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Flores, Scherff celebrate opening of new venture

Date: 10/31/2013

By G. Michael Dobbs

SPRINGFIELD – A trip to Oktoberfest several years ago ultimately gave birth to the new biergarten/cerveceria at 1600 Main Street, according to its co-developer and owner Heriberto Flores.

Flores and Rudi Scherff celebrated the opening of their new venture on Oct. 24. Flores recalled how he saw different nationalities were united at Oktoberfest events in Germany during a trip he and Scherff made.

The building has been home to a department store, the state’s unemployment office and, in the mid-1990s, a rave club. Sitting vacant for years, about two-thirds of the structure was demolished to make room for a parking lot. The city put the property up for sale and it was purchased by the Farm Workers Council, which Flores heads.

Scherff said the restaurant and bar will open at 4 p.m. and close at 10 p.m. during the week and at midnight on weekends.

With a variety of salads, sandwiches and burgers on the menu, he explained it is designed to complement his Student Prince/The Fort eatery as being a more casual alternative.

He said the menu would be changing to add Puerto Rican dishes to denote the partnership. What he hopes to accomplish to recreate a flow of patrons between nightspots with 1600 Main Street as the latest place to visit. The restaurant and bar can seat 150 customers. The new business has created 36 jobs.

Of the restaurant and its menu, Scherff said with a smile, “It’s an evolving paradigm.”

Flores noted the project was financed through Hampden Bank, which participated in the effort by state Treasurer Steve Grossman in making state funds available for business loans through participating local banks.

That evening, 1600 Main Street hosted its first event, a fundraiser for Springfield photographer Keith Sikes whose home suffered heavy damage during a recent fire.