Since 1949, the Bruno family has been Little Rock’s premiere destination for authentic and unrivaled Italian food. With a long list of awards including: Number One Italian Restaurant in Central Arkansas by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, best customer service by Rock City Eats, and Best Italian Restaurant 2014, 2015, & 2016 by the Arkansas Times, Bruno’s Little Italy takes pride in offering you generations of delicious family recipes, great service, and a beautiful atmosphere.
We welcome you to participate in the Bruno’s Little Italy experience!
by Giovanni Bruno and Gennaro Giuda. Sung by Giuseppe Milano.
by Gio Vanni Bruno
Between 1900 and 1905, brothers Nicola, Gennaro and Vincenzo Bruno (sons of Stanislas Bruno) each arrived in the United States from Naples, Italy. Vincenzo soon returned to Naples, but his brothers remained here and encouraged another of their brothers, Giovanni Bruno, to join them in America. Giovanni arrived on the boat at Ellis Island sometime between 1903 and 1907. It is two of the three brothers, Gennaro and Giovanni, that my father credited with helping introduce Pizza as a commercial product in the United States by opening one of the first pizzerias in New York City. Nicola remained proprietor of an Italian grocery store.
My father was Vincent “Jimmy” Bruno, Giovanni’s son. Giovanni (6/21/1883-7/9/1950) was considered an extraordinary chef and baker (at one point he was supposedly head of the local baker’s union), but was probably better known and revered as a gifted Neapolitan poet and lyricist. He was friends with the great Italian tenor Enrico Caruso (Caruso was godfather to my Aunt Clara) and wrote several published tribute poems in Caruso’s honor.
According to my father, from age six he worked and learned in the kitchen of his father’s restaurant and bakery. Coming from a lineage that reportedly cooked for the kings of Italy, he mastered the authentic recipes of Italian cuisine handed down through his family, as well as studying under other renowned chefs.
Even as a child, Jimmy was sent out by his father to teach the skill of pizza-making to others for a fee. While serving as a staff sergeant in the army during World War II, wearing both hats of chef (in the mess hall) and entertainer/emcee (with the USO), he was stationed at North Little Rock’s Camp Robinson, getting his first taste of Arkansas.
Upon leaving the service, he and some of his army buddies opened the first pizzeria in Chicago’s famous Loop, as part of the Yacht Club at 421 South Wabash Avenue. It was a turbulent time in Chicago, with organized crime trying to sell …
310 Main Street
Little Rock, Arkansas 72201
Tuesday – Thursday
5:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.
Friday – Saturday
5:00 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.
~ NO RESERVATIONS ~
New Years Day
Day after Thanksgiving
background video & photos by Markham Park