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 Sunday, Sept. 21, the 264th day of 2014. There are 101 days left in the year.
1864 -- 150 years ago: We hear that Col. Reynolds has employed C.D. Merrill to drill for water to supply the Rock Island Barracks. 1889 -- 125 years ago: Billy Catton, famous billard player, returned to Rock Island with a view to making this city his home in the future. 1914 -- 100 years ago: The belief is growing that a great decisive battle of the World War was being fought at Verdun, a strong fortress of France on the Meuse near the French frontier, according to a London dispatch. 1939 -- 75 years ago: William Stremmel, 91, Rock Island's last Civil War veteran, died. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Workmen of the Midwest Wrecking Co., Clinton, have begun razing the historic old office building of Deere & Co., 1325 3rd Ave., Moline. The site will be used by the Deere Plow Works for its shipping and receiving department. 1989 -- 25 years ago: East Moline developer Jim Massa says the financial package for the proposed $34.5 million Quad City International Motor Speedway is down to making sure "all the i's are dotted and t's are crossed. Finalizing this will give the green light to see if NASCAR and CART, the auto racing sanctioning bodies, approve race dates.