Yellow Bird Coffee House is holding a grand opening on Tuesday, Feb. 14, and will offer small-batch roasted coffee and house-made pastries and quiches with a menu the owners describe as a combination of “savory and sweet.”
Stephen “Mike” Donaldson and his wife, Kelly, purchased the historic property at 1001 N. First St. in April 2022. Located near the campus of Springfield Memorial Hospital, the building previously housed Gastro Grub.
The couple, who are both retired from the U.S. Army, also operate Yellow Bird Ranch, an urban farm three miles from Lincoln Memorial Garden off the New City Road blacktop. They raise honeybees, chickens and pot belly pigs, and plan to utilize eggs from their ranch to make menu items for Yellow Bird Coffee House.
Mike Donaldson said, “We had the opportunity to hire Dave Carter, a very established baker, so we’ll be able to make all of our breads and quiches in-house. He’s well-known for his cinnamon rolls, and he actually teaches classes at the Illinois State Fair on baking.”
Initially, operating hours will be 7 a.m.-12 p.m. Monday through Friday, plus one Saturday a month. Donaldson said a lunch menu is “in development” which will also lead to extended hours, but “we want to get really good at what we’re doing here from a morning perspective” before expanding the menu.
Drink options will include a Yellow Bird signature blend, which is a specialty grade of Brazilian, Columbian and Ethiopian coffees, plus specialty roasts from throughout the world, both small-batch roasted for freshness.
In addition to renovating the lower level for the coffee shop, the Donaldson have also been working on the upstairs portion of the property, which they are calling the Naramore House in honor of the original owners. The property was built in 1890 by the C.A. Naramore family with a grocery store on the lower level and the residence upstairs. The Donaldsons have renovated one apartment, with another in progress, and plan to rent them to traveling nurses.
Kelly Donaldson works as a nurse at HSHS St. John’s Hospital, and the lack of nearby options for coffee led to the couple’s decision to open a coffee shop in the medical district. “When this building came up for sale, we liked that it was close to the hospitals, and I’m a huge history buff,” said Donaldson.
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