A well-known Springfield restaurant is preparing to reopen, although with a new name and a new operator. The building that has housed various incarnations of Norb Andy’s Tabarin since 1937 will now be home to a seafood restaurant called Anchors Away. The operator, Jeff Moore, had a restaurant by the same name in Peoria before closing it last year and deciding to make the move to Springfield.
“We were only there about a year, I was in a big strip mall with Burlington Coat Factory and some other stores,” said Moore. “They ended up letting me out of my lease because when I first moved in they didn’t disclose that I wouldn’t be able to get a liquor license in that location.”
Moore said his wife works in Springfield for the State of Illinois and also has family here, so they decided to give Springfield a try instead. He had originally hoped to have the grand opening for Anchors Away last weekend to take advantage of the crowds attending the Old Capitol Art Fair and Pride Fest taking place downtown, but has run into some delays with the project. While he is currently using friends from Peoria to help him get the restaurant open, he intends to hire at least 15 local people as staff.
Norbert Anderson ran the original Norb Andy’s Tabarin for four decades, and while both the building and restaurant have changed hands numerous times since his departure, the name has always stayed the same. David Ridenour has owned the building since 2010 and was the most recent operator of Norb Andy’s, which has been closed since this time last year. While he was pleased to find a new tenant to reopen the restaurant, he was initially worried about the name change.
“At first I was reluctant and thought, ‘God, they’ll kill me,’” he said, citing the fact that Norb Andy’s has been a Springfield tradition since 1937. “But the leasing agent, Jay Clark, said that several times when he would mention Norb Andy’s to someone they would roll their eyes and say, ‘Oh, it opens and closes, opens and closes.’ So the place does have a negative turnstile stigma attached to it, and maybe it’s time for a change,” said Ridenour.
While Ridenour will not be involved in the operation of the restaurant, he still owns the Historic Hickox building and has hopes of eventually utilizing the main floor and upper level.
“The long range plans for the Hickox building include developing the main floor for parties, meetings and receptions and eventually the upper floor as a three bedroom bed and breakfast,” explained Ridenour. He plans to call it the Hickox House and play into the tradition that it’s haunted, although he personally doesn’t believe it’s inhabited by ghosts.
The restaurant, located in the lower level of the building, is now decorated with a nautical theme to reflect the new emphasis on seafood and Moore has made other cosmetic changes. However, as tribute to the original restaurant to occupy the space, the bar on the main floor will be called the Norb Andy Room and will have the famous “knot case” over the fireplace and Norb’s photo and biography on display.
Anchors Away will be serving lunch and dinner. Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m.-10 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays and closed on Sundays.