Brad Leighninger knows firsthand that opening a restaurant in the midst of a global pandemic has its challenges.
But despite it all, the self-taught pitmaster and owner of Gettin' Basted has opened a second location of his popular Downing Street Pour House at 1724 E. Battlefield Road in Springfield, Missouri, in the former home of Jason’s Deli.
“The feedback has been tremendous,” Leighninger says. “We are opening in tough times but we hope to wow people with our food.”
Downing Street Pour House dubs itself “an American smoke and fire interpretation of the classic pub.” It has a classic pub feel with dark brown accents, wood floors and exposed brick. The original location opened in Hollister, Missouri, a few years ago and was an instant hit. In January, the owners announced plans to expand into Springfield this spring, but the pandemic pushed the opening date into August. Matt Arnall, a franchisee, runs the operation.
The Springfield location offers a similar menu to the original location, including wings, burgers, paninis and smoked pastrami alongside pub staples like fish and chips and shepherd's pie. The restaurant also offers chef-driven specials that change daily.
The pub is known for its juicy half-pound burgers made from Snake River Farms Wagyu beef. Go classic with the B.C.B. topped with bacon and Cheddar, or opt for a more creative burger like the Mother Heifer with house-smoked pastrami, Swiss, caramelized onion sand sauce, or the D Street with arugula, goat cheese, honey and aïoli.
Signature dishes include the best-selling fish and chips, giant Bavarian pretzel, French onion soup and house-smoked pastrami. Leighninger says he'd put the Snake River Farms skirt steak, served with crispy housemade frites, up against any steak.
Like any good pub, there’s also a nice selection of beers. The bar serves 25 beers on tap, including plenty of local craft brews. Cocktails are also available, including a Bloody Mary topped with brisket and a chicken wing that Leighninger refers to as a "mini-meal."
The space itself is nearly 5,000 square feet, which allows for plenty of social distancing. While the bar in the Hollister location has long been a main attraction, the Springfield location does not offer seating at the bar in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID. There are high-top tables in the bar area, however, which offer a great spot to watch sports.
Downing Street also offer catering as well as takeout, which currently accounts for about 30 to 40 percent of business. “Even though catering has dropped, it has been a big part of our business during COVID,” Leighninger says. “We don’t get the big groups anymore, but we cater to businesses and doctors’ offices. It’s a great way to show appreciation for your employees.”
Downing Street Pour House, 1724 E. Battlefield Road, Springfield, Missouri, dspourhouse.com