Belfre Kitchen, the newest restaurant in Delafield, gives an unusual twist on the words “church dinner.” The restaurant, located at 606 Genesee Street, is the latest incarnation for the historic Presbyterian Church whose steeple has anchored the downtown for some 150 years.
Owner Amy Quinn with help from Elm Grove designer Amy Carman Design, and restaurant consultant Alex Brevik, his wife, Hannah and front of the house manager Joe Kolafa opened the 60-seat café and fine dining establishment in late October.
Taking the structure down to the studs, the interior is clean and modern with a color palette of dark navy blue, white and black. Gold stars frame the lights so diners can “dine under the stars,” said Alex Brevik. There are stained glass panels above the front door; the steeple bell still works.
A gold-edged glass chandelier illuminates diners on the main floor. The loft, which is available for private parties, features a dining space that seats 35. Gold “pipes” crafted to resemble those of an old organ decorate a wall.
Quinn’s vision was to create a place for family and friends to gather and dine. “I’ve always had a passion for people and food,” she said. “I’ve traveled a lot with my kids [Katie, 13 and Carolyn, 16] and the kids loved the whole experience as well.”
Both teens were actively involved in meetings to get approval for the restaurant; they currently work as servers’ assistants. Caroline, a budding photographer, has her work displayed on the south wall.
The story of how Belfre Kitchen came to be actually could be a novel. San Francisco transplant with two daughters was looking for a second career. She encounters Brevik, the owner of a restaurant consulting company who was running a food truck in La Crosse.
Determined to open her own food truck and café, Quinn and Brevik sought prep space in Lake Country. As they drove around Delafield, they stopped to take a phone call from their realtor about a building for sale. The building? The church. Their parking spot? On the street in front of it.
Quinn’s original idea suddenly changed. “We wanted to utilize the space in a way it deserved,” said Brevik, “elegant and dining at night.” Belfre Kitchen morphed into a farm-to-table, fine dining restaurant, which doubles as a café during the day.
Because the building has been part of the community, Quinn wanted the restaurant’s name to reflect its history. The line above the “E” in Belfre, an old teacher’s trick makes the word easier to pronounce.
She was also determined to have the word “kitchen” in the name in part to reflect the history of kitchens being the hub of the house.
The menu is built around sustainability with an emphasis on local products, said executive chef Andrew Sokolowski, who was most recently at Artisan 179 in Pewaukee and who has taught in the culinary arts department at Waukesha County Technical College. His philosophy is one of a “family friendly approach” to food that “doesn’t complicate it” and “is fun to eat.”
The restaurant has contracted with Stone Bank Farm (formerly NuGenesis) to grow 80 different varieties for the restaurant next season. Belfre will be the only restaurant Stone Bank services.
There’s an ever-changing wine list featuring Old World selections. The cocktail program features refined examples of classic favorites and contemporary riffs using house-made ingredients. Coffee beans are specially sourced; each cup is made fresh. The pastry chef regularly turns out works of art.
At a glance
- The café is open Monday-Friday from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Brunch is in the works for the weekends.
- Fine dining is offered from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday and from 5 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday.
- Reservations are strongly suggested for fine dining. Two patios will be unveiled in the warmer months.