MARSHFIELD, Mo. — On the corner of Jackson and Clay Street in Marshfield stands one of the oldest buildings in town. What has been called the Condo Building for decades will now open as The Jackson Grille, a fine dining restaurant in the heart of Webster County.

“This is a destination,” explains Jeff White. “It’s going to be a place for date night, prom, anniversary. You won’t have to drive clear to Springfield.”

When Jeff was first approached by the city historian Randy Clair about opening a restaurant, he couldn’t say no fast enough.

“In fact, it was coming out of COVID and I thought I never wanted to do another restaurant in my life,” Jeff said.

Something — whether it was Randy’s charm or the old building — won Jeff over.

The history of the Condo Building

The building was built in 1869 as the Methodist Episcopal Church North. In the above photo, it’s the spired church on the right. The brick building featured a bell tower and arched glass windows. In 1879, Reverend Eli E. Condo became the minister of the church.

During this time, the Methodist church in town became bitterly divided between the North and South post-Civil War. 

On the morning of Sunday, April 18, 1880, the sky was beautiful and blue. The townspeople made their way to Sunday worship that morning to listen to Condo’s sermon, “The Love of Christ.”

After the sermon, Condo went home to his wife on two boys and enjoyed the afternoon. As the day went on, the sky began to darken.

A historic cyclone nearly leveled the town of Marshfield that evening. The church was in its path.

“The cyclone basically leveled this building down to one partial corner,” he said.

Reverend E. E. Condo was on his way to the church for Sunday evening services when the storm swept through town. Condo was killed by a falling tree.

Rising from the tragedy, the people of Marshfield had the church rebuilt and back in use by 1882. It was renamed: the Condo Memorial Methodist Episcopal Church North.

In 1924, the church voted to redesign the church to give it the distinctive English Tudor style it’s known for today. In postbellum unity, the North and South churches reunited in 1939. The larger congregation decided to worship in the larger St. Johns building and use the Condo Church as a fellowship hall.

The same building has now been painstakingly transformed into The Jackson Grille.  Over the course of its lifetime, it has played host to many different community groups, including a Boy Scout troop.

“I never dreamed while I was here learning to tie knots that one day I would be owning the building and we would be opening a restaurant in it,” Randy said.

New beginnings

Jeff and Randy started with the walls of a building built over 140 years ago, but the rest of the place was a blank slate. 

“Believe it or not, there was nothing in this room,” says Jeff, standing in the middle of a bar. “It was a blank room. But, it looks like it has been here for 150 years.”

The restaurant sits on the Frisco Railroad. The bar area will be aptly named The Frisco Lounge.

Randy sourced wood from the same time period. He found light fixtures with a story. Some chandeliers were purchased from Wayne Newton’s estate in Branson.

“[Wayne] bought all of his vintage antiques from Marilyn Monroe’s estate,” Randy said with a smile. “So these were supposedly in Marilyn Monroe’s estate, although I have no proof of that.

It was a labor of love for both Randy and Jeff. Now, it’s time to share with their community.

“If I had a nickel for everyone that said, ‘When you opening? We’re so excited. We can’t wait,’  we wouldn’t even have to open the restaurant,” laughs Randy.

Opening day for The Jackson Grille will be May 24, 2023.  You can go to The Jackson Grille website if you want to see the menu or in-depth history and photos from the building’s past.