Dining With Denise Neil

Wichita Italian restaurant closes after 28 years, but a new restaurant will soon move in

Sweet Basil, the Wichita Italian restaurant that’s been at 2424 N. Woodlawn since 1991, has closed.

But a new restaurant is about to take its place.

Last week, Charli Singh closed the restaurant he’s run for 25 years. He told the Eagle he planned to close for a week for some cleaning and remodeling and then reopen.

Now, a different group says it’s about to open an all-new restaurant in the space. Velocity Hospitality Group, the same organization that now runs Fetch Bar & Grill in Moundridge and that recently took over management of Margarita’s Cantina at 3109 E. Douglas in Wichita, plans to open Bello Italian Grill in the Sweet Basil space in late May or early June.

It will be a completely different restaurant, the owners said, with a new menu that focuses on authentic Italian fare. They’re planning to add an outdoor patio to the north side of the building, and they’ll also add some windows in the front to brighten up the dining room.

Sweet Basil originally opened in 1984 as a restaurant called Frank’s Place. The restaurant got new owners, who changed the name to Sweet Basil in 1991. Two years later, Singh became the owner.

In April 2014, a fire destroyed the restaurant, and Singh closed it for a total remodel. It reopened with a new look in May 2015. The restaurant was known for its hearty Italian dishes and for its lunch buffet.

Velocity Hospitality Group, which includes Fetch owner Greg Buss and some partners, just closed its Gordon Ramsay-remodeled restaurant Fetch Bar & Grill on Sunday.

I’ll give you more details on Bello Italian Grill as the owners get closer to opening day.

Denise Neil has covered restaurants and entertainment since 1997. Her Dining with Denise Facebook page is the go-to place for diners to get information about local restaurants. She’s a regular judge at local food competitions and speaks to groups all over Wichita about dining.