Trim the Fat: New eateries change landscape of downtown dining

Maria Hoover, SBJ Features EditorWeight change for the week: -2.2 pounds; total – 2.2 pounds

While bringing lunch to work instead of dining out makes it easier to watch what I eat and to balance the family budget, I freely admit that I enjoy leaving the office at lunchtime.

As a longtime downtown employee, I’ve often walked to lunch, hitting everywhere from Sub Shop to the now-closed Marco’s Pizzeria, and today, stopping in at the latest downtown addition, Ziggie’s.

I reason that even if I’m going to go out to eat, I can work in a quick bit of fresh air and a brisk walk in the process – even if it’s sometimes for a short distance.

Ziggie’s has opened shop – location No. 14 – at the corner of Walnut Street and Campbell Avenue in the former Rasta Grill and Bailey’s spot. It’s a fairly large space with an outdoor patio and tiki bar.

The traffic in there was brisk today, perhaps because other downtown workers, like our group, were eager to try a new place without having to drive. Service was good, and the prices were reasonable, particularly on the lunch specials that were in the $5 and $6 range.

Also on the affordable downtown eats radar are the plans for Whisler’s, set to open soon in the McDaniel Street space formerly occupied by O’Connell’s Center City Grocery, according to the folks at

A sign on the door lists burgers starting at $1.25, shakes and chips, and some other items that aren’t exactly self-explanatory. Anybody know what a Sow & Cow or a Pig & Pull might be?

Tell us about some of your favorite lunch spots in Springfield – downtown or otherwise – in the “responses” section below.

Maria’s weekly update
Well, at least there’s a loss to report this week. Between kids’ ballgames, deadlines and volunteer work at church, I haven’t had much spare time to fill with “boredom eating,” so that helps. I’m planning to get started on a specific walking program this week to burn off calories. I’m planning to enlist my dachshund, Sam, as my walking buddy – more exercise will be good for him, too.


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