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I usually know before I look at the year-end data on Google Analytics that food news will dominate the most-read stories on SBJ.net.

It’s happened before, and I have a strong feeling that this upcoming year will bring some exciting food-related news, as well. This year was no exception.

In my capacity as Springfield Business Journal’s digital editor, I write the news of the day in the Daily Update newsletter that hits inboxes in the noon hour. Oftentimes, the business of food is the focus, and readers time and again have shown us how they hunger for that type of content.

Take a look below as I go down the list of the most-read news stories on SBJ.net. I excluded SBJ award profiles and announcements, along with Today in Business state and national news summaries.

Here’s the year in local business news.

  1. Crumbl Cookies making its way to Springfield. When coming back to work on Mondays from the weekend, it’s been a sure bet that Google search results would bring this article near the top of our daily most read stores once again. Utah-based gourmet cookie chain Crumbl Cookies signaled plans to put down roots in the Queen City as soon as this year. With 2023 almost at a close, they may miss that goal. We’ll be here to report on the eventual opening, which is planned for 2415 N. Glenstone Ave.
  2. Taco Habitat served eviction notice. Early this year, an eviction notice was served to the premises of Taco Habitat at 3325 S. Glenstone Ave. Owner Michael Felts pleaded guilty in July to his role in a nearly $14 million wire fraud scheme involving the Paycheck Protection Program.
  3. The Finley to close in Ozark. A restaurant inside a former church, The Finley, closed this spring in Ozark. In announcing the closure on Facebook, owners Terry and Stephanie Mitchell thanked guests, vendors and staff for their contributions to the 206 E. Elm St. venue.
  4. Sugarfire Smokehouse closes in Springfield. August brought the closure of south-side barbecue restaurant Sugarfire Smokehouse. The Southgate Center restaurant came to Springfield by way of St. Louis, where it was started in 2012.
  5. Nixa cafe closes as new owner sought. Morning Day Cafe, which had done business in Nixa since 2018, closed in the spring amid a search for a new owner. The company’s Facebook page has not had an update since the announcement in April.
  6. Branson Landing to add new restaurant. Branson Landing owner HCW Development Co. LLC partnered with chef Collin Thornton on a concept called Ozarks Brasserie, Restaurant and Bar. The seafood and European restaurant replaced HCW’s Ramata Italian. However, Ozarks Brasserie’s Facebook and website indicates the concept has since closed permanently.
  7. 2 big-box stores closing in Springfield. National retailers continued to struggle this year as consumer spending continued to shift more online. Bed Bath & Beyond and Tuesday Morning each closed a Springfield store this year at Primrose Marketplace and Brentwood Center South, respectively. Liquidation sales preceded the closures.
  8. Second Springfield Target store in the works. A summer Springfield City Council meeting revealed plans in the works for a Target at the southeast corner of West Sunshine Street and West Bypass. Developer Tom Walker, owner of Retail Realty Group LLC in suburban St. Louis, has said the store is “the worst-kept secret that I’ve ever had in Springfield.”
  9. Finley River Outpost coming to Sparta. Chad and Tiffanie Shook broke ground early this year on Finley River Outpost, a multimillion-dollar project they’re developing on their Shook Farms property in Sparta. The development has been called “a luxury guest ranch.”
  10. Franchisees plan 5 Huey Magoo’s restaurants in Springfield area. We started the year with chicken tenders news, and franchisees James and Lisa Tillman followed through with the opening of two local Huey Magoo’s locations, with plans for more to come.

Get ready to chow down on additional food news as we head into 2024. I’m already hungry for more!

Springfield Business Journal Digital Editor Geoff Pickle can be reached at gpickle@sbj.net

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user42351

People in Springfield love to eat out!

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