Bella’s restaurant in downtown Geneva thrives with authentic Italian cuisine

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Bella’s, located at 93 rue Seneca in Geneva, is a local favorite, earning an average of 4.5 stars on Google Reviews. Owner Richard Austin works hard and puts customer service first.

“Because of technology, we’ve really lost a lot of the human connection,” Austin said. “We’re really trying to hit every table and ask them how it all went, if they’re having fun.”

Austin worked in the restaurant industry through high school before entering the auto business, and now in the software business during the day.

“About three and a half years ago the owner, Tomas, unfortunately had to go out of business and he was looking for business partners,” Austin said. “And I guess I put my hand up.”

Bella’s Restaurant in downtown Geneva. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.

After Austin joined the company, they reopened on Mother’s Day weekend 2018 and celebrated their third birthday on last Mother’s Day.

One of the most important things for Austin as a business owner is to be deeply involved in the Geneva community.

“I am involved with the Chamber of Commerce, the Geneva BID, the Rotary,” Austin explained. “Community engagement and giving back to the community is important to us, it’s actually in our mission statement. “

Bella did not close her doors during the pandemic, but instead took out takeout orders. Some of the staff stayed at work and survived solely on tips.

“We have redoubled our efforts for community support during the pandemic,” said Austin.

Bella’s was able to donate over $ 10,000 in food to the Boys and Girls Club of Geneva during the shutdown, and it meant a lot to Austin to be able to provide for families who may have had more hardship than they did. others.

“Without the community, we are not open,” he said. “With no one on the seats, you are just wasting money. It was really our way of showing our appreciation to the community by constantly trying to give back. “

While Bella’s experienced staff shortages due to the economy, Austin said he liked to downsize the staff to begin with.

“We try to keep the staff small, but we had to hire a few more people because we really blew up,” he said. “We have a great staff, they are paid very well and we have had a very low turnover rate. “

The biggest problem facing the establishment right now is finding a bigger location to handle the volume of business they are getting.

Bella’s fits as many tables as possible, most of which are full every night according to owner Richard Austin. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.

“We are turning away hundreds of people,” he said. “Muscle Man weekend we probably turned 400 people away.”

The business is open Thursday through Monday, and while reservations aren’t necessary, Austin says it’s so busy it becomes a reservation-only situation.

Austin said they onboard people when they have cancellations, or if they know they have an hour until a party needs to be seated, they will let customers know so they can be served. quickly and finish before the next party arrives.

“We want everyone to have a good time, we want them to enjoy their meal, to enjoy the singing and to enjoy the ambiance,” he said. “But at the same time, it can’t be a four-hour affair. There are other people who want to have the same experience, so we try to prepare people for that if we know we’re going to be busy. We let them know that we are on expedited service.

Bella’s Restaurant in downtown Geneva. Credit: Samantha Goodman, FL1 News.

Austin explains that it started as a hobby to socialize more because he works from home, but he says it has taken off.

Austin’s fiancee, Ashley, runs the house and manages everything.

Austin tried to keep the overall framework of the restaurant before his partnership with the previous owner, and said what he really did was expand what was already there.

“Much of the basic culture that was created, we have retained,” he said. “We have kept many recipes, improved them, received recommendations from local experts, and retained much of the style and atmosphere.”

Bella’s offers the ability to make reservations directly from the home page of its website, order online, view the menu, and see places the company has given back in the community.

You can find more information at https://www.bellasgeneva.com/.


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