Springfield is in a restaurant Renaissance, and a former church is the latest installment to the city’s thriving food scene. PublicHouse, which was formerly Springfield’s First Christian Church, still maintains the character of the original building, with parallels going on inside.
“This has always been a public house and it’s lent itself to the name,” says PublicHouse co-owner Patric Campbell. “We get a lot of patrons now who are sending us photos of their parents’ wedding. This building has a lot of history.”
The church was built in the 1930s and served as a gathering place for worshipers for almost 80 years. Where the pastor used to give parishioners communion wine is now a beer hall, where Campbell and co-owner Colby Phillips have 38 taps featuring local, regional, national and international beers.
“It’s communion everyday,” Phillips laughs. “We thought about that when we put the bar up here, that parallel was definitely there.”
Campbell and Phillips knew each other before PublicHouse. The two have been family friends for years, played basketball together and even brewed beer when they came of age, a hobby the two say they stopped when local breweries started to fill up kegs.
These days, “we’re gonna leave that up to the professionals,” Campbell laughs.
Their venture is in the business of serving drinks. PublicHouse also features an outside bar and is quickly expanding with a whiskey lab that Campbell and Phillips say will open soon.
Even with the all the taps, Campbell and Phillips recognize the importance of creating a family-friendly atmosphere and have options for everyone, including kombucha and craft sodas.
The “options for everyone” mantra doesn’t limit itself to beverages — PublicHouse currently has four individual vendors — La Granada, 100 Mile Bakery, Cascade BBQ and Pig & Turnip — selling food ranging from barbeque to baked goods and Bavarian classics like schnitzel sandwiches.
Campbell and Phillips say the vendors put craft and care into their products. “One of the advantages is that they’re individually owned and there’s the pride of ownership with each spot,” Phillips says. “As opposed to one restaurant being managed by somebody, this is all these individual owners taking a lot of pride.”
As with the outside of building, Phillips says the atmosphere and food offered by PublicHouse is meant to reflect authenticity.
“It’s really about trying to give the patron an authentic experience,” Phillips says. “A place they can gather with friends, have a great meal, have a good craft beer or a good whiskey and really just have that good experience where they want to come back.”
PublicHouse is at 418 A Street in Springfield and open Monday-Sunday 11am to 10 pm. 541-246-8511, publichousehub.com.