Good Day at the Café
Caffè Buondì Brings Italian Breakfast & Lunch Concept to Carmel
Writer / Julie Yates
Photographer / Amy Payne
As people walk through the glass door of Caffè Buondì, they immediately realize the new Carmel breakfast and lunch spot is not just a typical, local café. It is rooted in traditional Italian coffee culture and has a European sensibility. Located next to its sister restaurant, Convivio, at 11529 Spring Mill Road, the eatery has a unique identity all its own.
Owners Emilio Cento and Andrea Melani were already the proprietors of Convivio’s two locations, one in Carmel and the other in Zionsville, when they decided to try something diverse. Gathering their experience from running their Open Table’s 2018 Diner’s Choice Award-winning restaurants known for fresh pasta and innovative takes on Italian dishes, they were ready for a new challenge.
When asked what prompted the partners to open Caffè Buondì, Melani broke into laughter, “Because we are crazy!”
“The space next door to the Carmel location of Convivio became available,” he adds. “It seemed like the perfect opportunity to try something different. We wanted something spacious, bright and modern, yet relaxing. And with a completely different menu.”
Since it is open from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Cento and Melani have developed a menu that they feel is unique. They still have some American favorites — patrons can order eggs any way they want them. Many items, however, are definitely novel to midwestern palates.
“We serve frittatas, which are Italian omelets, right to the table in a cast iron skillet,” Melani says. “Italians like sweet stuff and we feature fresh artisan pastries. Our buckwheat galette is filled with ham, Gruyere cheese and egg. We have several European open-faced sandwiches.”
Most menu options are priced at between $8 to $13. Choices are extensive and include lemon ricotta cheese pancakes, filled crepes and one-of-a-kind variations of French toast. Fresh juices, smoothies and bowls are also available. A toast board can be ordered and various jams, jellies and honey can be sampled. There is even an Italian influenced chicken and waffle served with eggs. For those who are leaning more towards lunch food, large salads, several kinds of pizza and some pasta dishes are available.
“Our intention is to source locally as much as we can,” Melani says. “We use purveyors such as Fischer Farms, Smoking Goose and Trader’s Point Creamery. But the coffee beans we use are from the number one coffee company in Italy — Lavazza.”
The espresso bar serving coffees such as cappuccinos, macchiatos and other Italian specialties, anchors the space. Nearby is a lounge area with a small newsstand comprised of magazines, papers and a couple of iPads available for perusing the news of the day. Over by the fireplace is a large table available for groups and meet-ups.
“Buon di means ‘Good Day’ in Italian,” Melani says. “We want customers to feel connected to the Italian culture and food. We want them to find this as a place to relax and experience starting their day in European bistro style.”
Caffè Buondì is located at 11529 Spring Mill Road in Carmel. You can visit them online at caffebuondi.com for more information.