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Belmont Food Shop's space housed a grocer in 1929, before becoming Seay's Market, and then Belmont Food Store, both of which were grocery stores for many years.
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Belmont Food Shop co-owner Mike Yavorsky
Mike Yavorsky and Steven Ruscitti had been throwing around the idea of joining forces to open a restaurant for more than a decade — ever since they attended the Culinary Institute of America together. In late August, when a space opened up at 27 N. Belmont, "everything fell into place," Yavorsky says.
At their Belmont Food Shop, the duo currently serves French-press coffee, fresh breads they bake daily and gourmet boxed lunches from behind a counter made of recycled wood.
"Our whole business plan is to set up with local produce as much as possible," Ruscitti says, adding that they get their flour from a local place in Ashland. "If you use local ingredients, the food is going to taste good."
Yavorsky, 37, pushes open the doors to the kitchen and motions to pans of freshly baked bread, noting that each of the five box-lunch options are served on homemade bread. The crab-cake sandwich is dished up on a Sally Lunn roll, while the roast beef topped with caramelized onions, served on focaccia.
The menu is printed in an antique font on pieces of recycled paper grocery bags, part of what Yavorsky says is the goal — to create a feel that mimics the history of the space.
"For the first 40 years, it was a grocery store," Yavorsky says, adding that the space housed a grocer in 1929, before becoming Seay's Market, and then Belmont Food Store, both of which were grocery stores for many years. "We are playing with history. … it's a cool space."
To create this feel, Yavorsky and Ruscitti renovated the space using materials salvaged from a two-flat apartment in Chicago that Ruscitti lived in for many years. It was being torn down and turned into a parking lot, so he was able to pull out much of the 1910 wood for the Belmont Food Shop — including the mantelpieces, light fixtures and more.
"Everything above the floor came from that two-flat," Ruscitti says. The counter was crafted from the mantelpieces. In addition, the double doors to the kitchen were moved so that people who come in can admire the ornate 1929 walk-in fridge as the doors swing open.
In the next year, the co-owners hope to expand to the space next-door and open a full-service restaurant heavy on local, American fare with a neighborhood feel. Ruscitti adds that they plan to add cozy booths and tables, as well as a prix fixe menu that rotates to focus on different regions of the world. Call 358-7467 or visit belmontfoodshop.com for more information.