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The new owner of Harbell’s is investing $30,000 in the downtown restaurant.
SBJ photo by Geoff Pickle
The new owner of Harbell’s is investing $30,000 in the downtown restaurant.

Coyote’s owner buys Harbell’s

Posted online

Last edited 1:26 p.m., Jan. 7, 2019

Restaurateur David Bauer is the new owner of downtown’s Harbell's Grill and Sports Bar.

Bauer, who also owns Coyote's Adobe Cafe on South Glenstone Avenue, said he bought the Harbell’s business and building Dec. 21 from father and son Jerry and Derek Bumgarner. The Bumgarners started the restaurant and bar venture in 2011 at 315 Park Central West, the former home of Har-Bell Athletic Goods.

“I love the idea that it’s got some historic value,” Bauer said, noting many Springfieldians likely remember buying sporting goods from Har-Bell. “I felt this northwest corner of the square is one of the most undeveloped, and will be developed, areas of downtown.”

Bauer said he was looking for a new investment when he heard Jerry Bumgarner was seeking to sell Harbell’s through a direct sale. Derek Bumgarner previously operated the business for three years before returning to his father’s business, Jerry Bumgarner Trucking, Bauer said. It has since operated under the leadership of general managers, who Bauer said did a good job of keeping the restaurant organized.

Because of that, he was able to keep Harbell's open without downtime.

Today before opening for dinner, Bauer spoke to Springfield Business Journal in the restaurant as workers were busy with light interior remodeling. He expects to invest about $30,000 to put in booths, repaint and rework the outdoor patio, among other improvements.

Bauer also said he’ll work to make the restaurant a family-friendly grill and sports bar. He’s working on a new menu that would retain some existing items, such as wings, and add new items including salmon and wraps. The idea, he said, is to continue to cater to the college crowd, but also bring in business professionals and families to strengthen lunch sales. 

The building comprises two floors which both span 3,750 square feet. On the top floor, Bauer said he’s considering a banquet facility for private events or housing via lofts or short-term rentals. Before opening an events center, he said an elevator would need to be installed, as a previous elevator shaft was filled with concrete.

Bauer previously operated Mille's Cafe and a second Coyote’s on the other side of downtown at 309 S. Jefferson Ave. Those businesses closed in 2015, and last year, he sold the building to JJJ Development LLC. The latter company is planning a concept called Best of Luck Beer Hall in the building that also houses Zayka Indian Cuisine, SBJ previously reported.

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