Group donates $30,000 for teaching kitchen

URBANA — Flatlander Food Foundry is donating nearly $30,000 to help cover the costs of equipping Common Ground Food Co-Op's teaching kitchen, the group announced last week.

The Flatlander Fund was organized in July 2010, shortly after the death of chocolate entrepreneur Daniel H. Schreiber, to help carry out his visions.

City to take another look at food trucks

CHAMPAIGN — The city of Champaign plans to revisit the issue of how it lets food-truck vendors operate.

Currently, certain food-truck vendors are registered as peddlers and aren't allowed to stay in one location very long, unless they're on private property.

Market at the Square returns this Saturday

URBANA — The Urbana farmers' market — Market at the Square — returns to the Lincoln Square Village parking lot this Saturday.

The market will run from 7 a.m. to noon each Saturday through Nov. 3, according to director Lisa Bralts.

The event is held in the southeastern portion of the parking lot, near the corner of Vine and Illinois streets.

Savoy to vote on permit for brewing company

By JULIA LEATHERWOOD/For the County Star

SAVOY — The village board is scheduled next week to vote on a special-use permit for a "nanobrewery." Before the Wednesday meeting, the board will hold a public hearing on the issue at 7 p.m.

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.

County board approves local foods council

URBANA — County board members approved the establishment of a Champaign County Local Foods Policy Council to encourage the establishment of small businesses including those producing fresh fruits and vegetables, and to urge large institutional entities to commit to the use of 10 percent locally produced foods.

Six area companies taking part in food samples event

SPRINGFIELD — Want to sample a vast array of foods from Illinois?

You'll get a chance this weekend at the Illinois Products Expo, scheduled Saturday and Sunday in the Orr Building on the Illinois State Fairgrounds.

Fifty-four Illinois food companies — including six from East Central Illinois — will give away samples of their products at the expo, now in its 14th year.

Here's the restaurant guide from Tom Kacich's column

Tom Kacich's column Sunday in The News-Gazette is about a restaurant guide from the Urbana Free Library archives. Attached is a pdf file of the guide, and here are a couple photos we found of the places mentioned in it.

From the column:

"It's almost like an archeological find, a peek back at a different culture, a different landscape, a different people.

Buca di Beppo Italian restaurant coming in late summer

CHAMPAIGN — The popular Buca di Beppo chain plans to open a restaurant at Champaign's Market Place Mall in the late summer, mall owner General Growth Properties announced Tuesday.

The restaurant will occupy about 5,000 square feet near the food court in the former Pasta House space, said mall general manager Dennis Robertson.

Spending cuts, competition, changes in taste affect fine-dining restaurants

URBANA — Fine-dining restaurants are finding it more difficult to succeed as competition increases, tastes change and clients cut back on spending, observers of the local restaurant scene say.