MOLINE -- Residential growth in downtown Moline, combined with several projects planned and underway, has sparked even more business.
A new restaurant, Brix, is scheduled to open in mid-April or early May at 425 15th St., the former location of the bar Wide Open. The restaurant will offer pastas, salads, baked sandwiches, appetizers and nontraditional specialty pizzas baked in a brick oven.
Mike DeWitte, owner of the Barrel House in Davenport and Moline, and Mark VanSeveren, are the owners of Brix. Mr. DeWitte said exterior improvements began in mid-December and are almost complete. Work has included new brick and a copper-like covering on areas of the facade. New awnings and a sign will be installed.
The interior renovation began Feb. 1. Historical elements -- such as an ornate ceiling, pillars and a brick wall -- were retained and additional brick walls will be uncovered and exposed, Mr. DeWitte said. A new bar also is under construction, as well as a display kitchen with a brick pizza oven visible to people walking past windows on 15th Street that have been uncovered and replaced.
The display kitchen also is accessible from a door on 15th Street that let customers stop in and buy pizza by the slice until 2 a.m. Thursday through Saturday, Mr. DeWitte said.
Brix also will offer a high-end list of wines and 20 draft beers on tap, many of them locally-brewed. The restaurant will seat about 120 customers and employ 40 to 50 people.
Mr. DeWitte said he created the name and concept for Brix years ago.
"I always had this concept ready; I didn't know if or when it would happen," he said. When the building owner told him the space was available, Mr. DeWitte said he saw how well the concept would fit the space and thought, "Why not?"
Mr. DeWitte said he believed there was room for more restaurants in downtown Moline, which has a large and growing residential population. The iwireless Center, the growing Western Illinois University Riverfront Campus and the proposed Amtrak station and extended stay hotel will continue to bring more people downtown, Mr. DeWitte said.
"As long as we maintain good service and quality food, we will be a staple in downtown Moline," Mr. DeWitte said.
Today is Thursday, July 24, the 205th day of 2014. There are 160 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: The Rev. R.J. Humphrey, once a clergyman in this city, was reported killed in a quarrel in New Orleans. 1889 -- 125 years ago: The Rock Island Citizens Improvement Association held a special meeting to consider the proposition of consolidating Rock Island and Moline. 1914 -- 100 years ago: The home of A. Freeman, 806 3rd Ave., was entered by a burglar while a circus parade was in progress and about $100 worth of jewelry and $5 in cash were taken. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The million dollar dredge, Rock Island, of the Rock Island district of United States engineers will be in this area this week to deepen the channel at the site of the new Rock Island-Davenport bridge. 1964 -- 50 years ago: The Argus "walked" to a 13-0 victory over American Container Corporation last night to clinch the championship of Rock Island's A Softball League at Northwest Douglas Park. 1989 -- 25 years ago: The Immediate Care Center emergency medical office at South Park Mall is moving back to United Medical Center on Sept. 1. After nearly six years in operation at the mall, Care Center employees are upset by UMC's decision. The center is used by 700 to 800 people each month.