By Autumn Gates
From the curb, The Bohemian looks minimalist with its clean, all-white exterior and aesthetic patio dining. Only the Zen statues near the door and a zebra print rug hint at the eclectic vibe inside the doors of the restaurant and Boho Bar.
The senses awaken as guests take in the vibrant, aqua-colored walls, accented with glinting gold-framed mirrors and bold art pieces. The space is filled with textures and patterns — velvet barstools, palm tree wallpaper, globe wall sconces and cozy carpet throughout the restaurant.
The funky decor foreshadows the dining experience ahead.
“It’s Bohemian — we have a little bit of everything,” says our server, Britney Calderon.
Sharable plates allow diners to “eat and drink with no commitment,” adds Chef-Owner Brandon Schewe.
He and his wife, Caitlin Emery, are the visionaries behind this unique dining concept that opened in downtown Bonita Springs in February 2022. Emery brought in her mother to help design the place with an artsy, free-spirited feel.
Schewe and Emery also own a coffee shop down the street which they opened in a retrofitted bank building. The Bohemian is their first restaurant concept.
Schewe likes to support local businesses when it comes to sourcing the freshest ingredients. The Bohemian gets produce from Farmer Mike’s, meats from Circle C Farm and fresh-baked bread from Cusano’s Bakery. Freshly caught seafood is delivered daily, and organic herbs are harvested right from the restaurant’s own rooftop garden.
Several of the dishes are attractively plated on heavy slabs of slate, which made Calderon’s arms sore her first week of serving!
The Bohemian’s cuisine is as eclectic as its decor. Inspiration for dishes comes from around the globe — Peruvian ceviche, Caribbean fritters, Japanese sweet potatoes and more. The menu is constantly changing according to what’s in season. Schewe likes to keep it intriguing.
“We twist the cuisines in our own way and have created a unique vibe that makes people want to come back,” he says.
Several dishes are prepared in the Florida hardwood oak grill, including a wood-fired flatbed featuring house-made lamb sausage. Additionally, all desserts are made in-house daily, including the surprising Sweet Potato Beignets, served with creamy sorghum gelato.
The extensive drink menu features local beers from Florida breweries, hard seltzers, handcrafted cocktails and international wines. Non-alcoholic refreshments include local organic drip coffee, Italian soda, indigenous mineral water and glass-bottle Mexican Coke made with cane sugar.
Unlike most chefs, Schewe didn’t grow up in a family of great cooks, but he did learn some things from his grandmother. He remembers she kept animal fat under the sink, had a tomato garden and made everything from scratch.
His own love of cooking developed through a series of restaurant jobs in college. He started as a busboy for PF Chang’s and worked his way up to the kitchen as he studied business at Florida Gulf Coast University.
“Cooking is my passion,” he now says. “I love making good, from-the-heart food.”
Open from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. nightly, The Bohemian is a great place to meet up with friends, enjoy a date night or go for late-night, out-of -the ordinary snacks. A multi-course tasting menu and wine nights are also in the works.
With Emery’s eye for design and Schewe’s culinary creativity, The Bohemian Restaurant offers a dining experience that’s unlike any other.
Grilled Stonefruit Burrata — This light and refreshing salad stars peaches (or whichever pitted fruit is in season) along with mixed greens and mild burrata cheese. It’s served with ciabatta toast and sprinkled with onion ash, plus gently drizzled saba reduction and olive oil.
Warm Crab & Lobster Jar — Seafood in a jar? You bet! This shareable starter is a fan favorite. “It hooks everyone,” our server said. Tender cooked crab and lobster meat is served in herb citrus butter with flavors infused from lemon, lime and orange zest, along with fresh chives and parsley. Grilled bread is the vehicle to get this tasty treat from jar to mouth!
Sweet Pig Buns — This Asian fusion dish features pork topped with house-made kimchi, Gochujang (spicy red chili paste), sliced pickles, cilantro, onion ash and sesame seeds, all served inside a pillowy lotus bun — “like biting into a cloud!”
Roasted Bone Marrow & Brisket — This impressive, signature dish features a femur bone cut canoe-style with delicate and flavorful marrow inside, along with slow-cooked braised brisket. It’s served with chimichurri, pickled red onions, garlic confit, gremolata sauce and a side of charred bread.
Diver Scallops — These tender, meaty scallops come perfectly seared for full-flavored perfection and sit atop a tasty parsnip puree. The dish is served with dollops of romesco (red pepper sauce), Marcona almonds and fennel ragu.
Sous Vide Coconut Custard — This creamy custard is made with condensed milk, coconut milk, eggs and vanilla bean using a special water-bath cooking technique. It’s tastily topped with cilantro simple syrup and torched grapefruit, and garnished with desecrated coconut and micro cilantro. This delightful dessert is the perfect sweet note to end on — and will compel you to come back for more!
The Bohemian Restaurant
27975 Old 41 Road, Suite 104
Historic Downtown Bonita Springs