Although it recently went through a change in kitchen staff, that doesn't seem to have made a difference to our readers, who voted Broadgauge as the best new restaurant and the best overall restaurant – this despite being in Petersburg, a decent drive from Springfield.
Owner Douglas Pope left Petersburg to attend college more than 20 years ago and returned during the pandemic, now able to work remotely. "I made a really quick decision, within a week of moving back, that the Broadgauge would be my new passion and what I want to give back to the Petersburg community," he told IT last year when work was getting underway. He acquired the 1872-vintage Broadgauge building, formerly Robbins Department Store, along with several nearby properties and set about transforming the northwest corner of the town square.
First-time diners can't help but note that the physical space itself is stunning. There's plenty of dark wood, yet Broadgauge still seems light and airy. Check out the grand staircase that leads to the open second floor, or have a seat at the long bar. In addition to the public areas, there are numerous other unique spaces that can host all kinds of events.
The food equals, if not surpasses, the setting. Broadgauge offers a delightful combination of drinks with some interesting twists and a well-rounded but compact menu that has something for just about everyone. Dishes like cheese curds (served with a unique yum-yum sauce), the 1872 beef filet, the fried chicken and pan-seared halibut keep customers coming back. Our personal favorite is the Jimmysticks hot chicken made with buttermilk tenders, hot honey glaze and pimento cheese.
For those not in the mood for a full dinner, Broadgauge offers brunch and lunch and also has a coffee shop, bakery and performing arts and events center. Finally, Broadgauge is quite popular, so reservations are highly recommended.