PEORIA – OSF HealthCare’s new head office in downtown Peoria will not just have offices.
It will feature two restaurants open to the public, both locally owned.
Great Harvest Bread Company is opening its third location in the space formerly occupied by the Caterpillar Merchandise Store, and a new restaurant called Saffron Social will occupy space at the rear of the building, in an adjoining structure that once housed a grocery store.
“This restaurant, Saffron Social, will be like nothing else I’ve done,” said Travis Mohlenbrink, owner of Spice Hospitality Group, the parent company of six local restaurants, including Thyme, Sugar Wood-Fired Bistro and Industry. Brewing. “We’re going to focus on a fresh seafood plan. … We are also planning to make premium steaks, and we will be making pasta dishes that are like favorite dishes with a twist, which is what I developed my business on. We plan to make this our best location by far. ”
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Saffron Social is expected to be designed in a 1950s Art Deco style.
Craig Janssen, president of Central Illinois Doughboys, the parent company of Great Harvest Bread Company, said his new location will serve fresh baked goods, salads and sandwiches. They will be open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Friday, while Saffron Social plans to be open seven days a week.
While it is not unusual for a large facility to include a cafeteria in the construction plan, the integration of two local restaurants is innovative. This is something OSF has planned to revitalize downtown, said Jim Mormann, general manager of Integrated Solutions at OSF HealthCare.
“We have intentionally made the decision not to install a cafeteria in the building,” he said during a tour of the facilities on Tuesday. “It is important that our mission partners (employees) go to the community to take advantage of available services, so we didn’t want to find ourselves in a situation where OSF had in-house cafeteria services. We felt it supported downtown and local downtown businesses.
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Putting local restaurants in the building offers another option for OSF employees.
“We have 500 mission partners here who for some reason love coffee,” Mormann said. “It’s important to make sure we’ve given them options. And the second thing is, we wanted to make sure we had a space that really opened up to the outside. We thought this complements the museum across the street.
“We felt it was an opportunity to start to revitalize downtown rather than trying to, you know, do it on our own,” he added. “So it’s important that other business owners like Travis (Mohlenbrink) join forces with us to kind of get down and keep pushing for downtown Peoria.”
Leslie Renken can be reached at (309) 370-5087 or [email protected] Follow her on Facebook.com/leslie.renken.