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VOL. 128 | NO. 106 | Friday, May 31, 2013

Bon Ton Owners Continue Eatery’s Legacy

By Andy Meek

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Ever since Bon Ton Café reopened Downtown, the eatery has been rolling out incremental improvements.

The owners of Downtown’s Bon Ton Cafe have been rolling out additions and improvements since reopening the restaurant late last year.

(Bon Ton Cafe)

It’s been a steady flow of additions, because the restaurant keeps working to accommodate requests and suggestions from customers. “You have asked, and we have delivered,” the restaurant wrote in recent days on its Facebook page about the updates.

General manager Ann Ramsey can rattle off a laundry list of what some of those updates are. There’s now, for example, a happy hour Mondays through Fridays, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. The restaurant, at 150 Monroe Ave. also only recently started serving dinner, and a bar has been installed.

It’s part of an evolution that started with Bon Ton’s reopening late last year, continuing what had been a storied legacy for the restaurant.

Indeed, Bon Ton has a few generations of history behind it.

The Zambelis family owned the space from 1945 to 2008 before closing it because of a death in the family. They still own the restaurant today.

There are touches that have not changed, such as the same familiar neon sign outside. And the restaurant’s menu still has the feel associated with no-frills, comfort food.

“But we’re constantly working on something new,” Ramsey said.

“When we first reopened, it was just breakfast and lunch. In March, we added a bar upstairs, then we started doing private events downstairs in our event hall. We added dinner May 1, so now we’re doing dinner.”

Among other recent additions, the restaurant has added a cappuccino breakfast bar. It now serves espresso and cappuccino, in addition to serving items like muffins, pastries and bagels.

Bon Ton Café is closed Sundays but is opened every other day. Breakfast is served from 7 a.m. to 11 a.m., followed by lunch from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Dinner starts at 4 p.m. and during the week goes to 8 p.m. On Fridays and Saturdays, dinner ends at 10 p.m.

On its Facebook page, the restaurant said one of the main reasons it’s able to keep adding new elements to the business is because guests continue to spread the word to friends, family and neighbors.

“As we learn more of what the public is asking for and as we grow that crowd, we will base the hours on what it is the public wants,” Ramsey said. “As you can see from our Facebook page, that’s one of the things we’re big on. You telling us what you want.”

Other ways Bon Ton tries to standout: Ramsey said the restaurant focuses on fresh vegetables and on working to accommodate diners with some gluten-free items. The restaurant also offers delivery during lunch.

“We want you to feel like you’re at home, whether it’s by the service you’re given, the level of comfort you feel and ultimately by the food you’re eating,” Ramsey said. “It’s not generic. It’s made from scratch. It’s almost like your grandmother is in the kitchen making it for you.”

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