JUNCTION CITY, Kan. (WIBW) – Bella’s Italian Restaurant, a Junction City restaurant, has been serving up Italian staples from scratch to its community and visiting customers for more than a decade now.
Bella’s can be found at 605 N Washington St. in Junction City, about an hour away from the capital, but there is another Bella’s location in Dallas, Texas, where the Junction City owner, Song Hee Lee, met the original owner and proposed a partnership.
“I met him in Texas, Dallas,” Lee said. “He grew up in New York, in the Bronx. His family is [Bella’s] Italian restaurant family. He opened a restaurant in Dallas, Texas. I met him over there and when I tasted his recipe. I loved it. So I asked him ‘can we do it together’ and we were successful. I’m originally from Kansas to Dallas, so I ask him, ‘I have a building over there in Kansas, in a small community. Will you do it? Yes, why not?'”
The main feature Lee mentions about Bella’s is that the kitchen staff doesn’t take pre-cooked items, put them in the microwave and serve them. Employees prepare each order from scratch by employees with years of experience in the kitchen. The menu has all the traditional Italian favorites such as spaghetti, alfredo and more.
“Right now, the biggest seller is our cream sauce with the chicken — feta cheese, chicken fettuccini alfredo. That’s the biggest seller. There’s chicken parmesan or — so we have three bases… One of them is the alfredo sauce, the other is the marinara sauce, and the the other is a lemon wine sauce. It’s three different bases, we have the different noodles we use in it, and the other part is oven base foods. Like a pizza or our calzone, or some baked pasta.”
“When you enter our restaurant, you can taste the real home cooking of Italy. That is the key point of our food, the other is that it is all made from scratch, for every order.”
During the COVID pandemic, Bella’s had to close its doors for four months, according to Lee, but it had to adapt to stay in business by only offering to-go orders. Fortunately, Bella’s is still around and serving its clientele.
Lee said Bella’s has been open for 11 of 12 years now in a building that was built in 1890, which is more than 130 years ago.
Since its infancy, Bella’s has seen customers from several different states, such as Michael Hake, a customer from Denver, Colorado who was passing through Kansas and decided to stop at Bella’s. Hake said the next time he’s in Junction City he might just visit Bella’s again.
“The vibe is good, I like it,” Hake said. “Yes, it’s not too loud so you can still have a good conversation and they play good music and the staff seems friendly.”
Their opening hours are from 11:30 to 21:00 Monday to Saturday and from 12:00 to 21:00 on Sundays. Bella’s also has a bar with specialty cocktails or wine to share with your meal. If you want to see their menu and more, click HERE.
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