A veteran restaurateur recently returned to the South Shore dining scene â€“ and he brought his girlfriend, a restaurant rookie, along for the ride.
Bondo Benjamin and Sheila Hart opened Bondoâ€™s Dining and Takeout on Route 139 in Marshfield in December, taking the place of Paciniâ€™s Italian Eatery.
The venture is Benjaminâ€™s first since he sold his stake in BoCa, the Pembroke restaurant he co-owned with a former business partner, in December 2010. That restaurant, which he founded in 1997, closed in 2011, Benjamin said.
The Pembroke resident kept busy with catering work in the meantime, but had been on the lookout for a new restaurant during his time away from the business.
For his new partner, however, the decision required a a significant career change.
Hart, 48, had spent more than 20 years in manufacturing, most recently working as a production manager at Mueller Corp. â€“ a firm that specializes in industrial and decorative metal coatings â€“ in East Bridgewater. But the Halifax resident said sheâ€™d always wanted to venture out on her own, and decided to take the leap to spend more time with Benjamin, her boyfriend of two years.
â€œI knew if he was doing it on his own that Iâ€™d probably never see him,â€ Hart said.
Benjamin, 50, had his eye on the 2,500-square-foot Paciniâ€™s building for some time, even attempting to buy it about a decade ago â€“ only to be outbid by his current landlord. Benjamin and Hart officially took over the restaurant in October, and spent about two months renovating the space to include bar seating and a more muted color scheme.
The pair settled on a small menu studded with seafood, steak and pasta dishes. Chicken parmesan has also become a popular takeout item, Benjamin said, though most of the restaurantâ€™s customers choose to dine in.
After a slow start, business at the restaurant has picked up since it received an alcohol license Jan. 27, Hart said. That was nearly three months after she and Benjamin applied for one. Potential customers had been discouraged by the lack of alcoholic options, the pair said.
â€œWe definitely lost a lot of revenue without it,â€ Hart said.
Bondoâ€™s is at 1810 Ocean St. in Marshfield, and can be reached at 781-319-9825. It opens for dinner daily at 4:30 p.m.
Reach Alex Spanko at firstname.lastname@example.org.