New Italian bistro bringing family recipes and all-you-can-eat lunch buffet to Southside

March 15, 2024

An Italian bistro offering classic pasta dishes, brick oven-baked pizza and an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet is preparing to open on Jacksonville’s Southside.

Family recipes are at the heart of which hopes to open by the end of this week or early next week at 3820 Southside Blvd., owner George Celen told the Times-Union on Monday.

The bistro menu ranges from wings to pizza, pasta, strombolis, calzones, pita bread wraps, hot and cold hoagies, salads and desserts, said Celen, whose family’s roots extend to Naples on Italy’s West Coast.

Celeno's Bistro, a new Italian restaurant, is preparing to open at 3820 Southside Blvd. on Jacksonville's Southside in the building previously used by Blue Bamboo Canton Bistro, which relocated to Mandarin.

The bistro occupies the majority of the total 7,398-square-foot building that formerly housed , which relocated in January 2021 after 16 years to 10110 San Jose Blvd. in Mandarin. lists the remaining 2,808 square foot section of the building as built out for lease as a small grocery store.

Celeno’s Bistro joins nearby Tinseltown area restaurants including recently opened and and popular and Copeland’s of New Orleans.

On the menu at Celeno’s Bistro

Pizza, along with fresh pasta, stromboli, calzones and more made from family recipes, are featured on the menu of new Italian restaurant Celeno's Bistro.

The bistro will offer an extensive menu reflecting Italy’s diverse cuisine, said Celen, whose family previously owned Vino’s Pizza restaurants in Jacksonville and Fruit Cove.

Celeno’s Bistro will feature locally sourced ingredients prepared using authentic Italian techniques, Celen said.

At $10.99, the lunch buffet will be 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily.

Celen said leading off the menu’s signature dishes are chicken and eggplant parmigianas. The pasta entrees come with garlic bread and a side salad, according to the menu.

  • Chicken Parmigiana ($14.99): A breaded chicken breast pan-fried and topped with homemade tomato sauce and melted mozzarella cheese. Served with a side of spaghetti
  • Eggplant Parmigiana ($13.99): Fresh eggplant sliced, breaded, pan-fried, topped with tomato sauce and melted mozzarella cheese. Served with a side of spaghetti
  • Shrimp Primavera ($16.99): Large shrimp sauteed with fresh garlic, onions, green peppers and mushrooms in marinara sauce and served over pasta with olives
  • Chicken Piccata ($14.99): Chicken breast sauteed in butter, white wine sauce, capers, mushrooms and lemon juice served over pasta
  • Spaghetti ($13.99): A choice of marinara sauce, meat sauce, meatballs or sausage
  • Meatball Cacciatore ($13.99): Meatballs sauteed in tomato sauce with green peppers and onions served over pasta, olives and mushrooms

Baked pasta dishes ($13.99) include cheese ravioli, lasagna, manicotti, cannelloni, ziti and stuffed shells and come with a salad and garlic bread, according to the menu.

Specialty pizzas range from small ($13.99) to extra large ($23.99) and include veggie, meat lovers, chicken spinach alfredo, spicy Caribbean chicken, Hawaiian and Margherita.

Coming soon:

Celeno’s original wraps are rolled in the bistro’s homemade pita bread. Prices depend on the size, the menu shows. The wraps include Chicken ($9.99 or $14.99) grilled or fried with lettuce, tomato, onions and ranch dressing; Philly steak ($9.99 or $14.99) lettuce, tomato, onions and ranch dressing; and Large Jumbo Shrimp ($11.99 or $16.99) sauteed then rolled with lettuce, tomato and ranch dressing.

Other offerings include hot or cold hoagies ($10.99), strombolis ($11.99 to $21.99) and calzones ($8.99 to $13.99). In addition, the restaurant also offers chicken wings from $7.99 for five to $24.99 for 20, the menu shows.

Celeno’s Bistro is open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday, and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

Teresa Stepzinski is the dining reporter for the Times-Union. Follow her on X, formerly known as Twitter, @TeresaStepz or reach her via email at [email protected].

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