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Restaurateur Muetzel makes next venture

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The former owner of Ophelia’s, Sequiota Bike Shop and Finnegan’s Wake has launched a new venture in Strafford.


Restaurateur Tom Muetzel is opening The Fat Cat Pizza Co. today at 204 S. Highway 125. He signed a 10-year lease for undisclosed terms.


The idea for the restaurant was born when Muetzel and his wife drove around the Springfield area looking for restaurants off the beaten path. 


“It was purely happenstance,” he said of opening a business in Strafford. “One evening, my wife and I started making road trips and noticed there’s a lot of small independent restaurants popping up.”


The new restaurant is the only venture Muetzel is currently involved in. He sold his share of Finnegan’s Wake to business partner Anne Baker a couple of months after starting the Fat Cat venture, he said.


“This is what my wife calls my preretirement business,” Muetzel said. “It’s something smaller that we can control easier.”


Muetzel was made aware of the property from a friend who called the location near O’Bannon Bank and Hurricane Bay car wash the “Hollywood and Vine of Strafford.”


He declined to disclose startup costs for Fat Cat but said it’s by far the lowest out of any restaurant he’s started.


His other recent ventures ended due to unforeseen complications.


Sequiota Bike Shop closed in March amid a landlord dispute, according to past Springfield Business Journal reporting.


In December 2017, his planned reopening of Ophelia’s was canceled on Commercial Street after a lengthy remodel was needed to address the discovery of an underground cellar.


The Fat Cat menu lists pizzas priced at $6.75 to $22.75. Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily.


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