Bella Vita Lakeside Aims for a Family Friendly Feel
Modernizing a restaurant to cater to the needs of a community that helped build it takes a lot of careful planning and innovation.
Just ask Corey Bensley, the new General Manager of Bella Vita Lakeside at 11699 Fall Creek Rd. in Indianapolis.
“For years, Bella Vita has been a popular destination for finer dining in a relaxing, romantic atmosphere with a breathtaking view of Geist Reservoir,” Bensley said. “But everything needs a fresh change, and I think people are going to be excited about what we have planned.”
The changes include a new owner, Jack Singh, and a new management team with Bensley and Jimmy Burgess, the new operations manager.
“We’re also looking forward to updated menu items and a brand new look for the bar,” Bensley says.
Burgess said customers will definitely enjoy the changes and new food items.
“The bar is being totally renovated,” Burgess said. “We thought it was time for a fresh look and a fresher feel.”
“We will continue to offer the staples and popular signature dishes like the linguini fruiti di mare, romano crusted chicken and scallops risotto among others, but we‘re looking to add some more seafood options and a few lighter dishes as well,” Burgess stressed.
Bensley added, “You always want to accentuate the positive as much as you can. Keep what works. Delicious food, the best view in the city and great service, but we can’t be afraid to try something new. We will still have a comfortable dining atmosphere with excellent food and service, but we want to move forward with a more modern feel, from the decor to the menu.”
Burgess noted that Bella Vita will still be going strong with great wine, various drinks and appetizers, the temperature-controlled waterfall, live music, catering and private events.
“A lot of our previous guests are very happy and satisfied with the way both the catering and the private events have gone, and we’d like to build on that,” Burgess noted. “We will continue the live music every week, even through the winter.”
One major change will be a bigger emphasis on making Bella Vita more family friendly.
“We are still going to have the Summer Fun Days and parties with bands and clam bakes, but they will definitely be more family-friendly,” Bensley said. “This will still be a great date destination but simply more inviting with a family feel.”
Burgess and Bensley are both Ben Davis High School graduates but attended the westside Indianapolis school at different times. And they both have similar reasons for getting into the restaurant business.
Bensley is coming from Buffalo Wild Wings in Brownsburg where he was the service manager. “I got into this business because I love food, and I love people. I like to cook, and I like to talk,” he joked. “I think you have to go with what you know. Keep it simple.”
Burgess primarily worked on the bar operation side before joining Bella Vita.
“I fell in love with what I was doing. It helps when you have friendly staff wherever you work. I also think guests can really tell when you care. People want to know that you care about them more as individuals than as customers.”
Bensley completely agrees.
“You have to modernize the place to keep up with times but still have your own identity,” Bensley said. “It has taken a lot of planning. We want to emphasize what a beautiful view we have here. The best view in the city. We also want to get back to the basics and show our appreciation for the community that surrounds us.”
Former Bella Vita owner Henri Najem will no longer be involved in the restaurant.
“He’s definitely been a valuable resource and a wealth of knowledge, but he’s passed the torch and has channeled his energy into his new restaurant, Flamme Burger, a fresh casual gourmet burger concept in the Fishers Nickel Plate District,” Bensley said.