Past owners of Corner Pocket seek to take over closed Portage bar and restaurant

February 14, 2019
Kelly Bellmore, center, offers wine and fried perch to a customer during the third annual Portage Wine Walk at the Corner Pocket in April 2015.

The Corner Pocket closed its doors Tuesday, but the future of the downtown Portage bar and restaurant may lie in its past.

Kelly Vandermark, who signed a lease for the property and took over managing the bar and grill in June 2018, said he’s done owning businesses after 10 years. He plans to close his landscaping business Lawn Rangers soon and will begin working Monday at Portage-based plastics manufacturer Trienda Holdings.

“The restaurant business is tough,” Vandermark said. “People don’t realize what they’re getting into when they own a business, and I give props to anybody that takes on a restaurant or bar.”

Father-daughter business partners Mark and Kelly Bellmore have applied to acquire the Corner Pocket’s business license. They hope to reopen the establishment as soon as possible.

Mark Bellmore owns the property and building where the Corner Pocket is located, but he must reacquire a business license to reopen the establishment.

The Bellmore family ran the Corner Pocket for eight years before they considered moving away from Portage and to leased the establishment to Vandermark. Their plans to move didn’t happen, and they want to return to running the local business again.

Mark Bellmore said he’s excited for his daughter to manage the bar and restaurant again and “bring it back to life.”

“We’ll go back in there as a family, clean it up and serve the same good food we were before,” Mark Bellmore said.

Vandermark said although he and his staff ran the bar smoothly, he’s looking forward to collecting a paycheck, being a “normal person” again and not being a boss anymore. He thanked customers for being loyal to the business.

“Portage has been really good to me,” Vandermark said. “The customers around here are amazing. My employees were amazing.”

Kelly Bellmore said the family is just in the beginning stages of reacquiring the business license. But she is looking forward to managing the business again.

“We’re planning on bringing back our customer base and serving the community again,” Kelly Bellmore said. “We’re starting over.”

Kelly Bellmore hopes customers will return as soon as the family can reopen the establishment.

“We’ll be back,” she said.

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