SF restaurant that was in ‘Mrs. Doubtfire moves to Texas

Baonecci Ristorante, a treasured Italian restaurant that’s been in the heart of North Beach for over 15 years, has a new home halfway across the country.

The city mourned the loss of the local gem when owners Walter and Stefania Gambaccini, originally from Lucca and who took over the former Danilo Bakery space in 2004, closed shop last year after apparently facing challenges related to the pandemic. But it seems the end of an era for San Francisco is a new beginning for Frisco, Texas, where the couple recently moved and are opening a new iteration of their restaurant, also named Caffe Baonecci.

“We traveled to see how places were dealing with COVID-19, and we had friends here,” Walter told Dallas CultureMap on Thursday. “We saw that Texas was booming, especially where we are in Frisco.”

Commonly hailed as a standout Italian restaurant in a neighborhood teeming with them, Baonecci Ristorante was known for its steep thin-crust pizzas, fresh pastas, and warm, homey vibe. Former Chronicle restaurant critic Michael Bauer named the place one of his favorites in North Beach in 2018, and it was named by Eater as one of the best Italian restaurants in San Francisco.

Baonecci’s space on the corner of Green Street and Bannam Place has also had a few big screen appearances. Daniel Hillard’s character, played by Robin Williams, moved into an apartment above the restaurant (then Danilo Bakery), where he transformed into the titular nanny in “Mrs. Doubtfire,” and the restaurant was later featured in Tim Burton’s 2014 film “Big Eyes.” Artist Jeremy Fish also painted the restaurant’s iconic logo in exchange for a free lifetime pizza.

“It’s the most authentic Italian food in SF,” he said.

A logo for the restaurant designed by local artist Jeremy Fish in 2016.

Katie M./Yelp

The new spot will retain some of the tried-and-true favorites from the original location, like hearty bolognese and tortellini stuffed with porcini mushrooms, but will now feature a full bar with specialty cocktails like an Aperol spritz and Negroni.

Caffe Baonecci is expected to open later this spring.

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