The Springfield Carriage Co. building at 724 E. Edwards will soon house a restaurant once again, although both the property and the business have new owners.
The historic home, which sits just south of the Lincoln Home National Historic Site, was constructed in 1840. In recent years, the property had fallen into disrepair until Chris Bollinger and Peggy Raabe extensively renovated the building in 2007. The spouses operated a restaurant called The Chuckwagon at the Springfield Carriage Co. along with a horse-drawn carriage business out of the location until 2011.
In January of this year, the building was purchased by Tony Libri, who has now restored a total of eight properties in the Lincoln Home neighborhood. He and his wife, Ann, were recognized by the Historic Sites Commission in 2016 for their preservation efforts in the area.
“I bought it because I always thought it was a nice historic building and deserved to be saved,” Libri said. “We’re trying to restore that block to what it looked like in the 1800s.”
After buying the property, Libri began having conversations with Kelly Batley, one of his tenants who lives in the area and has a background in the restaurant industry. She and her partner, Jerry “Jay” Miller, are now leasing the space from Libri, who said he was glad to find someone who could put the building to good use.
“I’m not a restaurateur, but I welcome the addition to the neighborhood,” Libri said. “I think it will be great for tourists and locals.”
Batley will serve as the front of house manager, while Miller will oversee the kitchen. The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner and Miller hopes to have menu items that fit with the historic theme. “I plan to serve corn fritters, I know Lincoln liked those,” he said. “And we’ll have local favorites like horseshoes; I’d like to do the original Leland Hotel cheese sauce.”
Miller said he and Batley are in the process of cleaning and painting the interior of the building and plan to have the restaurant open in May.