by Kevin Dicciani
Bruno’s Restaurant will celebrate its 25th anniversary on Thursday, Jan. 16. Owner Tim Bruno said that after all these years he still wakes up at 5:07 in the morning and anticipates the rush of working on the grill – although, he noted, he doesn’t like to call himself a cook.
“I’m a P.O.H.,” he said. “A Purveyor of Happiness.”
Born and raised in Chestnut Hill, Bruno, 57, “a young 57,” has a wife and five children. When he first opened the restaurant in 1989, it was his family who motivated him to make the restaurant the success it is today.
“When you have a family,” he added, “that’s what makes you work hard.”
As well as being a motivating force, all of his children worked at Bruno’s at one point in time when they were growing up.
“They’re all coming back for the anniversary,” Bruno said. “Now they’re all grown up and doing their own things, so it’ll be a chance for them to relive their memories.”
The restaurant is not only nostalgic for his children, but for its patrons too, some of whom have been coming back two to three times a week since it first opened its doors.
“I think it’s the laid-back, family atmosphere,” he said, speaking of Bruno’s allure. “People who worked here 20 years ago come back to eat with their children. It makes me smile. It also makes me feel old.”
The employees, former and current, he pointed out, are the real reason for Bruno’s endurance.
“I don’t want any of the attention,” he said. “You can’t do it without good employees. They deserve all the credit.”
To celebrate it all – the restaurant, his family, the employees and the customers – Bruno has plenty of things planned . . .
On Jan. 16, Bruno’s will return to its original menu – and prices – from 1989. For example, a burger that costs $5.78 will cost $2.19; a milkshake, now $5.58, will be $1.99, and a $3.48 cup of soup will cost only 89 cents.
The main event, “Bruno’s Birthday Party,” will be held Jan. 18 from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Along with a special 25th anniversary cake, there will be prizes and giveaways: T-shirts, sweatshirts, hats, coffee mugs and free dinners.
From Jan. 21 to Jan. 24, all customers will receive 25 percent off their total bill.
Throughout the entire month of February all coffee and fountain sodas will cost 25 cents, and each week certain favorites, like the Father Casey Special or the Chestnut Hill Hoagie, will sell for their original price.
For the whole month of March, Bruno’s will be holding a contest in which customers can create their very own sandwich. The winning sandwich will then go on the menu to “last the next 25 years.”
“I’m just trying to show my appreciation for the customers,” Bruno said. “I want to thank them for helping us out because, without them, none of this would’ve happened.”
Looking ahead, he said that as long as he has “strong legs, good people to work with and a tough wife,” Bruno’s will someday celebrate its 50th anniversary.
“It’s still addicting,” he said. “There’s something new everyday. After 25 years, there’s always something you’ve never seen before.”
With that kind of wonderment and dedication it seems that Bruno’s will be purveying happiness for many years to come.
Bruno’s is located at 9800 Germantown Ave., at the corner of Northwestern Ave. For more information call 215-242-1880 or visit their website brunosofchestnuthill.com/Brunos/Home.html.