Keefner’s has closed a week earlier than planned after a buyer for the restaurant couldn’t be found. The final day of operations was Sunday, July 24.
Owner Angie Keefner-Grieser told SBJ earlier this month the restaurant would close at the end of July if she hadn’t identified a buyer by then. The business was listed for $199,000 with Sandy Hamilton, a broker with ReMax Professionals in Springfield.
In May, Keefner-Grieser took a position as district manager for Hamilton, who also serves as the state representative for the 99th Legislative District. She told SBJ that “the last two-and-a-half years have been very difficult, with the last year being the worst of all.”
Keefner-Grieser said government assistance during the early days of COVID enabled her to stay open, but now rising costs for food and labor made things unsustainable. “Payroll has gotten so high, and you have to be competitive. Plus, the price of food is going up, and you can’t raise your (menu) prices high enough.”
Keefner-Grieser opened Keefner’s, 1941 W. Iles Ave., in 2015 as a tribute to her father, Paul Keefner, who owned Bachman and Keefner Drugstore in downtown Springfield. It operated at 530 E. Capitol Ave. from 1912 to 2004. Keefner-Grieser included many of the signature items from the soda fountain counter on her menu and the restaurant has a collection of items that were part of the décor from the drugstore where she worked as a teenager and young adult.
She later managed the nearby Office Sports Bar & Grill for 12 years before the landlord for Montvale Junction approached her with the idea of having her own place. However, Keefner-Grieser said the restaurant business is “just not for me anymore. It’s been mentally draining.”
Keefner-Grieser said she also had to consider her own financial position as she approached retirement age. “I’m 53, and I didn’t have a financial future with Keefner’s. I have to take care of myself, that’s basically what I’m doing.”