Buca di Beppo to open Monday at mall

Posted: December 10, 2013

The Winchester Star

Buca di Beppo Italian restaurant will be opening Monday at Apple Blossom Mall. (Photo by Scott Mason/The Winchester Star)

WINCHESTER — Buca di Beppo, Apple Blossom Mall’s newest restaurant, is opening just in time for Christmas.

The Italian family-style eatery will open on Monday.

“It’s certainly long awaited,” Larry Nelson, area director of mall marketing and business development at Apple Blossom Mall, said Monday. “We had hoped it would get open a little earlier this fall, before the holiday season. They got a little bit delayed. It happens sometimes in construction.”

The restaurant encompasses 6,065 square feet, he said.

“It [has] an interesting, whimsical decor inside,” Nelson said. “We’ve looked at pictures of the food on the barricade [in front of the restaurant] for months now, and we had a chance to see the menu. Everything looks so great. I can’t wait to try it.”

The Winchester site is the 102nd Buca to open in the U.S., said John Thall, executive vice president of development and new concepts. It’s the first one to locate in Virginia.

Thall said there will be seating for 200 inside, with room for another 48 on the patio. Eighty-five employees have been hired.

“We’re traditional Italian family-style dining, which means we serve small and large bowls of pasta, or platters of food just like an Italian mom would serve her family over in Italy,” Thall said. “We have an eclectic ambiance.”

There is decorative lighting, more than 1,700 photos and various themes spread out over several rooms.

There’s a wine room, where people can put their signed, empty wine bottles.

“We have our Sinatra/Italian-American room,” Thall said. “Our pope table is very popular. It’s in the round. It’s a great little table to have a good party of eight or 10 folks.”

The Winchester Buca will be a little different in that it will have a fireplace.

Thall said Buca is known for its meatballs, each of which weighs a half-pound, and is “as big as your head.”

“Our small portions feed three people, and our large portions feed five people,” he said.

There is a full bar.

“We’re very family oriented,” he said.

He said the restaurant is known for “celebratory dining.”

“So, it’s a great place to come for a birthday and anniversary,” Thall said.

The restaurant opening caps off the Apple Blossom Mall’s renovation, which also included construction of the Apple Blossom 12 Carmike cinema.

“It’s a great place to come for dinner and a movie,” Thall said.

Nelson said Buca has already booked some holiday reservations and also does catering and curbside pickup.

The restaurant, which is based in Orlando and was bought by Planet Hollywood International Inc. five years ago, according to its website, is located near the main mall entrance and J.C. Penney, Nelson said.

He said it’ll have a mall entrance and an outside entrance.

Buca is having a VIP opening at noon on Monday and will be open for business starting at 4 p.m.

Hours will be 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, and 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

— Contact Sally Voth at svoth@winchesterstar.com