The Sparta

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An ad for The Sparta from 1949
Ad from The Newark Advocate on May 31, 1949 advertising the opening of The Sparta at 16 West Main St.

The Sparta got its start in 1902, when Christ P. Baruxes, a Greek immigrant, opened the Sparta Confectionery Company in Downtown Newark. Mr. Baruxes was a Greek immigrant who came to the United States in the late 1800s and spent a year in New York before settling in Newark, Ohio. The original Sparta concept was a soda and candy shop, specializing in a variety of candies sold through the storefront as well as being available for shipment to other states. The original location was 15 North Third Street, with the confection factory, built in 1920, being located at 50 North Second Street.[1]

An ad from 1935
An ad from July 13, 1935

The Sparta remained in its original location for 7 years, before relocating to 5 North Third Street (less than half a block away from its original location. In the late 1920’s and early 1930s, as it moved locations and adapted to the needs of the community, Sparta became more focused on being a restaurant and hub of the community and less so on confectioneries. After the Great Depression, the Baruxes family closed the Brux Candy factory and it never reopened. The building was eventually torn down in 1974 and a Sheraton Inn was built in its place.[2]


Move to 16 West Main Street

In 1949, the Baruxes family purchased 16 West Main Street, the building which became the Sparta’s home for 66 years. The building had previously been Elliott Hardware Company (the name of the current restaurant in that location is a nod to the building's past).

The Sparta remained in the hands of the Baruxes family until 1988, when Daisy Estep is listed as the owner-manager of the Sparta in the Newark City Directory. In 1998, Wendell Parkinson, along with partners Jed and Dave Palone, purchased the building at 16 West Main Street and re-opened the Sparta focusing on breakfast, lunch, and dinner, in addition to a small selection of hand-made candies.[3]

The Sparta in the Twenty-First Century

The Sparta remained open through most of the first decade of the twenty-first century, changing hands from the Parkinson/Palone partnership to David Bryant and Robert Gordon in 2008. However, with each change in ownership, the proprietors strove to maintain the integrity of the Sparta and what it meant to many Newark residents as a meeting place and local icon.

In July of 2012, the Sparta, under the ownership of Chris Ramsey, was re-opened and “re-vamped as a diner and coffee shop with a mission to become a community hub and help those in need.” Focusing on responsibly-sourced fresh foods and products, the Sparta offered training and employment to many in need. [4] The Sparta remained open and heavily focused on doing good in the Newark community for just under four years. It served as a meeting place and fundraising partner for many community-focused organizations and continued to educate, train, and often feed those in need.

The Sparta's Closing

On July 29th, 2016, the Sparta closed its doors permanently. At the time of its closure, ownership had transferred, once again, from Ramsey to Project Main Street, a nonprofit organization aimed at reinvesting in the community. The organization cited a 40% drop in business, due to the construction in downtown Newark and the mounting cost of maintenance and improvements, as its reason for closing the business.[5]

R.K.

References

  1. Brent Snavely, "Sparta Ready for Re-Opening," The Newark Advocate, February 15, 1998.
  2. “Local Focus,” The Newark Advocate, April 2, 1977.
  3. Snavely, “Sparta Ready for Re-Opening.”
  4. Anna Jefferies, “Sparta Serves Breakfast and Lunch with a Purpose,” The Newark Advocate, March 17, 2016.
  5. Jennifer Smola, “Sparta Restaurant Can’t Survive Downtown Newark Construction,” The Columbus Dispatch, July 29, 2016.