While Springfield restaurants VELE and Curate are known for fine dining, the owners are preparing to launch a new business venture that will focus on breakfast and lunch. Nickey Sperry, who owns VELE and Curate along with her husband, Dan, and Justin Richardson, who serves as executive chef, said the trio will also operate Soleil Café.
The new café is slated to open in early April on the fourth floor of the Springfield Clinic main campus, 1025 S. Sixth St., replacing the restaurant previously run by Café Moxo.
Sperry said that Tom Fitch, director of facilities for Springfield Clinic, is an acquaintance, and brought the opportunity to their attention. “The space came open and he reached out to Dan, my husband and business partner. Coming out of COVID, there are certain concerns about whether you want to take on another venture, but this is a difference concept,” she said.
Sperry noted that VELE has started offering brunch and Curate is currently serving lunch, so while the focus has been more on fine dining, there is some overlap with the existing restaurants. She also said having the right personnel was a deciding factor.
“We have a really good team in place, and Nathan Powers, the chef at Vele, will be the head chef for Soleil Café,” she said. Richardson will be in charge of the menu, which Sperry described as “very California-inspired, the vibe is sunny.”
The café will be open to both the general public and employees of Springfield Clinic, and online orders will help accommodate those in a hurry. “Employees will be able to get more out of their lunch hour than waiting on food,” Sperry said.
Preliminary plans are to have Café Soleil open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m.- 2p.m.