Natalie Kelsey has a vision for a vacant building near Lindenwood University-Belleville: She plans to open a juice bar cafe that will promote healthy diets.
“We really want to inspire a healthy eating movement throughout the area,” Kelsey said.
The cafe will offer organic juices, smoothies and meals such as spring rolls, quinoa salads, oats and gourmet grilled cheese sandwiches for breakfast and lunch. She and her husband, Dr. Sekou Kelsey, are moving to a small farm soon and plan to grow crops such as kale and berries that will be used in the cafe.
On Tuesday night, the Belleville City Council approved a zoning variance to allow the cafe in the building at 2801 W. Main St.
We really want to inspire a healthy eating movement throughout the area.
Natalie Kelsey, who plans to open a juice bar cafe in Belleville
Kelsey, who has been a professional artist since 2000, said the building needs a lot of work because she wants a design that will attract students from nearby Lindenwood University-Belleville as well as mothers with young children.
“We’d like to provide the neighborhood or the community with a place for mothers to come with their kids to hang out and build relationships,” Kelsey said. She envisions a section of the cafe for toddlers where they can play, read books and eat healthy snacks.
Kelsey already owns an art studio and gallery at 1901 W. Main St. called BlissFull Living Studio but she said this business may wind down as she concentrates on the cafe.
The Kelseys hope to open the cafe next spring at the earliest or possibly in 2018 at the latest. They have not yet announced a name for the cafe.
Kelsey said she the family farm will not produce all of the crops needed to make the cafe self-sustainable “but we’re going to do our best to do that.” She said her mother is a gardener who will help manage the farm.
In other business
The council took action on the following issues:
▪ Passed a resolution that calls for the city to recoup its expenses in creating a business district plan for the Shopland shopping center at 70th and West Main streets. The city has authorized a $30,000 study to determine whether the shopping center qualifies to be in a business district. In this type of district, shoppers pay an extra penny in sales tax and the money can be used by developers to renovate the property. If the district is created, the first proceeds generated by the extra sales tax would go to city coffers.
▪ Local Lucy’s has moved and the store received permission to install two vinyl window graphics at its new location at 310 E. Main St. On Tuesday, the gift shop, which features local vendors and artists, opened in the new spot after leaving 18 E. Main St.
▪ The Shrine Restaurant at the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows off Illinois 15 was granted a liquor license. The restaurant is now being managed by the Keller family of Effingham. They are the developers of the Hofbräuhaus restaurant and brewery under construction near the Shrine.
▪ Promoted police Master Sgt. Mark Heffernan to lieutenant, promoted firefighter Jeremy DeJournet to engineer and hired probationary firefighter Nathan Jones.
▪ Appointed Tom Myatt to the Parks & Recreation Board and Dennis Lindsey to the Crime Free Housing Committee.
The council will next meet at 7 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19 at Lindenwood University at 2600 W. Main St. because City Hall is undergoing renovation.