Executive chef Darin Mitchell said the business was thrilled to win Best Dine-in Restaurant a year ago and credits several things for the success.
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“I attribute it to our friendly, knowledgeable and, most of all, caring staff,” he said. “Our passion for the culinary arts should be evident in our menu and in our dishes’ presentations. We also provide a beautiful and unique dining atmosphere.”
Stella Bleu changes up its menu twice a year, does wine dinners monthly and has daily and weekly specials.
Opened in June 2019, the restaurant immediately gained a following as downtown revitalization resulted in new places to dine and shop. It was exactly what Mitchell had hoped for. Nine months later, the pandemic hit and Stella Bleu was one of many businesses affected.
“It went from being my dream come true after 25 years in the culinary arts industry to being my worst nightmare. We fought hard, scaled down the menu and were as financially responsible as possible” he said.
“Although business is getting better, it’s still nowhere near pre-covid levels. Restaurants have had to deal with more than two years of drastically-reduced to almost no sales on some days or months. Also, the cost of food deliveries and paper and plastic products have skyrocketed.”
Part of the restaurant’s appeal is the option for dining inside and outdoors on its large deck. Mitchell is always looking for new ways to attract crowds and has acoustic musicians and bands scheduled.
They’d also like to do themed events and food, relying a lot on the constant success of their wine dinners. Mitchell said they’d like to also add bourbon tastings.
Stella Bleu will continue to evolve, and having recognition such as the multiple Best of Springfield honors shows the people are responding.
“Please support local businesses,” said Mitchell. “We are here for our customers and community and are truly grateful for all of our continued support.”