In 2002, Bento Café: Asian Kitchen + Sushi opened its original location at 3832 W. Newberry Road. On Sept. 15, it will celebrate its 15th anniversary with “15 Days of Bento,” an event that plans to give back to Bento customers and the community.
From Friday to Sept. 29, Bento Café will put forth company-wide promotions, host daily giveaways and rotate specials.
With increased demand to its Newberry Road location, Bento Café opened its Archer Road location in 2007. Ten years later, the restaurant will soon add a third Gainesville location to the space below The Standard apartment complex, joining the Chick-Fil-A and Target Express that is expected to open across the street from the new Publix on 13th Street.
This new location will add to its current spots in Orlando, Jacksonville, Davie and Tallahassee. In 2017, Bento Café will add Pembroke Pines and St. Petersburg to its list of locations, according to a press release.
The Tung brothers grew up in the family restaurant business, and when they were approaching graduation from the University of Florida, they opened the first Bento Café location in the only city they had ever called home.
“Fifteen years ago when we first opened, we never dreamed of expanding out of Gainesville, and now we have plans to expand out of Florida,” Bento owner Johnny Tung said in the release. “Going into the 15th year and growing rapidly, we strive to deliver optimized service and customer experiences without sacrificing quality.”
According to the press release, the 15 Days of Bento will include:
Day 1: Friday, Sept. 15 – Customers who spend $20 will receive a free t-shirt while supplies last.
Day 2: Saturday, Sept. 16 – Half off boba teas
Day 3: Sunday, Sept. 17 – Free combo upgrades
Day 4: Monday, Sept. 18 – Half off any classic roll
Day 5: Tuesday, Sept. 19 – 10 percent of all proceeds will go to the Bento foundation (www.bentofoundation.org)
Day 6: Wednesday, Sept. 20 – Half off spicy cream chicken rice bowl
Day 7: Thursday, Sept. 21 – Gift card giveaway: customers who spend $50 will get a $10 gift card
Day 8: Friday, Sept. 22 – Half off beer and sake
Day 9: Saturday, Sept. 23 – 20 percent off call-in orders to customers who mention “bento turns 15” at checkout
Day 10: Sunday, Sept. 24 – Free kid’s box with the purchase of any entree (roll, bowl or box)
Day 11: Monday, Sept. 25 – One free build-a-poke protein upgrade
Day 12: Tuesday, Sept. 26 – BOGO appetizers
Day 13: Wednesday, Sept. 27 – Customers will get the chance to win a free catered lunch. They must drop a business card to receive instant print coupon for half off catering order (limit $500) and be entered in the drawing.
Day 14: Thursday, Sept. 28 – Bring a friend and get BOGO Chicken Teriyaki Rice Bowls with a student ID
Day 15: Friday, Sept. 29 – The restaurant will announce the winner of free Bento for a year
Emily Adams, a 19-year-old applied physiology and kinesiology student at UF, has been eating at Bento Café since it opened in 2002, as her family has been attending UF football games her whole life.
“I’m so happy about being able to walk to Bento now, because I live right down the street from the new location,” Adams said. “Even if I have to drive to the Newberry Road Bento for now, I’m definitely going to take advantage of the 15 days of specials.”