CEDAR RAPIDS — Bella, a new Italian restaurant opening soon in downtown Cedar Rapids, will aim to bring back customers with a simple formula.
“Quality, quantity and moderate prices” is the magic combination, according to owner Sal Kaba, of Fort Worth, Texas.
Bella will open in midsummer at 221 Second Ave. SE, most likely in July, Kaba said on Friday. The site is the former location of Blend.
Kaba said he was researching potential restaurant locations in 2008 and picked Cedar Rapids. The downtown, he said, is more than halfway through its flood recovery and needs more quality restaurants to enhance the city’s image.
His Cafe Bella in Fort Worth offers a wide assortment of veal, chicken, seafood and sub sandwich specialties. Luncheon specials are priced between $6 and $8, and dinner specials between $11 and $17 that include salad and bread.
Kaba expects to offer BYOB wine service, at least initially.
Kaba plans to do without a cascading water wall that was a central feature of Blend, but otherwise plans relatively few changes to the ground-floor space, leased from Steve Emerson.
Blend, a contemporary fusion restaurant, was a source of downtown pride. It operated for a short time before the June 2008 flood swamped the restaurant’s interior.
It reopened in four months, only to succumb to reduced downtown traffic and a sluggish economy in January 2010.