There’s a kind of magic on Historic Commercial Street (affectionately known as C-Street) that you just can’t find anywhere else in Springfield. Maybe it’s the variety of beautiful architecture from bygone eras, the bevy of dining options or the vintage and artisanal shopping. Perhaps it’s the live music that pops up from inside a bar or a gathering of street musicians. Whatever it is, if you find yourself needing to refresh and replenish or try something unique to do, C-Street is the place.
Nicole & her pup, Bowser, enjoying an Old 66 from Big Momma’s.
When I need somewhere to get away and be inspired while I write, I usually find myself driving toward C-Street. More often than not, though, I also find myself...distracted... by Dutch cuisine at Van Gogh’s Eeterie, caramel-vanilla lattes at Big Momma’s Coffee & Espresso Bar (The Old 66, usually crafted by Joe, has been my coffee of choice for over a decade.), a friendly farmers’ market and friends meeting up for cocktails at Lindberg’s. And I might be convinced to watch some karaoke. It’s all part of the creative process, I tell myself.
A recent visit was to have dinner and drinks with a friend, but before stepping into the restaurant, the farmer’s market called us. Quite literally, too. One of the vendors lured us over with handmade soaps smelling of pumpkin spice, and another with miniature cakes in all varieties. (I took home German chocolate; my friend a carrot cake.) I also left with elderberry syrup, new knowledge about the kombucha-making process and excitement about what meal I would make with all the beautiful vegetables I could never grow myself. Known as “the sweetest little market in town,” the C-Street Market has been around since 2005, every Thursday and Saturday from April through November.
Related Post: Strolling C-Street
Nicole and Bowser headed to Cafe Cusco on C-Street.
It’s hard not to feel like you’ve stepped back in time when strolling down C-Street. This has a lot to do with the efforts of the Commercial Club, established in the 1920s, and still active today. Because of the group’s work and support, including having Commercial Street placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, C-Street has maintained its character while it’s seen a resurgence of activity over the past few decades.
Historic C-Street is the original downtown of North Springfield, a city established by the commercial district that developed after the Atlantic and Pacific railroads came to Springfield in 1870. It became the hub of entertainment, dining and shopping for travelers who visited by rail. After the decline of the railroads, many businesses gravitated to south Springfield. After the cities became one, Commercial Street went through transitional periods of growth.
Nicole’s puppy, Bowser, taking a peek inside Pizza House
The latest transition is the exciting developments that are underway, with an increased budget for C-Street improvements as early as fall 2021. Visitors will notice improved parking, newly commissioned public art, up-grades to the Footbridge Plaza, as well as general signage additions. With such great enhancements to an already wonderful area, C-Street should be on the top of everyone’s to-do list. I barely scratched the surface on all C-Street has to offer. For more information visit historiccstreet.com.
Nicole's Picks On C-Street
- Brunch at Van Gogh’s Eeterie - the gluten-free “Farm Near Auvers” Dutch pancake with honey, apples and goat cheese is worthy of splitting, but I like to claim the whole thing for myself.
- Stroll down the six blocks of shops for window shopping and treats! Hakaar’s Bazaar and MJ’s are great for curated vintage finds. True story: I picked up a formal for a high school dance at a C-Street bygone relic, “Nellie Dunn’s.”
- Step into Askinosie Chocolate for a quick sample, and pick up some internationally recognized bars of LOCALLY made chocolate. The smell! The taste!
- Grab a pick-me-up “Old 66” vanilla and caramel latte from Big Momma’s. Maybe a sandwich too. And say hi to Joe if he’s working!
- Bring a reusable bag and stop by the C-Street Market for locally grown goods. Plan on spending more than you budgeted.
- Happy hour on the Cafe Cusco patio! Have you ever had a margarita dusted with cinnamon?
- Late-night pizza dinner at Pizza House. Either dine-in or grab to go. And if you’re in the mood for live music, check out Lindberg’s Tavern schedule.