For MacMurray alum, moving restaurant business to Jacksonville is like coming home

As a student walking through the campus of MacMurray College in the late 1990s, Brian Reilly is unlikely to have realized how closely he and the campus would ever be.

Reilly remained active with his alma mater, serving for several years on the college’s alumni council after graduating in 1999.

Then the natural course of life continued to shift to other pursuits, such as marriage, work, and starting one’s own business. MacMurray College closed in May 2020 after 174 years. In less than a year, the campus and its majestic university buildings would be sold to the highest bidders.

But Reilly and his wife, Melissa, wouldn’t let the story end there.

Instead, they decided to move the operations of their business, Cured Catering, to Brian’s old stomping ground.

The Reillys announced Wednesday that while the company will continue to provide dining services in Springfield and other west-central Illinois locations, they will operate the former McClelland Dining Hall and Annie Merner Chapel and will have spaces available at both locations. They plan to include an outdoor patio for events and an on-site Airbnb rental for weddings and event planners.

The McClelland Dining Hall and Annie Merner Chapel are two of the most iconic rooms on the MacMurray College campus. Jacksonville real estate developer Michael Hayes bought the buildings along with others in 2020, and they’ve been used to host several events over the years.

Brian Reilly said Wednesday that Cured Catering would take over full operation of the buildings and rental with the intention of buying both, along with parking.

Cured Catering has been based in Springfield since opening in 2017. It offers “large-scale catering with an eye on presentation” for crowds of 25 to 1,000 people.

His slogan: “Restoration doesn’t have to be boring, and it shouldn’t be.”

Brian Reilly told the Cured Catering website that he used this philosophy “to create a company that takes a new approach to the often outdated restaurant market”, and that he draws heavily on decades of knowledge. -do in terms of management, hospitality and special event services.

He said moving operations to Jacksonville will help those planning events.

“As a catering company, Cured Catering has a history of hosting more than one event at multiple locations at once,” he said. “This move will allow us to hold events in our own space, which will make this task easier.”

The fact that this is in familiar territory is like pairing the perfect wine with a meal.

“MacMurray College being my former home ground, was a big influence in choosing the location as a temporary and hopefully permanent home location for our operations,” said Brian Reilly. “Not only do I want to operate in a familiar kitchen and environment, but also – as a former student and former board member – I am honored to be able to keep the college’s legacy alive. “

Cured Catering also announced on Wednesday that it has purchased the former Risen Savior Lutheran Church in Buffalo with the aim of converting the space into an event, wedding and live music venue. He hopes to open The Bullard Country Chapel in early 2023 with a commercial catering kitchen, event and dining space for more than 200 guests, an outdoor courtyard and an allergen-friendly ice cream shop.

The company is also in negotiations to be the featured caterer for the Decatur Hotel and Conference Center, Brian Reilly said. It would provide service for the 55,000 square foot event space.