Court Conn and his sons have been home-brewing beer for four or five years.
“We’ve made some great beers,” he said. “Now, we’re going bigger.”
Conn and his wife, Karen, plan to open Obed and Isaac’s Microbrewery Eatery in mid-January, just steps from Lincoln’s Home.
The project was once planned for the so-called Maisenbacher House, the building that was moved five blocks on wheels three years ago to avoid a wrecking ball. Conn said installing a restaurant and bar inside the Maisenbacher House ended up being too expensive.
Instead, the Conns will open a microbrewery inside a 100-year-old carriage house on the Maisenbacher property, and the restaurant will be just across the alley in the historic Booth-Grunendike House and carriage house at Sixth and Jackson streets.
The microbrewery eventually will feature 12 specialty beers. Their first will be called “Obed’s Pride,” an amber ale. Their beer selection also will include an India pale ale, a porter and a stout.
“We’re really going to be big on seasonals,” Conn said. “We want to do the off-the-wall stuff.” (Take for example, a watermelon wheat beer he brewed back in August using fresh watermelon from Beardstown.)
Once brewed, the beer will be piped under the alley, fresh to the taps inside Obed and Isaac’s. Patrons also will be able to take home half-gallon growler jugs of beer, but the Conns have no plans to be distributors.
The bar and restaurant, which will be open seven days a week, will be on the first floor of the Booth-Grunendike House and carriage house.
Court Conn said they expect the restaurant to be family friendly, with a “middle of the road” menu — not bar food, but not fancy enough for white tablecloths, either.
The eatery will have seating for more than 90 people in six rooms, with additional al fresco dining available during the warmer months, Conn said.
Outdoor diners, he said, will have a view of Lincoln’s Home and the Capitol. The couple also hopes to capitalize on traffic from the nearby Hoogland Center for the Arts.
“There are people who think the location’s nuts,” Conn said. “We don’t think it is. We think just it’s an area that’s underdeveloped. And maybe we’ll be the catalyst for other development in the neighborhood.”
Years in making
The project has been in the works for years. But a microbrewery and restaurant weren’t part of the original plans. Neither was buying two houses.
The Conns’ restoration project was originally planned for the Maisenbacher House, which originally was at 1028 S. Seventh St.
The Maisenbacher building, one of about 100 Lincoln-era structures left in Springfield, was in danger of being torn down for a parking lot as part of Springfield Clinic’s expansion.
In October 2008, the Springfield City Council approved a last-minute agreement that allowed the building to be moved five blocks north, to Seventh and Jackson streets, rather than be demolished.
The exterior of the Maisenbacher House will still be restored, Conn said, but interior renovations will wait for now.
After the Conns determined it wasn’t practical to put a microbrewery and restaurant in the Maisenbacher building, they purchased the next-door Booth-Grunendike mansion, which had been in foreclosure.
Deana Stroisch can be reached at 788-1533.
What’s with the name?
The lot at Seventh and Jackson streets where the Maisenbacher House sits formerly was the site of a home owned by Obed Lewis. That building was torn down so the Maisenbacher House could be moved there. And the Maisenbacher House originally was built by Isaac Lindsay (with the help of a $650 loan from Abraham Lincoln).
Hence the name: Obed and Isaac’s.
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