Springfield, MO

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Where Ophelia's said no, another restaurant signs on

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The discovery of an underground cellar on Commercial Street wasn’t the right fit for Ophelia's reincarnation, but now the building owners have another taker.

Joe Hosmer, co-owner of the 300 E. Commercial St. building, said entrepreneur and chef Drake Tillman signed a three-year lease for an undisclosed rate. Tillman, who could not be reached for comment by deadline, is planning a venture dubbed Elkhart & The Robberson at the 150-year-old building, according to the concept’s website.

The website points to an expected summer 2019 opening for the two-pronged venture. Elkhart would be a modern American restaurant with a focus on “vegetable-forward cuisine” inspired by European food culture “while still keeping its sense of time and place in Missouri,” according to the website. On the street level, The Robberson would serve as Elkhart’s “casual counterpart” with beer, wine and cocktails, as well as pastries and espresso. Elkhart’s menu includes parmesan gnocchi and Missouri wagyu. 

Via Northbridge 300 LLC, Joe and his brother Craig Hosmer are renovating the C-Street building, where Ophelia’s owners Tom and Lori Muetzel late last year called off their plans to reopen there after the discovery of an underground cellar led to complications — namely an extended timeline and water leakage issues.

Joe Hosmer said this morning the renovation process would cost about $1.5 million. He declined to say whether Tillman is footing any of the renovation bill.

Hosmer said the building would house three lofts on the second floor, and Tillman is using the entirety of the remaining 4,350 square feet, which comprises the street-level floor, a lower level and the vault below that.

“It’s going to be a key feature,” he said of the cellar, where crews installed a pipe to pump leaking water into a nearby storm-water sewer.

Tillman became known in the Springfield restaurant scene via fine dining pop-up event company Canvas Missouri LLC. Last year, he signaled plans to shift gears toward a brick-and-mortar venture with a planned restaurant dubbed Indie on East Battlefield Road. It’s unclear if that venture is moving forward with Tillman working on Elkhart & The Robberson.


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