Littlefield bourbon bar owners planning two new ventures

CINCINNATI -- The owners of The Littlefield, Northside bourbon bar and kitchen, are expanding their culinary offerings with two new ventures in Cincinnati.

Matt Distel said he and business partners John Ford, Michael Berry and Chad Scholten hope to open bar and gaming venue Second Place by the end of September.

“The Second Place is in Northside right next to Littlefield,” said Distel, who handles restaurant operations and concept design for the group. “It is more of a bar with games.”

Second Place, located at 3963 Spring Grove Ave., will have a large bar with beers on tap, multiple flat-screen televisions, board games, billiards and dart boards. Littlefield opened at 3934 Spring Grove Ave. in 2014 with a focus on cocktails and food prepared by chef Shoshannah Hafner.

As Distel and Ford put the finishing touches on Second Place, Berry and Scholten, who handle property acquisition and development for South Block Proprieties, are ramping up plans to turn the former Central Trust Company East Branch building at the corner of Woodburn Avenue and Madison Road in East Walnut Hills into the group's first full-scale dining establishment.

“We’re pretty well moving along,” Berry said. “We have submitted for permits with the city. It is largely designed and engineered.”

The business partners purchased the property at 1535 Madison Road earlier this year with financing assistance from the city, the Cincinnati Development Fund and a state historic tax credit. Rehabilitating the former bank, which was built in the 1920s and has sat empty since the 1970s, will cost an estimated $1.2 million.

Northside Bank and Trust administered the group's loan for the project.

“Once we have the clearing to go ahead it will take about a 12-month construction period,” Berry said. “I think a big part of that is that some of the historic features are cumbersome. It has some really nice plastered, coppered ceilings, but a lot of it is missing. We are committed to replacing them.”

After the interior work is complete, the space will be able to sit about 90 people.

“For Littlefield’s chef, Shoshannah Hafner, this is an opportunity to let her flex a little bit,” Distell said of yet-to-be-named restaurant. “It will have a full-size kitchen. We think it is something that will be a real nice addition to the neighborhood.”

Berry said the restaurant should be able to add a patio and possibly more seating or a secondary bar in the basement during a second phase of remodeling.

“I think it’s going to be a really neat space,” he said. "I know a number of people have been through since the building has been opened lately. I’m just excited about the space and the neighborhood.”

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