-best, freshest and imported ingredients some of the best pizzas this city has ever had to offer.

Wild Bill's delicious crusts get a nice, dark, wood-scented char on their moderately puffy edges and are super-thin in the middle. As for pie styles, Bono offers 18 awesome combinations or, of course, you can just design your own.

What's my favorite? Probably whichever pie I just ate there. But I do love the Hulk, with its terrific homemade pesto sauce, green olives, zucchini slivers and whatever other green things Bill has lying around the kitchen.

Conventional-topping-loving types should target the comforting San Rolando. That one has zesty tomato sauce, pepperoni, sagey sausage and fresh mozzarella and will taste familiar, yet better.

White pizza lovers are also in luck because Bono's Bianca is one of the best in town. Extra virgin olive oil stands in for sauce, and gets topped with big chunks of garlic, coarse sea salt, fresh spinach and more. This one's almost as good to look at as it is to eat.

The "just-released" Carbonara - with peppered Smithfield ham/bacon, caramelized onions, fresh mozzarella and asiago cheese - has a super nifty sweet-and-salty thing going on and seems destined to become Bill's newest crowd favorite. I certainly can't seem to get enough of it.

Bono Pizza

1717 Northwest Blvd., Grandview


For more local food news and reviews, click to G.A. Benton's blog Under the Table at