College Hill’s Belmont Street has long been one of Wichita’s most storied streets — including being the first electrically illuminated residential street — whose historic 1925 arches greet drivers at Douglas and at Central.
Now, there is going to be a restaurant named for it, too.
The group bringing a restaurant and bar to Happiness Plaza, the center at Douglas and Clifton, is naming the business the Belmont.
“With the name recognition for College Hill, we thought that that would really draw attention,” says Tory DeMarce.
He says the Belmont’s upscale-but-friendly atmosphere “is kind of the feeling we’re wanting to have from the ambiance and decor in the restaurant.”
DeMarce is opening the restaurant with is wife, the former Melanie Zepick — a Wichita native — and Phoenix investors and brothers Ryan and Anthony Francisco, both of whom grew up in Wichita.
Though they’re a little behind a planned early March opening, Tory DeMarce says they now hope to open by late March, which practically counts as on time as far as restaurant openings go.
“Everything’s really been pretty good,” DeMarce says. “We took a lot of time doing a lot of due diligence.”
Still, there have been a few surprises, such as the need to add more power to the building and update the plumbing.
DeMarce says they’re putting up drywall now, then they’ll paint, install tile and, finally, add fixtures.
The 100-seat building will have a 40-seat patio along its north side facing Douglas.
DeMarce says the intent is to have a neighborhood restaurant and bar that’s “super approachable.”
“Not too uppity or anything of that sort.”
He says it will “for sure” be casual, but, “We want it to kind of suit everyone for what they’re looking for.”
That could be a quick lunch, a dinner with kids or a place to celebrate special occasions.
The food will be what DeMarce describes as American home cooking, such as a ham-and-cheese sandwich, a fried chicken sandwich, salmon and rotating fish dishes, salads and burgers.
There also will be signature cocktails, wine by the bottle and glass and beer from local breweries.
Icon Structures is the general contractor.
DeMarce says the Belmont name should help potential diners know where it’s located.
“We’re excited to be in College Hill and in Wichita,” he says. “Can’t wait to open the doors.”