Bluffton Italian restaurant closed abruptly 4 months ago. It reopens this week

Four months ago, Nonna Lucia suddenly closed its doors, surprising the Bluffton Italian restaurant’s fans.

Tonight the restaurant makes its return with a soft opening at 4 p.m.

“We are just trying to get the word out there that we are reopening and hope people will find us,” said Michelle Licona, co-owner of the restaurant with her husband, chef Julio Licona.

Michelle Licona said the restaurant had to close unexpectedly after problems with their sub-leasing agreement. After putting those issues behind them, the couple signed a new lease in July.

Nonna Lucia is in the same location, 5 Godfrey Place off S.C. 46 near the Bluffton Parkway traffic circle.

Changes include a revised menu and a new early bird menu. The restaurant also has added a catering menu to its offerings.

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Nonna Lucia’s Chef Julio Licona and daughter Michaila work on Wednesday to get the Bluffton restaurant ready for the next day’s reopening. Michelle Licona Submitted

“We still have a lot of the old traditional favorites, like chicken parmesan and eggplant parmesan,” Michelle Licona said. The new menu, however, also will include new vegan and vegetarian options.

“Lifestyles are changing, and people are really jumping on board with the healthier options,” she said. “Our menu is a combination of old traditional Italian and new lighter options.”

For now, patrons can bring their own alcoholic beverages, but the Liconas expect to have a liquor license in a week or two. Once that happens, Nonna Lucia will hold an official grand opening.

Patrons will find a freshly painted and decorated interior that pays homage to the restaurant’s location in the Lowcountry.

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The lobby of Bluffton Italian restaurant Nonna Lucia Michelle Licona Submitted

Michelle Licona said they were aiming for a “comfortable, warm, cozy vibe,” and diners shouldn’t feel like they have to dress up.

“We want locals to be able to come and be comfortable in their shorts and T-shirts and be reminded of this beautiful place we live in,” she said.

Reservations are not required but are recommended, Michelle Licona said.

The restaurant has a new phone number (843-707-4281) and new website at

The restaurant is closed on Mondays. Hours are 4 to 9 p.m. Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday, and 4 to 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Happy hour is 4 to 6 p.m., and live entertainment is planned on Fridays and Saturdays.

Michelle Licona said the restaurant will open for group lunch functions upon request.

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Lisa Wilson is a reporter for The Island Packet and The Beaufort Gazette. The 25-year newsroom veteran has worked for papers in Louisiana and Mississippi and is happy to call the Lowcountry home.