The first thing chef Michael Higgins did when he took over management of Maldaner’s Restaurant in 1982 was drop the horseshoe sandwich, a cheese-meat-and-fries Springfield favorite, from the menu. The second thing he did was put it back.
“People started walking out,” Higgins said. “It’s the curse and the blessing of taking over a restaurant. You also take over the history.”
The dining history at Sixth and Monroe streets completed its 125th year in 2009, a fact highlighted recently at the annual banquet of Downtown Springfield Inc. Maldaner’s was among a group of businesses — ranging from furniture stores to law offices — recognized as having been downtown for at least a century.
Major restorations in the 1970s and ‘80s returned the Maldaner’s building to much of its original appearance, though ,as Higgins pointed out, the menu and ambience have had to evolve with the times. He said folks in high places still frequent the restaurant as a place to chew over the latest in city and state government politics.