A new diner will soon join Belvedere Square, taking over the space where Shoo-Fly Diner most recently stood.
Starlite Diner is on track to open by late August at 510 E. Belvedere Ave. in the space that previously housed Spike Gjerde's Shoo-Fly. That farmhouse diner closed last May after less than two years in business.
Starlite will offer a family-friendly atmosphere in a mid-century modern space, said owner Leonard Clarke, who previously owned Red Maple in Mount Vernon. The restaurant will serve upscale comfort food for breakfast, lunch and dinner, as well as brunch on weekends and late-night drinks.
"It's an idea that I’ve carried around for a long time," Clarke said. "The decision to go forward — it was about timing."
He said he jumped on the opportunity to move into the Belvedere Square space when he found out it was available.
Arim Isabel will serve as the restaurant's executive chef. His menu will have influences from the South, Southwest and Mid-Atlantic, and Clarke said he will work to incorporate some local and organic ingredients.
Clarke worked with Kuo Pao Lian and Pavlina Ilieva of the local design firm PI.KL Studio to redesign the space, which required little more than cosmetic updates to "keep it as open as possible but at the same time cozy it up a bit."
"A lot of the work to make it a restaurant was done," Clarke said. "We haven’t really reinvented the wheel down there."
The restaurant will seat 175 between its dining room, bar and patio.
Lian said his team played on the space's mid-century architectural features to transition away from a farmhouse feel and into a mid-century style eatery.
Although the space has housed several failed restaurants, Clarke said that doesn't worry him. He thinks with the right menu, design and concept, Starlite can be a hit.
Clarke recently sold Red Maple, his bar and lounge in Mount Vernon. The space is slated to become a restaurant and bar called Sangria.