T.G.I. Friday's in Champaign closing
CHAMPAIGN — The TGI Friday's restaurant in Champaign is closing after 20 years in business, according to the parent company.
Calls placed Friday to the franchisee's regional manager, Greg Wallace, were not immediately returned.
But a person working with the TGI Friday's chain said the Champaign location was closing because the franchise agreement was expiring and the franchisee did not want to renew it.
The franchisee, Village X, also operates the TGI Friday's restaurants in Bloomington, Effingham and Springfield. Managers at those restaurants said they will remain open.
The Champaign restaurant, located at Trade Centre South near the corner of Kirby Avenue and Neil Street, opened on April 6, 1992. It occupied about 8,000 square feet on the first floor of Trade Centre South.
Jerry Ramshaw of Ramshaw Real Estate, which handles leasing at Trade Centre South, declined comment Friday on the future of the space.
TGI Friday's — part of Carrollton, Texas-based Carlson Cos. — has 924 restaurants in 61 countries. When TGI Friday's opened in Champaign in 1992, the chain had only 171 restaurants.
TGI Friday's got its start in New York in 1965, opened a second restaurant in Memphis in 1970 and a third in Dallas in 1972. The casual-dining chain was acquired by Carlson Cos. in 1975 and grew to more than 500 restaurants by 1998.
Carlson is also in the hotel business under the Radisson, Country Inn and Suites, and Park Inn brands and is in the travel business under Carlson Wagonlit Travel.