Bella Vita taking over for Bertolini's in Circle Centre

December 8, 2009
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The Italian restaurant Bella Vita is taking the first-floor space in Circle Centre mall formerly occupied by Bertolini's. The new restaurant is owned by Indianapolis restaurateur Henri Najem and his wife, Shelley. They've operated a Bella Vita in the area since 1998, the past five years at Geist Marina. Najem signed a five-year lease for 6,700 square feet at Circle Centre next to P.F. Chang's and Champps and expects the restaurant to open in early January, pending approval of a liquor license. The high-traffic space Bella Vita will occupy in Circle Centre has been empty since Bertolini's, part of Chicago-based Morton's Restaurant Group, closed in March 2008. Embattled local businessman Tim Durham is not involved in the downtown Bella Vita project, but he has partnered with Najem on previous attempts to expand the restaurant. The full story is here, and an earlier blog post is here.

  • Old Bertolinis
  • Yes...
    ...we got that from the blog post.
  • scary
    It's a risky business, but good luck to them. They're good.
  • How does it compare?
    Has anyone in Geist or thereabouts tried the version of this restaurant up there? Online reviews are generally unflattering.
  • Food
    A lot of people do slam Bella Vita in the online ratings, but I think the food is generally pretty decent. The service, on the other hand, can be spotty. Seems to be much better when the owners are on premises. When they're not there, the service slips a lot.

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