Campus restaurants swap locations

The new restaurant, Manhattan Loft, is opening in Stadium Village next month.

Jared Roddy

As Mangia restaurant owner Julie Wild hustled from the kitchen to the dining room, what she said was slightly alarming.

“I had to put out another fire,” she said.

Putting out fires, figuratively, is something she said she has been doing a lot of lately.

“Opening a restaurant is insanity,” said Wild, whose Mangia restaurant is located in the Dinkydome’s lower level.

Wild and her husband, Sam Wild, are opening another restaurant, The Manhattan Loft, in Stadium Village next month.

The new restaurant will take over the old Bona Vietnamese Restaurant space at 802 Washington Ave.

Bona moved across the street to the European Grind coffee shop’s former location at 815 Washington Ave. in the middle of August. The two restaurants’ owners said they hope customers will find their way to the new locations.

The Wilds also own Dinkydome restaurant Taste of Manhattan, which used to be called Mangia Express. Taste of Manhattan will return to its old name once the Manhattan Loft opens.

Julie Wild said that, although Manhattan Loft’s new location will seat three times as many customers as the Taste of Manhattan, it will still have the “just-stop-in-for-lunch” atmosphere of a smaller restaurant.

“We don’t want people to come in and not see the single cash register and think, ‘this place is totally different,’ ” she said. “We want to have the same feeling as before.”

The Manhattan Loft will offer 16 to 25 varieties of unique, hand-tossed pizzas by the slice and will be open until 3 a.m. on weekends. Tap beer will be available along with other dining options, including chicken and potatoes.

“Maybe even late-night hamburgers. Who knows?” Julie Wild said. “The great thing is you can walk in and spend $4 and get fed, not $4.05 or $3.98.”

The Wilds said they had hoped to open their new restaurant by the first week of classes, but they are now aiming for early October.

Stadium Village Commercial Association President Jim Rosvold, who is also the general manager of Campus Pizza, said he isn’t losing sleep over the new competition.

“There are four pizza joints on that street, five if you include Domino’s,” Rosvold said. “It’s like having car dealerships on the same street; they’re all cars, but they’re all different types.”

Bona Vietnamese Restarant owner Hien Tran said her move, which occurred three weeks ago, took a long time and cost a lot of money. It has also affected business.

“We’re having trouble getting people to find the new location,” Tran said. “The sign is a little small and it’s blocked by the trees.”

The new Bona Vietnamese Restarant has updated its interior from green-and-pink booths, to black-and-gray chairs and tables. They have also thrown away their green-and-pink awning and replaced the sign with a black, white-and-red one.

The menu, Tran said, has not changed.

Bona Vietnamese Restarant has actually returned to its original location, Rosvold said. Tran now owns the building she moved from in the early 1990s.