Popular Belfast eatery moving into vacant Pizza Hut

Bell the Cat relocating for chance to grow while staying put
By Ethan Andrews | Apr 19, 2018
File photo/Ethan Andrews The former Pizza Hut building at 15 Belmont Ave. is scheduled to reopen next month as the new home of Bell the Cat.

Belfast — A popular local lunch spot with a history of relocating will be moving next month, possibly for the last time.

Bell the Cat will hop the bypass early in May, relocating from Belfast Marketplace shopping center on Starrett Drive to 15 Belmont Ave., which was last home to a Pizza Hut restaurant. The franchise closed shop less than a year ago after an apparent lease dispute.

Jojo Oliphant, owner of Bell the Cat since 2016, said the new location has significantly more parking — 40 spaces, compared to about 15 today — and better visibility.

He anticipates opening by May 7, with an official relocation celebration planned for May 18 and 19.

The new building still bears the distinctive shape of a Pizza Hut, albeit dialed down a few notches thanks to a coat of brown paint over the trademark red roof. When renovations are done, Oliphant said the interior will bear no trace of its former occupant.

"You wouldn't even notice it was a Pizza Hut," he said. "We completely changed it around and put our flair on it."

He plans to have a better kitchen, outdoor seating and an expanded menu.

Bell the Cat, named for a fable about mice and good ideas, has resided in two other locations since it opened more than 20 years ago in downtown Belfast. Oliphant did extensive renovations when he took over the business at its current location, and though he regrets leaving that hard work behind, there's a good reason.

He is in the process of buying the building, which means it might be the restaurant's last move.

"It's going to be nice to have a forever home for Bell the Cat," he said.

Comments (2)
Posted by: Shelia Muldoon | Apr 21, 2018 11:25

Great good luck good sir

Posted by: Richard Shibles | Apr 19, 2018 11:41

Love B the C

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