New name, management coming to Puccini’s Smiling Teeth in The Commons

The city has averted filling another empty restaurant space in The Commons downtown by coming to an agreement with a Bloomington-based businessman who is taking ownership of Puccini’s Smiling Teeth and giving it a new name and brand.

Columbus Redevelopment Commission members approved terms of the new lease on Thursday, including a reduction in city rental fees for the space from $16 per square foot to $11 per square foot and the first six months of operation will be free rent.

Bucceto’s Smiling Teeth will have sister restaurants in Bloomington, where owner Paul Heilbrunn operates two locations there.

For Puccini fans, there is a reason to stay positive — the menus for Puccini’s and Bucceto’s, which include offerings of pizzas called Bill (formerly known as Steve) and Zorba the Pizza, are virtually identical.

For more on this story, see Friday’s Republic.

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Julie McClure is assistant managing editor of The Republic. She can be reached at or (812) 379-5631.