ScottiBelli’s, the well-known Italian restaurant in downtown Kalispell, is moving down the street to the former site of Genki restaurant.
The move was spurred by uncertainty surrounding the future of his old building, as the owner recently put it up for sale, ScottiBelli’s owner Renato Scottibelli said. He purchased the new building at 302 S. Main St. in mid-November. The real estate website Zillow estimates the cost at about $420,000.
The move won’t herald big changes to the beloved local eatery, but does signify a commitment to being in Kalispell for the long-term future and that it will be a part of what city legislators hope will be a rejuvenated downtown in the years to come as the old railroad tracks are removed and planning decisions guided by the recently passed downtown plan begin to bring in change.
Scottibelli said he expects to be ready to open up shop in the new space by the beginning of February, and until then a lot of work will go into revamping the interior of the building.
“We’re doing a lot of renovation now, we have everything upside down,” he said. “Everything will be brand new.”
He said regular customers shouldn’t expect huge changes when the relocation is complete. The business will retain its beer and wine license and he does not plan on upending the menu in the least, he said.
The size of the new space is roughly the same as the old one, both in the front-of-house dining area and the kitchen in the back, he said.
“It’s a different shape, I think it’s just a little bit smaller,” Scottibelli said. “We might seat the same amount of people.”
Scottibelli said the old location will be open throughout the remodeling process, and the restaurant will retain its current levels of staffing and roster of employees through the transition as well.
He has been operating his namesake restaurant in downtown Kalispell since 2009, and the move was aided by financing from Whitefish Credit Union and the Montana and Idaho Community Development Corporation.
Scottibelli immigrated to the United States from his home in Naples, Italy, in 1972, according to a biography posted on his Kalispell restaurant’s website. He opened a small restaurant with his brother in New York City, which they operated for nine years before moving to California and opening a pizza parlor in the city of Whittier. The pizza parlor remains open today.
Between 1983 and 2009 Scottibelli opened a handful of other restaurants in Southern California before falling in love with Montana on a summer vacation, a trip that spurred yet another dramatic life change and brought Kalispell one of its signature local eateries.
Reporter Peregrine Frissell can be reached at 758-4438 or firstname.lastname@example.org.