By Doug Cumpton
As winter crawls toward its end and many of us anxiously await the return of warmer temperatures, it is nice to know that in Southwest Missouri there is a place to escape the winter blues. At the Fire and Ice Restaurant and Bar, located inside the Springfield Ramada Oasis Hotel and Convention Center, tropical surroundings warm your soul, and a contemporary restaurant setting provides a cool atmosphere.
The Springfield Ramada Oasis is the brainchild of the facilities owner, Robert Low, whose goal was to bring a beach resort experience to the southwestern Missouri market. To accomplish this feat the facility employs a vibrant color scheme wrapped in modern architecture with a light and airy feel. To cap off the experience the facility includes an impressive atrium, which houses an array of tropical plant life that is visible from inside Fire and Ice and the facility’s private dining spaces.
The concept for Fire and Ice itself was born out of a dining experience that Low enjoyed on a visit to West Palm Beach, Fla. To tie into the resort feel the restaurant shares the warm atmosphere of the facility, but incorporates mosaic tile work and stainless steel fixtures to create a hip restaurant feel. Its name comes from the inclusion of the area’s only curved ice bar, which provides the perfect viewpoint to watch the flames as the restaurant’s chefs prepare their signature culinary delights in the open-concept kitchen.
“It has a very unique decor and just a very nice feel about it,” said Dave Starbuck, the president of the Midwest Gang Investigators Association Missouri chapter, who frequently hosts board meetings at Fire and Ice. “It’s one of those restaurants you walk in and feel very comfortable … it has a little bit of an upscale feel, but you don’t feel overwhelmed.”
Fire and Ice’s chefs are led by John Blansit, who is a certified executive chef by the American Culinary Federation. Blansit classifies the menu as world cuisine with a mixed grill of American, Asian and European-inspired signature dishes. The lunch menu features an exciting selection of entrees, such as Pad Thai with chicken, beef or shrimp offered at $10, or fish tacos with pan-seared tilapia at $8. Other favorites include distinctive burgers, sandwiches and wraps, such as the Flatbread Club Melt for $8, or the half-pound Maker’s Mark Whiskey Burger served with a signature whiskey sauce, Viennese onions and cheddar cheese on a ciabatta bun for $9. All of the burgers and sandwiches at Fire and Ice come with a choice of hand-cut fries or potato chips, and a cup of the soup du jour or a house dinner salad can be substituted for $2.
Many of the lunch favorites can also be found on the dinner menu, along with savory dishes such as the Blackened Seafood Carbonara, which incorporates blackened shrimp and bay scal- lops with penne noodles, bacon, tomatoes and asparagus tips tossed in a creamy carbonara sauce, all for $18. Or the Creole Snapper, composed of an Andouille-sausage-encrusted, panseared red snapper accompanied by gumbo risotto and southern greens offered at $27.
Perhaps Fire and Ice is best known for the dry-aged certified Angus steaks that are dry-aged onsite in a specially designed meat locker. The house special is the Ribeye, which is paired with harvest potatoes and grilled jumbo asparagus for $30. Additionally, pan-seared sea scallops, lobster tail or seared ahi tuna can be added to any steak order to create a custom surf and turf experience.
The entire menu at Fire and Ice is available to cater both onand off-site events, and the staff can work with any group to customize a menu that will fit a broad range of budgets. Joni Wagner is the office manager at Life Publishers, an Evangelical publishing ministry located in Springfield. She hosted her company’s Christmas party of 45 guests at Fire and Ice in 2011 and was impressed with the flexibility she found in the restaurant’s catering options. “I already knew it had a high rating as a restaurant, so I wasn’t even going to consider them … I thought there was no way we could afford to have an event there,” Wagner said. But after outlining her budgetary concerns with the staff at Fire and Ice they were able to come back with menu options that far exceeded Wagner’s expectations. “I was blown out of the water,” Wagner said. “I could not believe that they could come in under budget and provide us with such excellent, excellent meals.”
The drink menu at Fire and Ice includes an array of bottled beers, top shelf liqueurs, martinis and an extensive wine list. In addition, the drink menu takes the tropical theme one step further with its signature frozen selections, available in either alcoholic or virgin varieties. With concoctions like the Hula Hula – a frozen drink that blends Midori melon liqueur with strawberry and pineapple – your taste buds are sure to be swept away to a warmer latitude.
The bartending staff at Fire and Ice also has the capability to create a unique cocktail to serve at your event. “We are actually known for that in our area,” said Missy Handyside, general manager of the Ramada Oasis Hotel and Convention Center. “A lot of times, whatever the event, we will design a recipe for a cocktail that fits that event, or the name of the group, or what kind of theme that they may be having.”
For events large or small, Fire and Ice has six distinct private dining spaces that can accommodate groups from 12 to 100 guests,. Ranging in size from 245 to 1,480 square feet, these rooms are located within steps of Fire and Ice and have private entrances for your guests’ convenience. There is also 1,500 square feet of available space in the hotel’s atrium that can be utilized for a unique dining experience surrounded by tropical foliage.
As for amenities, each space can be custom-tailored to fit the needs and theme of your event. Audio and video equipment is readily available, and the larger spaces house LCD projectors with 8 x 11” screens that can display any laptop or tablet. Additionally, these rooms can be decorated to your party’s specifications, and special arrangements can be made to incorporate ice sculptures to tie into the restaurant’s fire and ice concept.
Whether you are looking for winter relief, or a chilled bar to keep your drink cold in the summer, Fire and Ice can fit the bill. It is unquestionably one of the best places to go in Missouri for the ultimate stay-cation, even if only for a meal.MM&E
Fire and Ice Restaurant
Located in the Ramada Inn Oasis Hotel
2546 North Glenstone
Springfield, Missouri 65803
For Catering Services, call 417-522-7729