La Bella Pasteria plans to move around the block to the smaller space it now uses as a party room. The restaurant will lose its lease after 15 years at 109 S. Marion St., owner Michael Pace said.
"The landlord feels a restaurant brings too much [foot] traffic to his building," Pace said.
Pace plans to open at 1103 South Blvd.?#34;a space he owns and now uses as a party room?#34;before the end of the year, likely by Thanksgiving. The La Bella space would be used for Christmas parties that have already been booked.
Moving from the 135-seat Marion Street space to a 50-seat, 1,500-square-foot space will mean a more intimate feel to the restaurant, but the menu will stay the same.
"If anything, we will add some specials," Pace said. "It's going to be a perfect little neighborhood Italian restaurant." Carryout and delivery services will continue at the new location. Outdoor seating will remain approximately in its current location in the alley space near La Bella.
Pace said he will have to downsize his staff with the move, but that he expects to be able to offer most employees positions at a new Italian steakhouse he's opening in Hinsdale. He'll spend $1 million to open the new restaurant just after the new year.
Pace owns the South Boulevard space La Bella is moving into. Former Mar Lac owner Lou Fabbri turned the building into commercial condos, so Pace owns part of the entire building.
He expects to spend roughly $300,000 to build out the space and rebuild the kitchen from scratch. Pace said the kitchen in place hasn't been used in 10 years, as La Bella used its Marion Street kitchen when hosting parties in the South Boulevard space.
"It's very expensive to open a restaurant these days," he said. "It's always a big risk. You gotta make the commitment."
Pace also owns and operates the Avenue Ale House, 825 S. Oak Park Ave., and plans to build a mixed-use eight-unit condominium building in Forest Park at the former home of China Night Restaurant. The first floor of the building will be a restaurant Pace will own and operate, the concept of which he hasn't decided on. He hopes to begin construction on the building by fall.