Sparks restaurant coming to Bryn Mawr

Owner of Rinata and al Vento taking over Bryn Mawr Coffee Shop space

BRYN MAWR — The owner of Italian restaurants al Vento and Rinata is planning to open a “hole-in-the-wall” restaurant in the building that formerly housed Bryn Mawr Coffee Shop.

Jonathan Hunt, executive chef and co-owner of Sparks, 230 Cedar Lake Road S., said the restaurant would serve “American foods with Mediterranean influences.” No opening date was scheduled as of Jan. 6.

Hunt, who used to live not far from al Vento in South Minneapolis, moved to Bryn Mawr with his wife about five months ago. Hunt, 36, said he has been cooking since he was 15 years old and plans to continue to split his time between the three restaurants.

He opened al Vento about seven years ago, then opened Rinata, 2451 Hennepin Ave. S., about three years ago with co-owner Amor Hantous, a former al Vento server. Hantous also will be co-owner of Sparks.

Hunt described Sparks as a neighborhood restaurant with “very limited” seating. The space is of a similar size to nearby Cuppa Java, 400 Penn Ave. S., a café that serves wine, beer and food, and has a similar triangular floor plan, he said.

A public meeting on Hunt’s application for a class “E” liquor license to allow wine and beer sales is 6:30 p.m. Jan. 17 at Bryn Mawr Presbyterian Church, 420 Cedar Lake Road S.