Danny and Heather Reifschneider found one way to stave off competition for their future namesake Grill & Grape restaurant in downtown Collinsville: Fill another empty space on the same street with a new venture, D. Boozer’s Food & Fire.
“This was a former bar and we rehabbed it,” Heather said of the vintage storefront building at 118 E. Main St.
“We gutted the kitchen, stripped the floors. There was lots of cosmetic work to do,” Danny said. “Lots of cleanup.”
The interior has brick walls, hardwood floors, big windows, a high tin ceiling and a full bar that specializes in small-batch bourbon. The menu offers seven ways to serve up homemade tater tots ($8), including Ball Park Tots with hog dogs, chili, cheese sauce, onions and relish.
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“They’re big — the size of hush puppies,” Danny said. “It’s not your typical bar food. They’re probably our biggest seller, and the Buffalo Tots are the most popular.”
Danny is the D. in D. Boozer’s, a name that originated as a joke with friends. Heather said the 16 bourbons they offer are the “Fire.”
There are 42 other items on the menu, including appetizers like Cannelloni Bites ($8), stone-fired pizza ($6-$12 and up), Build Your Own Salad and lots of burgers, wraps and sandwiches ($8 to $10 with a side).
“(Reifschneider’s) Grill & Grape is still in play,” Heather said of the couple’s third location, at the end of the block on Main Street. Opening is planned for March 2016. They live in Columbia, where they opened their first Grape & Grill in 2010, followed in 2012 with a Freeburg location.
“D. Boozer’s is a totally different place with a different menu. We opened July 7,” Danny said.
It wasn’t on the couple’s radar to open two food businesses in Collinsville, let alone just a few doors from each other, but it seemed a strategic move. They said it was developer Gregg Crawford who approached them about helping redevelop what the city calls uptown with a Grape & Grill. When the Fifth Quarter bar closed on East Main Street, he pointed out that someone else could lease the space and become competition. So, they went for it.
“We didn’t think we’d open a place so soon here, but that’s the way it worked out,” said Heather.
On a Wednesday, the place began to fill with customers.
“I got the Piggy,” said Marilyn Gertner, of Maryville. It’s No. 39 on the menu: slow-smoked pulled pork piled high on a Hawaiian bun and topped with house cole slaw and banana peppers for $9. “I figured if I was going to get a sandwich with that name I might as well get the onion straws (as a side). It was excellent.”
If you want some good background music with your food and drink, check out the live acoustic music from 8 p.m. to midnight Thursday through Saturday. Football fans will appreciate the NFL Sunday Ticket and the many big-screen TVs. In good weather, the large back patio, some of which is covered, is a nice place to dine, and can be rented out for private parties. There also is outdoor seating on the front sidewalk.
“We wanted to create a casual, friendly atmosphere with good food,” said Heather.
At a glance
What: Full bar and casual restaurant. Live music, patio.
Where: 118 E. Main St., Collinsville, one block east of Illinois 159
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday, Tuesday and Sunday; to midnight Wednesday and Thursday; to 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday
Handicapped accessible: Yes
Information: 618-343-2020, www.dboozers.com, Facebook