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 Friday, Aug. 22, the 234th day of 2014. There are 131 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: The ferry boat, Rock Island, having been put in good order at the boat yard is now making her regular trips, much to the gratification of those who have to cross the river. 1889 -- 125 years ago: W.J. Gamble, for many years superintendent of the Moline & Rock Island railway, leased the Fourth Avenue Hotel and renovated and refurnished it throughout. 1914 -- 100 years ago: Pending the building of new public schools or additions to the present ones to provide adequate room for all the children, the board of education decided that pupils younger than 6 years old would not be accepted in Rock Island schools. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The fifth annual New Windsor Fair and Horse show, which has been delayed for two days because of unfavorable weather, got off to a new start last night. The parade was held this morning. 1964 -- 50 years ago: The Rock Island County Fair and Rodeo will celebrate its silver anniversary this year. The fair opens Tuesday and will run through Saturday and offers entertainment and activity for young and old. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Earl Hanson School, Rock Island, joins the Program to Assist Latch Key Student, which aids working parents. PALS is a before and after school program for grades 1-6 in certain Rock Island public and private schools.