Three fans of the Doe’s Eat Place franchise opened their own Doe’s on June 22, after Springfield’s only location closed five years ago.
Doe’s Eat Place offers a casual, sit-down dinner, featuring steaks big enough to share, said Benjamin Rogers, who manages the restaurant and co-owns it with his parents Dr. James T. and Lori Rogers. Benjamin Rogers previously worked for Ozarks Natural Foods farm in Rogersville, handling distribution to area grocery stores.
Through Doe’s Springfield LLC, the Rogers family invested $1.1 million to open their first restaurant at 935 N. Glenstone Ave., south of Evangel University, in a building that has housed at least a half-dozen eateries, including Raphael’s and Las Margaritas.
“We got into this business because we liked and enjoyed the Doe’s that was here previously so much, and we were so sad when it closed,” Benjamin Rogers said. “After making the drive to the Bentonville location for several years, we started shooting the idea around between each other, if we could run a restaurant and have a Doe’s.”
The building was identified in a Springfield Business Journal article “Are these properties cursed?” based on the high turnover of the location.
The previous Doe’s, owned by Julie and Bill Davis, closed June 30, 2012, at 1232 E. Trafficway St. The Rogers family consulted with the Davises before launching their own, Benjamin Rogers said.
The Greenville, Mississippi-based franchise charges a $35,000 startup fee, plus undisclosed royalties, said James Rogers, an internal medicine doctor at Mercy Clinic.
Funded by a Guaranty Bank loan, the business employs 31 people.
“We wanted to finance it here locally,” Rogers said, adding many of the customers who have come in during the restaurant’s first week have mentioned their fondness for the old location and operators. “Everybody comes in and asks us ‘How’s Bill and Julie?’ And we’re able to tell them.”
Rogers said he thought there was a market for casual restaurant with high-quality steaks, and he hopes this will be the last business in that building.
“Our whole real goal was to bring this cut, this taste, this quality of steak back to Springfield,” he said.
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