Southern Crescent rising?
When aspiring restaurateur Andrew Ewell first presented his plan for a French restaurant in Downtown Belmont, to be located in his home on Hinton Avenue, it was met with some resistance. Over 30 neighbors showed up at a Planning Commission meeting back in April, expressing concerns that the little hamlet was already too restaurant heavy, and inundated with late-night noise and traffic from new music venues like Bel Rio. Actually, it's an issue that neighbors have been concerned with long before Ewell's plan. Now, neighbors wonder why Ewell doesn't just choose one of the many locations around town already zoned for restaurants. Apparently, Commission members listened, eventually recommending denial of Ewell's request.
But, much to the frustration of the neighbors who oppose Ewell's plan, City Council members showed broad support for the plan when it came before them for discussion recently. And they're set to make a final vote June 15.
Meanwhile, Ewell is crossing his fingers and trying to woo his neighbors. He's already sent out a letter pleading his case. He points our that the Belmont BBQ space next door was once a residence, and makes the argument that 814 Hinton should be in a defined Hinton Avenue commercial zone.
“We believe that the re-zoning of 814 Hinton Avenue can serve as an essential first step in a comprehensive evaluation of our neighborhood’s future,” writes Ewell.
"As far as community relations go, we plan on continuing to work with our neighbors, as we've done so far," says Ewell. "Anyone who saw the supportive turnout at the [City Council] hearing could see how much the community really does enjoy the restaurant district in downtown Belmont."
As for the restaurant, if it ever gets approved, Ewell says Southern Crescent, named after the train route to New Orleans, will serve Cajun, Creole, and New Southern cuisine.
"In the nature of the neighborhood and the spirit of Southern dining," says Ewell, "we plan to offer continuous service from lunch through dinner–- a place you'd feel as comfortable sitting down for a full dinner at 8pm, a midday snack, or an afternoon cocktail."