As a former resident of Bellevue and current resident of the adjacent Laburnum Park neighborhood, the area holds a special place in my heart. Bellevue has developed a personality all its own and become a popular destination for those seeking a tight-knit, walkable community. If you were to ask residents about the neighborhood, I’d be willing to bet nine times out of ten you’d hear something like “it’s just a great neighborhood,” or “everyone looks out for each other here.” It’s been a long time in the making so let’s start from the top.
In the late 1800s, Lewis Ginter built several communities along the City’s streetcar routes. Ginter and his business partner, John Pope, acquired two farms that would become the Ginter Park and Bellevue neighborhoods. The area bounded by Bellevue Avenue, Hermitage Road, Westbrook Avenue and Crestwood Avenue became the seed from which Bellevue grew. The Bellevue arch was built not long after the community was conceived and is probably Bellevue’s most recognizable landmark today.
Unfortunately, Pope died not long after the arch was completed. The property was passed down to his siblings and eventually sold. Ginter died not long after Pope, but his heirs continued to build upon his ideas for Ginter Park. However, it was not until the 1920’s that Bellevue really came into its own. By the early 1940’s, the neighborhood was filled with the Bungalows, Colonial Revivals, Foursquares, Spanish Colonial Revivals and Tudor Revivals that we see today.
Though Bellevue, like many historic neighborhoods, has seen its share of ups and downs over the past 100 years, it has experienced significant rejuvenation since the early 2000s. The neighborhood really hit its stride when retail businesses began capitalizing on the previously under-utilized shopping corridors along MacArthur and Bellevue Avenues. Back in 2004, aside from Dots Back Inn and the now defunct Shenanigans, there wasn’t much happening on MacArthur or Bellevue Avenue. Bob Koch seized the opportunity and opened Once Upon a Vine, a unique wine and beer store. Today, it’s safe to say he NAILED IT. MacArthur and Bellevue Avenues are thriving with restaurants, shopping and retail services.
Bellevue’s personality and character really shine through in times like what we’ve experienced since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it’s supporting neighborhood businesses, helping retail employees who’ve lost wages, or checking in on those who need it or delivering groceries, residents have found creative ways to help each other and make the best of a difficult time. As you have probably guessed, businesses have had to adjust how they are doing business as well. Here’s a quick rundown of some Bellevue favorites:
Dot’s Back Inn– Now with MORE outdoor patio seating!
Demi’s Mediterranean Kitchen – Taking orders online for pickup.
Early Bird Biscuit Company – Still cranking out the biscuits!
Enoteca Sogno – Authentic Italian food, great wines and atmosphere at 50% capacity OR pick it up and take it home. Bellissimo!
Mi Jalisco– Family Mexican food. Heads up: Margaritas help in times like these!
The Mill on MacArthur – Until further notice, carry-out and delivery only. Traditional, home style foods. Locally sourced ingredients. Enough said.
Morsels – Be prepared for your next craving. Order online.
Stir Crazy – This is where Bellevue happens. For now, curbside pickup only. – Coffee. Tea. Food. Art.
Little House Green Grocery – Local, organic, natural and high quality food in small convenient (and green) package. Open for business!
Nuttall’s Market – From a spot of sugar to a quart of oil, they seem to have at least one of just about everything you’d need in a pinch.
Nicola Flora – How convenient is it to have a neighborhood florist? Ask all the husbands in Bellevue and get back to me.
CVS Pharmacy – Prescriptions, snacks, greeting cards, and dicey last-minute gift options! A neighborhood classic!