Kevin Sullivan started his food service career washing dishes at King Pin Lanes at the age of 16 and most recently worked for 5 Flavors Catering, where he served as the executive chef for Governor J.B. Pritzker’s inauguration dinner. In between, he’s worked for a variety of corporate chains and local restaurants, but is now embarking on a new adventure of owning and operating his own restaurant.
The Barn, located in a newly built strip center at 1501 W. Wabash in between Pizza Hut and Oh Icee, looks like a standard shopping center storefront on the outside, but Sullivan says the menu will be unique.
“I want to bring back old-style cooking techniques like using cast iron pots and animal fats,” said Sullivan. The restaurant’s name alludes to the farm-to-table concept, which Sullivan feels is still a largely untapped area. “There is so much more out there,” he said. “We have great farmers around this area and tons of people producing all year round.”
Sullivan says his definition of locally sourced means being able to drive somewhere and back in the same day, so the menu will include products from farms in Iowa and Missouri, as well as those closer to home. “I won’t even have a freezer, all my stuff is fresh,” said Sullivan, who also noted that he’s glad to see Springfield moving toward a year-round farmers market with the recent addition of the winter farmers markets now held downtown at Anvil & Forge Brewing.
Sullivan said he considered locating his restaurant downtown but ultimately concluded that he wanted to be on the west side, due to the traffic count and demographics. “Unfortunately, I don’t think downtown can support breakfast seven days a week,” he said, noting that the stretch of Wabash where he is located doesn’t have any breakfast options outside of fast food.
He plans to be open from 6 a.m.-2 p.m. every day of the week, and although he won’t normally serve dinner, he does intend to have special events in the evening. “A friend of mine runs the Provider STL Dinner Series in St. Louis, and I want to do something similar,” said Sullivan. “I’ll have a seven-course meal that I sell tickets to and bring in all the farms and a chef from St. Louis or Peoria.” The meals are intended to be not only enjoyable, but educational, and Sullivan said he would like to see “more education on our farm-to-table concepts and food that is locally grown.”
The interior build out is currently in progress and Sullivan said he hopes to have The Barn open for business by the second week of January. “I’m going to cook the kind of food that I would like to eat,” he said.