Dan and Lisa Freeman recently opened the Salato Deli at 40 N. Fountain Ave. in downtown Springfield. Matt Sanctis/Staff

5 big moves restaurants made in Springfield recently

Springfield has seen some huge movement in the restaurant business over the last few months.

Several new restaurants have opened or announced plans to come to the city. Here are five recent and major moves by local restaurants:

1. New fine dining planned for downtown Springfield

New fine dining restaurant Stella Bleu is expected to start serving customers at 20 N. Fountain Ave. in March. Construction work is ongoing at the site.

Co-owner Shawn Osterholt is a local physician and investor and the other owner, Darin Mitchell, has served as executive chef at both the Urbana Country Club and Coco’s Bistro in Dayton in recent years.

Mitchell will be in charge of the restaurant’s daily operations and said the menu will include a variety of dishes including steak, seafood, pasta and vegetarian options.

2. Buffalo Wings and Rings still wants to open a restaurant in Springfield

Wings, salad, wraps, quesadilla and sandwich chain Buffalo Wings and Rings is still hoping to add a location in Springfield, but it needs to find a franchisee first. The Cincinnati-founded company has 55 locations in Ohio, Illinois, Texas, Indiana and Kentucky.

Representatives from the company met with local officials about the possibility of the restaurant last year.

3. Local bakery expands into deli

A Springfield couple recently opened Salato Deli at 40 N. Fountain Ave. For now, the deli specializes in five sandwiches and all of the bread is cooked next door at Le Torte Dolci, which Dan and Lisa Freeman opened in May last year.

The couple developed the deli’s decor and menu after visiting businesses in Florence in Italy’s Tuscany region. They said their goal with both the bakery and the new deli was to build a locally-owned business that served items area residents can’t find anywhere else locally.

4. Cassano’s to redevelop two Springfield locations

Cassano’s is working on redeveloping its existing location on South Limestone Street, and the company is also planning improvements to a second location.

The restaurant has four stores in Springfield, said Chip Cassano, CEO for the chain. But the store at 2123 S. Limestone St. is an old Arthur Treacher’s Restaurant built in the 1970s that Cassano said has outlived its purpose. Instead of remodeling, Cassano said it made more sense to build a new, modern restaurant from the ground up and then demolish the existing location.

He said the new store, which is being built directly next to the current location, will include a pickup window, a more modern spacious dining room and a better kitchen. It could be completed as early as March, depending on weather.

5. Starbucks opened its first Springfield location

Starbucks opened its first full-service store and drive-through in Springfield on Hillcrest Avenue in the last quarter of 2018.

The 2,300-square-foot building is located at 1490 Hillcrest Ave. on a parcel adjacent to the existing Meijer store at the same address. Starbucks serves coffee, tea, pastries, breakfast sandwiches and other snacks.

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