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Ebbets Field is closed for renovations in anticipation of a Jan. 11 reopening.
SBJ photo by Wes Hamilton
Ebbets Field is closed for renovations in anticipation of a Jan. 11 reopening.

Ebbets Field under new ownership

Posted online

A group led by Bryan Properties LLC purchased historic Walnut Street restaurant and bar Ebbets Field.

The purchase of the 1027 E. Walnut St. restaurant and building on 0.7 acres closed Monday for undisclosed terms, said Scott Bailes, one of the new co-owners of the business with Bryan Properties’ Bryan Magers, new General Manager Kevin Simon and silent partners.

The sellers were Terry Allen, former head football coach at Missouri State University, and Ron Baird, an attorney with Baird Lightner Millsap PC, Bailes said. Under Pub Management LLC, Allen and Baird took over the business in 2012 amid the fallout of once-prominent restaurateur Bruce Swisshelm’s bankruptcy proceedings, according to Springfield Business Journal archives.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt, even from the previous owners, that as a bar it still did very well. But they had lost a lot of their restaurant business,” said Bailes, who’s also director of development for Bryan Properties Development LLC. “That’s our biggest goal to get that back.”

Bailes said the new ownership group closed Ebbets Field temporarily to conduct renovations that include refinishing wood on the bar and floors, cleaning, painting and fixing walls in anticipation of a Jan. 11 reopening. Minor exterior renovations are slated for the spring.

“We took everything off the walls. A lot of pictures and posters were hiding cracks and holes,” he said. “The good thing is we have our own landscaping crew. We have our own maintenance crew. They were all there Monday to get started.”

Bailes said Ebbets Field was operating with around 90 percent bar business and 10 percent restaurant sales. The new ownership group wants to shift that ratio to 50-50, he said.

Bailes said he and his business partners have talked with Allen and Baird, as well as former owners Lance Reeves and Nick Russo, who started Ebbets Field nearly 40 years ago on East Cherry Street, about recommended changes. Menu changes may occur under Simon’s leadership, Bailes said, but burgers and ballpark-inspired items are remaining.

“Ebbets has such a long history between the old location and the current Walnut location,” Bailes said. “We felt like bringing it back to its glory days.”

The location on historic Walnut Street was a key factor in the purchase, Bailes said, as Bryan Properties owns several residential properties on the street and operates its office a half a mile away.

“It’s just a valuable area of Springfield,” said Bailes, who’s also a former professional baseball player, former City Council member and former market development manager for the Springfield Cardinals.

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