If you spend enough time in Rolla, there's a good chance you will run into Mike Lillie.
Lillie, 50, the former owner of the Locker Room and current owner of C&M Billiards in downtown Rolla, is known to many as one of the movers and shakers in the local entertainment scene.
Native to Rolla, his newest business venture, Somewhere Else in Doolittle, is on its way to becoming one of the area's top local hotspots for dining and live music.
Now a few weeks old, Somewhere Else, owned by Lillie, Josh Brown and John Curler, has featured local bands such as The Dirty Midwest, Merkaba and Bad Wolf.
Lillie, who also works full-time with Pipeline Construction Management, took some time from his busy schedule last week to tell us more about the new place and himself.
What was the deciding factor in opening Somewhere Else?
Originally just interested in purchasing the restaurant equipment from BackRoads Bar & Grill. But after talking to some friends, we decided to take the leap into reopening the location with the goal of making it the absolute best overall bar/grill & venue for entertainment in the area.
Why Not? (laughs) I have plenty of friends in the area, partner Josh Brown has family from here and it's just far enough out of Rolla to keep it unique as well as to avoid the smoking ban that is active in the Rolla City Limits.
How did you get into the "bar/ service-industry business?"
It's in my blood. I worked in restaurants most of my young life, and once again to assist in paying for college where I first started managing bars and restaurants. As I got older I wanted to remodel and reopen places that were part of my youth. I first opened the Locker Room where The Top Hat Lounge once had been.
It was a successful business that I sold in 2009 to Ava Chu who continued to do a great job with it. Then it was on to Stan's Corner Pocket when it closed. It was remodeled and we renamed it C&M Billiards, but once it was decided that the "pool hall" business was not as popular as in the 70s and 80s, my wife Tina and I turned it into a pub with a focus on local musical talents but limited food options. C&M has become a primarily college bar but we are proud to have a dedicated group of local patrons and musicians.When the chance came to open another large scale bar & grill at an acceptable price, my partners and I jumped at the opportunity.
What do you love most about being involved in the service industry?
My job in the pipeline industry has afforded me the ability to travel the entire country and enjoy some unique food and beverages. I'm hoping that together with my partners we will be able to bring this type of unique dining as well as entertainment to our area for all to enjoy.
What do you love most about living in Phelps County?
Central Missouri in general is the best place in the country in my opinion. We get all 4 seasons, hills, rivers, and lakes – and Phelps County is only 100 miles from Columbia, St Louis and Springfield. That's hard to beat!!
What do you do to relax?
I'd say that time at the beach with my wife when possible.
Who is your hero and why?
Not to sound cliche, but it would me my parents. They somehow made me into anything successful that I am. The jury is still out.
What is your favorite movie?
I like "Man on Fire."
Favorite historical figure?
Andrew Jackson – A character for sure, good and bad.
Best vacation ever?
Mexico – Beautiful beach and weather, and I was married there to boot.
In your opinion, what would be the perfect job and why?
I'm doing it most of the time in one capacity or another. Do what you love and don't worry about keeping up with the Jones' and life's always good.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Retired and on a beach.
Who is your best friend?
My Wife Tina. She can tolerate me and all of my wild ideas and promises.
What is one little-known fact about yourself that most people would find surprising?
I'm actually very emotional.
If you could meet anyone - alive or dead - who would it be?
Probably my wife's older sister Denise. I never had the privilege of meeting her before she passed, but I've never heard a bad thing said about her by anyone. She had a huge impact on my wife and stepdaughters. I've always felt I missed out not knowing her.
If you had a time machine, and you could visit any place at any time, where and when you go?
Tough question with endless possibilities. I'm pretty simple, and I don't feel I've missed out on much. I have no personal regrets to go back to, and I would never change history, so I think I'll leave that one to Marty McFly and Dr. Brown.