Venice Cafe gets new owner, Taco Tonto’s partnership



Rebecca Reis

Two downtown Kent mainstays will soon be joining forces, as the Venice Cafe will soon incorporate Taco Tonto’s into its menu.

Mike Beder, owner of Water Street Tavern and co-owner of Tree City Coffee and Pastry, officially became Venice Cafe’s owner Wednesday. The Ricciardi family, who have owned the Venice for three generations, will still own the building, and Beder said he does not plan for drastic changes to the bar’s feel.

“We are going to put a stage in for some live music and obviously the kitchen set up with Taco Tonto’s coming in will be a little different,” Beder said. “But we’re cleaning up the murals on the walls and just freshening it up a little bit.”

Taco Tonto’s will keep its main location at 123 Franklin Ave., and the Venice Cafe will be a satellite location. Beder said the menu will be different than the Taco Tonto’s and will feature signature Venice dishes.

“We are pretty excited to be able to expand into a bigger space,” Taco Tonto’s said in a Facebook post Wednesday.

According to Venice Cafe’s new website at, it will also be the first Kent location to feature a nanobrewery. Nanobreweries are beer-making operations that are smaller than microbreweries. Venice Cafe will also hold Kent Homebrewers Association meetings and beer-making classes in partnership with Label Peelers, a Tallmadge-based beer and wine-making retailer.

Beder said Venice plans to reopen the bar August 29 for the opening week of classes, and will roll out the rest of the changes over time. But Beder is adamant that the Venice Cafe will maintain the same flavor patrons loved in the past.

“We want to keep the atmosphere,” Beder said. “That’s what made the Venice special.”

Contact Rebecca Reis at [email protected].