Sports bar and grill changes ownership


Hometown Sports Bar and Grill, located at 241 E. Lincoln Hwy., is now under new ownership after previously being Upper Deck and Filo Spinato’s.

By Eric Beesley

DeKALB | The former Upper Deck Sports Bar and Grill has changed ownership and is now called the Hometown Sports Bar and Grill, 241 E. Lincoln Highway.

Tom Schmidt, the new owner of the restaurant, said they are excited about this new opportunity.

“We are new to the area and hope to find a nice balance between the food we serve and the bar aspect; hopefully it’s a good mix for the DeKalb area,” Schmidt said. “We bring a good product with unique sandwiches from across the country and are now open for lunch and dinner.”

Mayor Kris Povlsen said the new owners are changing the atmosphere of the restaurant.

“The new owners are trying to make it more of a sports bar where customers can go watch a sporting event and have a drink and a sandwich,” Povlsen said.

Upper Deck was owned by Mel Witmer along with O’Leary’s Bar and Grill, 260 E. Lincoln Highway, Povlsen said. Previous to being Upper Deck, the property was Filo Spinato’s, an Italian-style restaurant also owned by Witmer. At this time in 2007, Witmer received an architectural improvement loan in the amount of $25,000 from the city to improve the general facade of a building, Povlsen said.

Witmer said that he was spread a little too thin and he sold the business, confident that Shmidt could be around more than he could.

“They are going to do real well,” Witmer said. “An owner who is present on a daily basis will be successful because they are there dealing with customers. It gives the restaurant a community feel.”

At the Feb. 14 city council meeting, council decided Witmer will still be responsible for repaying the loan, despite how long any other business is at the property. Povlsen said Witmer signed the contract which still has two years left on it and he has to repay the loan.

“I am the property owner so that is my responsibility,” Witmer said.

Schmidt said he bought the business outright from Witmer and has no affiliation with him or the loan.