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Italian bistro Corydon’s newest dining option

Italian bistro Corydon’s newest dining option
Italian bistro Corydon’s newest dining option
Alex Freudenberg, bartender at Tavolo Italian Bistro, prepares a drink. Photo by J.C. Lyell
J.C. Lyell, Staff Writer, [email protected]

A new casual family dining experience has come to downtown Corydon with Tavolo Italian Bistro. Its grand opening was January 18 and 19.

Tavolo is the newest concept by Southern Hospitality LLC, the group behind 1816 Modern Kitchen & Drinks, located at the corner of Chestnut Street and Capitol Avenue, also in downtown Corydon, and MESA, A Collaborative Kitchen in New Albany.

Southern Indiana entrepreneurs Bobby and Ysha Bass own and operate the restaurant alongside head chef, Casper van Drongelen, general manager Levi Donaldson and bar manager Chad Freudenberg.

Van Drongelen, originally from the Netherlands, has curated the menu, which includes starters such as stuffed mushrooms and baked goat cheese with eggplant chips and lunch options that include pasta bolognese, pasta con la sarde, a meatball sandwich and more.

For dinner, Tavolo has options such as chicken cacciatore, eggplant parmesan, hazelnut trout and pesto and ricotta pasta. A kids’ menu is also available.

“(Van Drongelen) is very well-trained. He’s a very good, high-level chef,” Bobby Bass said. “He’s definitely a great asset to have here in Harrison County.”

Tavolo’s drink options include several wine selections, available by the glass or bottle, domestic, import and craft beers and cocktails such as a barrel-aged Negroni, an Italian Manhattan, an Italian take on the margarita and drinks with frozen peach or frozen limoncello mixes.

The drink menu includes a “vino-cocktails” section that includes a Venitian spritz and a Hugo cocktail.

Bass said Corydon was chosen as the site for Tavolo, which simply means “table” in Italian, after members of the Southern Hospitality group visited the town during the months before and after 1816’s opening.

“We really fell in love with it,” he said. “We saw a lot of traffic coming through and a lot of activity.”

Bass said Town of Corydon representatives were encouraging and accommodating to them throughout that time, and they asked the group to take on the second development.

The new restaurant, located in the JJ Bulleit Building, has been customized to feature work by local artists and nods to historically popular mafiosos. It seats about 70, and Bass said they plan to soon add outdoor seating for diners.

Bass said 1816 has been a success and received great feedback from the community, but that restaurant’s small size meant they initially couldn’t fit a full bar or as much seating as they would have liked.

“We thought, ‘What if we could do everything we couldn’t do (at 1816) over here?’,” he said.

Though 1816 was able to add a full bar and overflow/event seating upstairs recently, Bass said the group also wanted to bring more options to downtown Corydon for consumers.

Overall, he said the reception of both restaurants has been positive so far.

“We’ve just been blown away by the support. People tell us ‘Thank you for coming; Corydon needed places like these’,” Bass said. “We’ve tracked people from Louisville coming down, so that’s good for us and it’s good for the town.”

Looking ahead, Bass said he envisions wine tastings and other events taking place at Tavolo soon and possibly more dining options for Corydon in the coming years.

Tavolo Italian Bistro, located at 204 E. Chestnut St., is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Saturdays and Sundays from 4 to 9 p.m.

To make a reservation, call the restaurant at 812-225-5148.

More information is available at