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Ben Biesenthal’s Springfield Gusano’s Chicago-Style Pizzeria opened in April 2015 and closed this weekend.SBJ file photo
Ben Biesenthal’s Springfield Gusano’s Chicago-Style Pizzeria opened in April 2015 and closed this weekend.

SBJ file photo

Gusano’s closes Springfield restaurant

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Rogers, Ark.-based Gusano’s Chicago-Style Pizzeria closed its Springfield restaurant nearly two years after opening.

The restaurant - the chain’s eighth - opened in April 2015 in 5,500 square feet at Battlefield Market Place, 900 E. Battlefield Road, Ste. 176. A Jan. 2 Facebook post on the Springfield Gusano’s page announced the closure but did not provide details about the exit. Owner Ben Biesenthal could not be reached for comment by deadline. Whole Hog Cafe co-owner Dave Warren said via email he helped Biesenthal and business partner Grub Christie secure licenses to open the restaurant but was not an owner.

“I do not know why they closed. I am just learning of it from you,” Warren said.

Sydni Moore, a recent Missouri State University graduate who worked at Gusano’s as a server since its launch, said she received a text message from General Manager Jimmy Gove during the early hours of New Year’s Day that the restaurant was closing effective immediately. Moore worked a morning shift on New Year’s Eve.

“It’s more than a little frustrating,” she said, noting 24 people were on the restaurant’s work schedule. “I’m actually on the hunt for a full-time job, so it’s not a super big deal to me. There’s other people who work there and I know that’s really all they have.”

Gusano’s website lists another Missouri restaurant in Joplin, as well four in Arkansas, two in Texas and one in Kansas.

Biesenthal, a stockbroker-turned-founder and president of Gusano’s, told Springfield Business Journal in early 2015 the pizzeria and sports bar offering Chicago-style and traditional crust pizzas, sandwiches, wraps and salads cost around $350,000 to open on East Battlefield.

The space left vacant by Gusano’s in Battlefield Market Place has had high turnover in recent years, previously housing Bandana’s Bar-B-Q and The Filling Station.

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