Construction has started on a new full-service kitchen and expanded dining room at Bell’s Eccentric Café in downtown Kalamazoo, company officials announced this week.
The gastro pub-style space will add about 130 seats and occupy more than 6,600 square feet in a space that in the past has served as a warehouse to the east of the café, the original Bell’s Brewery, and a full service gas station.
“Our goal is to match and even enhance the high quality beer that is already being served with high quality food and service,” says Jason Reicherts, director of retail at Bell’s. “Our staff training program will feature an ever evolving and ongoing course of modules covering everything from the latest news in the craft beer industry to food and beer pairings.”
Kitchen management and Bell’s president and founder, Larry Bell, are collaborating on the menu. Among other things, the restaurant will feature fish and chips, fresh-ground burgers, salads, steamed mussels, and eggs.
“We will try to source our ingredients locally whenever we can,” says Reicherts. “But our focus will also be non-GMO and organic foods. Quality is the top priority, no matter where it comes from.”
Architect Nelson Nave, structural engineer company Nehil-Sivak, and construction company Maxwell & Associates are working on the project.
The new dining space will include a gas fireplace and mosaic tile floor, and the bar inside the original café will be expanded into the space where the current 150-square-foot kitchen resides, making way for even more seating. The expansion will also include an employee area for the cafes 120-person staff, with added parking.
In the meantime, weekend brewery tours at Bell’s original brewery will be put on hold. “There may be some minor inconveniences in the interim, but the end result will be more than worth it,” Reicherts says. “We hope our customers will be patient with us as we work to bring them an even better experience here at the Eccentric Cafe.”