Chef, physician plan to open fine dining restaurant in downtown Springfield

Stella Bleu, a new restaurant in downtown Springfield, is tentatively expected to open next Spring./Matt Sanctis

Combined ShapeCaption
Stella Bleu, a new restaurant in downtown Springfield, is tentatively expected to open next Spring./Matt Sanctis

A local physician and a chef who has worked at one of Dayton’s best-known restaurants said they plan to open a new fine-dining restaurant in Springfield in the next few months.

Shawn Osterholt and Darin Mitchell said they plan to open a new restaurant called Stella Bleu at 20 N. Fountain Ave. in Spring 2019. Construction work is ongoing at the site, but Osterholt said the tentative goal is to begin serving customers in March.

READ MORE: Downtown Urbana roundabout to get $1.3M upgrade

Osterholt is a local physician and investor, while Mitchell has served as executive chef at both the Urbana Country Club and Coco’s Bistro in Dayton in recent years. Mitchell will be in charge of the restaurant’s daily operations and said the menu will include a variety of dishes including steak, seafood, pasta and vegetarian options.

“It will be a little bit of everything,” Mitchell said.

This news organization recently reported chef Bryan Ondre will step in to lead Coco's Bistro after Mitchell's departure. Osterholt said both he and Mitchell have wanted to open a restaurant in Springfield for several years, and both decided recent investments downtown made 2019 a good year to start the business.

One of the challenges was finding the right location, but they decided to lease the property from Jim Lagos, a Springfield attorney.

MORE BUSINESS NEWS: Speedway CEO says more growth expected

“Right now, there’s just a lot going for Springfield,” Osterholt said. “I think downtown is really going to take off.”

Several other businesses have opened on Fountain Avenue in recent months, including Winans Chocolates and Coffees, a regional chain. Stick and Stone, a store featuring work from local artists, also operates nearby. The News-Sun reported Salato Deli, 40 N. Fountain Ave., hosted its grand opening earlier this month.

RELATED: Historic Urbana potato chips may soon be in short supply

Springfield’s city commission also voted in December on a proposal to allow the city to move forward with a redevelopment agreement for 34 townhomes downtown. The city is now allowed to enter into an agreement with Dayton-based Charles V. Simms Development Corp. to build a residential development called Center Street Homes on a site between West Main and West Columbia streets.

Stella Bleu will likely be able to seat as many as 85 customers inside, with a separate private dining space that can seat about 50, Osterholt said. In addition, one of the restaurant’s features will be an outdoor patio that can seat an additional 75 to 100 guests, he said.

“Our goal is to bring a great restaurant to Springfield, from the food to the service to the ambiance,” Osterholt said.

Mitchell said as much of the food will be made in-house as possible, and portions of the menu will likely change occasionally to offer something new for customers. Springfield once had several good local restaurants, but many of those have closed as the local economy has struggled, Mitchell said. He said the key to the new restaurant’s success will be to provide a consistently good meal every time, and he’s optimistic that Springfield’s downtown is seeing steady improvement.

“I think of Springfield even 10 years ago, it’s definitely changing,” Mitchell said.

The Springfield News-Sun win continue to provide unmatched coverage of small businesses in Clark and Champaign Counties. For this story, the paper spoke to two local business owners who plan to open a new restaurant in downtown Springfield in the Spring.

About the Author