A Romeo for Juliet?

Celebrated Austin Italian restaurant delivers new ghost kitchen concept

Celebrated Austin Italian restaurant delivers ghost kitchen concept

What light through yonder window breaks? Oh, it's your Benvolio's delivery! Benvolio's/Facebook

The restaurateurs behind beloved local eatery Juliet Italian Kitchen want Austin to “ciao” down on their latest concept: a ghost kitchen called Benvolio’s that specializes in unique takes on classic Italian dishes.

The online-only Benvolio’s offers delivery through Uber Eats, Grubhub, and DoorDash from its North Austin ghost kitchen space, with salads, toasted and cold sandwiches, and pizza anchoring the lunch and dinner menus.

Aiming to highlight a diverse range of flavors, Benvolio’s won’t just focus on Italian fare, though, also including the flavors of Greece and the Lone Star State in menu items like the Greek sub (chicken, pepperoncini, fresh veggies) and the Texas barbecue pulled pork sandwich.

There’s even a little Hawaiian and Cajun flair, although the cleverly named Capulets Club sammie, pizza, and salad (each with turkey, ham, bacon, a Dijon honey mustard drizzle, and a smattering of other ingredients) provoke delicious thoughts of sister restaurant Juliet’s divine Italian cuisine, which surely isn’t a bad thing. Even the Benvolio’s name is a reference to a character — Romeo’s cousin — in Shakespeare’s classic Romeo and Juliet, making it a fitting moniker for the new sister concept.

“We wanted the menu at Benvolio’s to represent classic Italian with a twist,” says chef and director of culinary operations Wade Guice. “Using traditional dishes as a foundation, the inspiration behind many of the dishes is rooted in the flavors our community loves, combined in unexpected ways.”

With the launch of the new Benvolio’s concept, owners and husband-and-wife team Dan and Donna Wilkins are also formally debuting their new management company, Veneto Hospitality, which formed with the opening of Juliet’s Arboretum location in March. Helming Veneto is chief operations officer Bryan Cromwell and Guice, who together manage the two Juliet locations, as well as the new Benvolio’s.

“We are thrilled to introduce Veneto Hospitality with the launch of Benvolio’s,” Donna Wilkins says. “As a locally owned brand, operating our expanding restaurant portfolio under Veneto will allow us to serve the Austin community in new ways and grow with it. Utilizing innovative dining concepts, like we are doing with Benvolio’s, provides the added ability to reach more Austinites than ever before.” 

And that idea may be more prescient than the Wilkinses first realized, as ghost kitchen concepts — typically restaurants that operate out of a commercial kitchen and offer only delivery or takeout service — have become increasingly popular in Austin in the past year, particularly as foodies are engaging with restaurant brands in other ways besides dining indoors amid the pandemic.

Benvolio’s is open for business seven days a week from 11 am-9 pm. Visit the Benvolio’s website for ordering details.