Bello Cucina closes

Restaurant owner says he was unable to strike deal on new lease

Photo by Deb Gau The sign letters for Bello Cucina were taken down on Monday and packed on a trailer waiting on West College Drive. The restaurant, located at the corner of Main Street and College Drive, served its last customers on Saturday.

MARSHALL — For nearly eight years, it had been a prominent business on Marshall’s Main Street. But on Monday, Bello Cucina was empty, its sign lettering taken down and packed onto a trailer.

The Italian restaurant served its last customers on Saturday, said Bello Cucina owner Jason Mueller. He said it wasn’t easy to see the business close and he was grateful for the community’s support over the past several years.

“I want to thank the people of Marshall,” Mueller said.

Mueller said he was closing the Marshall Bello Cucina location after being unable to reach a new lease agreement with Knochenmus Enterprises, the owners of the New Atlantic Hotel building where the restaurant is located. Bello Cucina’s current lease was ending in July, Mueller said.

Mueller said the restaurant closing down would affect two full-time employees and about 20 part-time employees.

The decision to close Bello Cucina comes at the same time that renovations are underway in the Atlantic Hotel and Mercantile Building.

Mike Benson, general manager of Knochenmus Enterprises, said the company did not plan to let the restaurant space sit empty.

“We are big advocates for Marshall and the many small businesses that make it such a great place to live. Having any small business close is always a disappointment to the entire community,” a statement from Knochenmus Enterprises said.

“Like everyone in Marshall, we appreciate the many years that Bello Cucina served our community. Since learning of Bello Cucina’s decision not to extend their lease, we have been actively working to secure a new tenant for the space and are hopeful that we will have exciting news to share in the near future,” it also stated.

Knochenmus Enterprises’ statement said renovations of the second and third floors of the Atlantic Hotel and Mercantile Building will soon be completed. Ralco will occupy the entire second floor, while the third floor will become a new wedding and event center called The Upper Room.

“We have many weddings already booked for the year ahead and the need for a high-quality restaurant on the main level to provide catering and to serve the community has never been greater,” the statement said. “We are actively working with those who have bookings for the current event space to ensure their events are successful and without disruption.”

Bello Cucina has been open at Main Street and College Drive since August 2014. Schwan’s Company owned the building up until summer 2021 when the Knochenmus family bought it with plans to turn part of the upper levels into new Ralco corporate offices.

“I want to thank Schwan’s. They did an incredible job and were a great business to work with,” Mueller said Monday.

“More than anything, I’m thankful for the community,” he said of Bello Cucina’s time in Marshall.

“I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason,” Mueller said. As a page turned for his business, he said, “We’ll see what the new page has on it.”

Bello Cucina has another restaurant location in St. Joseph and Mueller said Bello Cucina gift certificates can still be used there.

Marshall area residents and some regular customers said it was sad to see Bello Cucina go. David Schelkoph said the Marshall Noon Rotary will be looking for a new weekly meeting location now that the restaurant has closed. In addition, Bello Cucina was a nice place to go out for a meal, he said.

“We’re going to miss them,” he said.

“Bello Cucina was very well received in this community,” said Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce President Brad Gruhot. But at the same time, he knew Knochenmus Enterprises was looking for new tenants. It will also be exciting to see what comes next, he said.


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