A La Carte: Two farmers markets have new names, venue

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The HOLIDAY and WINTER FARMERS MARKETS have a new name and a new home — both changes being touted as the next steps to establish year-round, downtown access to locally raised foods under a single brand.

The events have been rechristened the OLD CAPITOL HOLIDAY INDOOR FARMERS MARKET and the OLD CAPITOL WINTER INDOOR FARMERS MARKET, according to representatives from DOWNTOWN SPRINGFIELD INC.

ANVIL & FORGE BREWING CO. at 619 W. Washington St. is the new venue for both events.

“We are continuing to grow so we can have a year-round, downtown presence,” DSI program and events manager Kayla Graven said. “We were trying to keep in the same (downtown) neighborhood and they had the most amount of space available.”

The name changes mean the Old Capitol Farmers Market brand will remain active year-round.

Vendors from the spring/summer season wrapped up the weekly outdoor market in October. Holiday markets will be held Nov. 23 and Dec. 21, followed by winter markets on the third Saturday of the month from January through April.

The winter season ends just in time for the May opening of the outdoor market.

Graven said vendor numbers for the indoor markets are as yet unknown because applications are still being accepted. However, limited space at The Statehouse Inn — where both indoor markets were held last year — required DSI look for other downtown real estate.

Vendor applications are available at www.downtownspringfield.org. Regularly updated lists, naming registered vendors for each Old Capitol Farmers Market event also can be found at this website.

The move to unite these three separate farmers markets began last year when the Illinois Stewardship Alliance — which started the holiday and winter markets — relocated both events to The State House Inn, one block from the Old Capitol Farmers Market.

Prior to that the Holiday Farmers Market called the Illinois State Fairgrounds home since its inception in 2006. The Winter Farmers Market, which celebrates its fourth season this year, was originally housed at the Third Presbyterian Church in the Enos Park neighborhood.

Alliance spokeswoman Molly Gleason said the move was made with the understanding DSI would inherit the indoor markets.

The Old Capitol Farmers Market — started by DSI — just ended its 20th season this year.

The popular event kicked off its second decade in May with the announcement that DSI would retake operational control of the market after three years of farming out those duties to the alliance.

Still no opening date to announce for CURATE or SANGAMO BREWING CO., however management for both have begun to look for staff.

Both establishments have teased interest for the past year with regular Facebook posts of renovation progress and promised pleasures to come.

In Curate’s case, artsy photos of cocktails and grilled meat soon to be served at the small-plates-and-wine concept compete with just as delectable shots of the sleek interior.

Chef Justin Richardson and his partners Dan and Nichole Sperry are behind the restaurant poised to open in the former McCORMICKS SMOKEHOUSE in The Gables. The trio also own VELE in downtown Springfield.

Meanwhile, Sangamo Brewing Co. — the restaurant/craft brewery set to fill the former FAT WILLY’S site in Chatham — has wowed with the sheer number of photos of its vast, antique regional beer paraphernalia.

The venture at 109 E. Mulberry St. in Chatham has been touted as a full bar, craft brewery and chef-inspired food menu.

But its biggest draw appears to be the ambiance steeped in Illinois’ bygone brews that seemed to flourish in every town before the big breweries took over.

Of course Springfield’s own REISCH BREWING CO. and SPRINGFIELD BREWING CO. are prominently featured. But the museum-quality breweriana also includes tin signs, beer trays, wooden cases, cans and bottles and neons representing breweries from Alton to Kankakee, Decatur to Quincy.

PEASE’S AT BUNN GOURMET has a full week of festivities planned to celebrate its fourth anniversary in The Gables.

Monday, all veterans with a military ID will receive a free, four-piece box of artisan truffles. Butter cake slices are buy-one-get-one free on Tuesday. Wednesday all artisan truffles are half price and the same discount applies to pumpkin lattes and Raggedy Ann frappes Thursday. An anniversary-themed shake created with scratch-made ice cream will be available Friday for $9.99. Shakes available beginning at 3 p.m. while supplies last.

Springfield-based WHIMSY TEA COMPANY will be serving free samples along with BUNN Gourmet scratch-made shortbread Saturday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Pease’s at BUNN Gourmet began carrying the specialty tea — previously only available at the Old Capitol Farmers Market — this week. Tea selections in-stock include Jasmine Pearl, White Peony, Black Dragon Pearl, White Silver Needle, People’s Tea and Bird’s Nest Pu-Erh.

Also on Saturday a free, four-piece chocolate box will be given away with every $10 purchase.

Pease’s at BUNN Gourmet opened at 2941 Plaza Drive in 2015, combining Springfield’s beloved chocolate purveyor with BUNN Gourmet, which previously operated solely as an online retailer. The store offers an array of specialty items ranging from coffee beans to craft beers, pastries to prime rib with a focus on locally made items.

An extended Italian immigrant family with long-standing culinary roots in Chicago is bringing its authentic recipes to Jacksonville.

LIRA ITALIAN RESTAURANT opens Monday at 901 W. Morton Ave. in the former EL RANCHERITO site.

General manager Antonio Elecci said the daily scratch-made dishes represent family recipes crafted by his grandparents and extended family throughout Italy. The full-service restaurant will offer an extensive menu with pizza, pasta, chicken, seafood and vegetarian options, as well as a children’s menu.

A full service bar is planned for a later date.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. daily. Lunch specials served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on weekdays. Dine-in, take-out and catering services available. Phone: 243-0029.

Elecci said he comes to Jacksonville after working at another family-operated holding — PRIMAVERA RESTAURANT in Chicago’s Loop district.

SECRET RECIPES AT NEW SALEM has closed for the season.

The seasonal concession stand at Lincoln’s New Salem State Historic Site just south of Petersburg will reopen in April.

Springfield caterer/dining entrepreneur Chip Kennedy took over operation of the concession stand this summer, serving a food truck-inspired menu.

Area restaurants offering Thanksgiving specials will be featured in the A la Carte column next week. Businesses interested in participating should submit information by Wednesday.

The A La Carte column highlights restaurant openings, closing, renovations and relocations, as well as personnel changes and business news. Natalie Morris can be reached at 737-7254 or by email at natalie.sjr@gmail.com.