2010 Rising Star Chef: Chris Bonfili of Avenue B

“People think a style of cooking is something you can pinpoint, but I’ve been cooking professionally for 16 years, and every day of my experience goes into it,” Bonfili says.



Avenue B chef/owner Chris Bonfili.

Photo by Laura Petrilla

Rising Star Chef

CHRIS BONFILI

At Avenue B, chef and owner Chris Bonfili has found every ingredient for inspirational cooking since opening this new bistro with wife, Jenn, last November. First among these, he says, is the creative freedom to change his menu every day. Then there’s his renewed energy for cooking: 18 months away from a professional kitchen (he formerly was the longtime chef at the now-defunct Red Room) left Chris hungry to get into a place of his own and create something special.

The Pittsburgh native’s background includes a stint at culinary school and time in kitchens from Colorado to Maryland—in restaurants that ranged from mom-and-pop and brew pub to Asian to contemporary American. All this experience goes into his cooking, which falls under the header “American” but finds influences around the globe. “People think a style of cooking is something you can pinpoint, but I’ve been cooking professionally for 16 years, and every day of my experience goes into it,” he says.

Large wall-mounted chalkboards, which account for about 60 percent of the menu, showcase new dishes each day, giving Bonfili the chance to shop in the morning and use ingredients in dishes that same night. Successful starters range from a deconstructed spring roll topped with pulled pork to grilled-fennel soup with crab; mains might be perfectly done pork chops, pan-seared day-boat scallops, sweet-potato enchiladas or grilled shrimp and grits.

Desserts have an American spin, from chewy butterscotch blondies to creative flavors of house-made ice cream.

With reasonable menu pricing and $5 corkage, Bonfili is making good on the vision he shared with Jenn in opening the restaurant (she manages and works the front of the house after previous stints at Red Room and Six Penn Kitchen): It’s a place where they, a hard-working couple with two young kids, could afford to eat out a couple of nights a week. As we all know, every neighborhood in town could use a restaurant exactly like that.


Avenue B: 5501 Centre Ave., Shadyside; 412/683-3663, avenueb-pgh.com.
 

Edit Module

Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best Doctors in Pittsburgh

Best Doctors in Pittsburgh

Our exclusive list of the region's 584 leading physicians across 76 specialities.
Endless Challenges: 48 Remarkable Hours with 8 Pittsburgh Doctors

Endless Challenges: 48 Remarkable Hours with 8 Pittsburgh Doctors

Follow eight physicians over two days as they perform surgeries, consult on end-of-life care, treat accident victims, discuss hospital programs –– and then reset and do it all over again.
The Commoner — Too Much of a Good Thing?

The Commoner — Too Much of a Good Thing?

Chef Dennis Marron designs a menu of modern-American fare at The Commoner in the downstairs space of Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh.
What Inspires Ray Gastil's Careful Plan for Pittsburgh's Future

What Inspires Ray Gastil's Careful Plan for Pittsburgh's Future

How will the city’s new planning director stoke Pittsburgh’s next generation of developments?
Edit ModuleShow Tags

The 412

Two Pittsburgh Restaurants Closing; Kings Leaving the Family

Two Pittsburgh Restaurants Closing; Kings Leaving the Family

One of the eateries has been a staple in Bloomfield for more than a half-century.
Who's Carson? Why Does He Have His Own Street?

Who's Carson? Why Does He Have His Own Street?

Some of the names synonymous with Pittsburgh have surprising histories behind them.
Aviary Determined to Have Dwindling Condors Leave the Nest

Aviary Determined to Have Dwindling Condors Leave the Nest

The National aAviary is working to send ’Burgh-born birds back to their natural habitats to boost endangered populations.
Are You Missing Out? Why More People Love Life in Butler County

Are You Missing Out? Why More People Love Life in Butler County

Cranberry Township is crammed, but people still are flocking north.
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Hot Reads

Best Doctors in Pittsburgh

Best Doctors in Pittsburgh

Our exclusive list of the region's 584 leading physicians across 76 specialities.
Endless Challenges: 48 Remarkable Hours with 8 Pittsburgh Doctors

Endless Challenges: 48 Remarkable Hours with 8 Pittsburgh Doctors

Follow eight physicians over two days as they perform surgeries, consult on end-of-life care, treat accident victims, discuss hospital programs –– and then reset and do it all over again.
The Commoner — Too Much of a Good Thing?

The Commoner — Too Much of a Good Thing?

Chef Dennis Marron designs a menu of modern-American fare at The Commoner in the downstairs space of Kimpton’s Hotel Monaco Pittsburgh.
What Inspires Ray Gastil's Careful Plan for Pittsburgh's Future

What Inspires Ray Gastil's Careful Plan for Pittsburgh's Future

How will the city’s new planning director stoke Pittsburgh’s next generation of developments?
Dare to be Different — PittGirl's Better Ways to Use Social Media

Dare to be Different — PittGirl's Better Ways to Use Social Media

You can use social media to change your life and the lives of those around you in a positive way.
Pittsburgh's Top 10 in April

Pittsburgh's Top 10 in April

The 10 best things to do in April in Pittsburgh.
Edit ModuleShow Tags Edit Module