In a week that saw one of Downtown New Bedford's most historic restaurants close its doors, a new eatery will soon step up to the plate. According to its owners, Krystal and Joe Cruz, Bento's Bar and Grill will soon be open for business.

The location will be at the former Cafe Italia, 555 Pleasant Street in New Bedford, right across from the former downtown New Bedford Police Station.

Who is Bento?

Bento's Bar and Grill is named in memory of Krystal Bento Cruz's father, Gerald Bento, who passed away in 2021.

WFHN-FM/FUN 107 logo
Get our free mobile app


"He's a Vietnam veteran, and his legacy inspires us daily," Bento Cruz said.

What Will the Bento's Menu Look Like?

Joe Cruz said his top picks for appetizers are extra-large mozzarella sticks and the Bento's wings. He's also looking forward to the classic steak plates which will include steak, fries and rice.


READ MORE: Your 2024 Guide to Outdoor Dining on the SouthCoast

"Customers will pick their meats, then choose from six or seven sides to go along with your entrees," he said. "The restaurant will take the best of the diverse cultures celebrated in the city.  We'll feature American, Portuguese and Spanish dishes."

Prior to this venture, Joe Cruz owned and operated a pizza shop on King's Highway in New Bedford. The couple then found Tony's Cafe and Bar in the South End. They were set to purchase Tony's when it was destroyed by a devastating fire. Heartbroken, the couple resumed their search, finally discovering the former Cafe Italia as the location for their dream.

Bento's Bar and Grill via Facebook
Bento's Bar and Grill via Facebook

When Will Bento's Open?

"We're waiting on the green light from the City of New Bedford," Joe Cruz said. "We'll open a couple of weeks after we get final approval, which we expect relatively soon."

The owners are excited to bring up-scale dining and nightlife to New Bedford along with live music and DJs.

Help Wanted

The owners say they have been "bombarded" with people who are looking to work at the new restaurant. They have already hired some, but are looking for a few more employees.

Your Complete Guide to Outdoor Dining on the SouthCoast

We compiled a list of all of the restaurants on the SouthCoast that offer outdoor dining. That's right. We did all the legwork for you. Now all you have to do is pick one and call to make that reservation so you can dine al fresco tonight.

Gallery Credit: Kasey Dudek

LOOK: 20 American foods that raise eyebrows outside of the US

Stacker compiled a list of 20 unusual and uniquely American foods that might raise eyebrows outside the U.S.

Gallery Credit: Charlotte Barnett

LOOK: Here Are 30 Foods That Are Poisonous to Dogs

To prepare yourself for a potential incident, always keep your vet's phone number handy, along with an after-hours clinic you can call in an emergency. The ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center also has a hotline you can call at (888) 426-4435 for advice.

Even with all of these resources, however, the best cure for food poisoning is preventing it in the first place. To give you an idea of what human foods can be dangerous, Stacker has put together a slideshow of 30 common foods to avoid. Take a look to see if there are any that surprise you.

Gallery Credit: Rachel Cavanaugh

More From WFHN-FM/FUN 107