Many restaurant owners dream about being their own landlord. It’s this simple thought that sparked the idea for Da Biuso, a restaurant that, once open, will operate out of a school bus. (Yes, you heard correctly.) A repurposed 12.5-metre Iveco school bus to be exact.

Behind the mobile fine-dining restaurant is the Biuso family: restaurant manager Sarah Biuso, her head-chef husband Biagio Biuso and their chef son Joseph Biuso. It’s an ambitious project that Sarah says is the first of its kind in Australia.

“The dream is not to have a landlord,” Sarah tells Broadsheet. “[And we liked] the idea of being mobile and not stuck to one location. We’re completely self-contained and can go anywhere we want.”

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You may recognise the Biuso family from Casa Nostra Ristorante in Fortitude Valley, which they closed in 2022 to focus on Da Biuso. During the early stages of the pandemic, the Biusos discovered a demand for their degustation menus.

“During Covid we had to decrease our [customer] numbers because we couldn’t get extra staff, but those that were dining with us were really keen on our degustation menu,” Sarah says. “We decided we’d look for a smaller space, because we loved how we were operating.”

That’s when Biagio had the idea to convert a school bus into a tiny restaurant. The fit-out proved complicated and caused a two-month delay, but the Biusos are confident about a March 3 launch date at the Ascot Green. The idea is for the bus to pop up at various scenic locations for a few months at a time before moving onto a new spot.

Food truck outfitter Van Demons Vans has transformed the bus into a beautiful dark green and gold coach. Inside, it resembles the first-class carriage of a European train from the early 20th century. It’s elegant with patterned carpet, cream-coloured upholstered chairs with white tablecloth tables, and gorgeous wood detailing.

The compact kitchen (also on the coach) is large enough for Biagio and Joseph to execute an intricate Sicilian-inspired degustation menu. Biagio grew up in Bronte, a small town in Sicily at the base of Mount Etna, eating lots of fresh seafood from the coast and meat from the countryside. Expect dishes such as oysters with sea foam, watermelon granita and caviar cigars; scampi served alongside a spritz cocktail; and Tasmanian lamb with broccoli stufati (stew) and balsamic bone reduction. Diners can opt for the ultimate Da Biuso experience by adding three more courses for an extra cost.

In terms of drinks, Sarah, also a sommelier, will be offering a non-alcoholic pairing and a wine-matching option with plenty of Italian drops. There will also be a range of Italian digestifs, cocktails and beers.

According to Sarah “Da Biuso” means “to go to the Biusos”, which makes sense because you’re basically dining at their place. The staff consists of just the three family members, plus restaurant manager Nicholas Floreancig. “He’s been working with us for years, he’s essentially family,” Sarah says.

Da Biuso is expected to open on March 3 at Ascot Green.

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