Both Spaghetti Shop locations in Springfield will soon be offering pizza, in addition to pasta, thanks to a new partnership with Turbo Fire Pizza.
Brian Carter purchased the Spaghetti Shop franchise in December 2019 after a chance encounter with Calvin Kirk, his former employer. In an interview with SBJ last year, he explained, “I worked for Calvin when I was 16 years old at the Sangamon location. I ran into him in October 2019 and reintroduced myself.” Carter said he’s always wanted to open a Spaghetti Shop, and tried to start a location in Bloomington several years ago but couldn’t get the financing worked out. Then his former boss told him the Sangamon store was for sale.
At one time, Kirk operated three Spaghetti Shop restaurants in Springfield, but eventually scaled back to the original location at 1869 E. Sangamon Ave., which has been in business for 30 years. Carter saw an opportunity to increase the footprint in both Springfield and the surrounding communities.
“Even prior to COVID, 90% of our business was carryout,” Carter said, explaining that he has no qualms about opening additional restaurants in the current business climate. Last year, he opened a second Springfield location at 3114 S. Sixth St. and began planning for a restaurant on the west side of Springfield, plus one in Champaign.
Carter said the addition of pizza to the menu is also the result of a chance encounter. “I’ve wanted to add pizza for a while; I experimented with a few different things but wasn’t really happy with it,” he said. Then a few months ago, a friend told him that the Turbo Fire Pizza in Lincoln was for sale and he contacted the owner, Paul Carlson.
Carter and Carlson decided it made sense to partner, since both business models focused on fast casual Italian food. Carlson closed the standalone Turbo Fire locations in Lincoln and on North Dirksen, although Brewski’s Pub, 605 W. Jefferson, still offers the menu items.
“We should be up and running by next week,” said Carter of the new partnership. “Going forward, all of the Spaghetti Shop locations will also include Turbo Fire Pizza. Carter said he also plans to offer a buffet at the South Sixth Street location once COVID restrictions ease and dining rooms return to full capacity.