New Eats and Treats: Bella Donna’s opens bistro in old Maggie’s Buns location

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Brendan Swogger

Owner Donna Gustafson (left) serves up a homemade cannoli, while server Savannah and husband Rodney Gustafson work in the kitchen

Brendan Swogger, Student Life Editor

After 22 years of service, unique Forest Grove staple Maggie’s Buns closed their doors last February. Though the closing of the longtime restaurant was a sad departure, a new business hopes to fill their gap.

Over Pacific University’s winter break, Forest Grove native Donna Gustafson opened Bella Donna’s Bistro and Patisserie alongside her husband, Rodney Gustafson. Bella Donna’s is a European inspired cafe that hopes to cater to the community Maggie’s Buns left behind.

Though filling the shoes of such a beloved location was a bit of a daunting task, the community has already embraced their presence.

“Everybody has really received us well,” said Donna. “They love the new decor. They love the open floor plan and the colors and the feel of the restaurant. And they really love the European spin on all of the food.”

Each menu item at Bella Donna’s states the country where the dish originated, bringing a little slice of European culture to the bistro. On the breakfast menu: crepes from France, a Swedish parfait, even custard french toast from first century Rome. And for lunch, more European delicacies in the form of sweet and savory crepes, salads and even a Bella Donna’s original, a black pastrami port sandwich served over Russian rye.

Being so close to campus, Bella Donna’s is focused on creating a welcoming environment for Pacific students to study and spend time in the restaurant, according to owners. Inside the bistro, Bella Donna’s has a specially designated “study hall” bar with a long table and outlets for laptops and other devices. In addition, Bella Donna’s offers a 10% discount to all Pacific students.

“Some restaurants don’t want people to buy one cup of coffee and then hang out for hours,” says Donna. “We want them to hang out for hours. We’ll just keep refilling that coffee cup.”

For more information, including location and hours, visit belladonnasbistro.com