It's Your Business: French country dishes star at new Carmon's

It's Your Business: French country dishes star at new Carmon's

The newly refashioned Carmon's Bistro officially debuted last week.

The restaurant, owned by Bacaro proprietor Thad Morrow, with Josh Boyd as executive chef and Jenna Frye as general manager, features French country cuisine.

Think grilled trout, lamb cassoulet and roasted chicken.

"Rustic, hearty dishes," Frye said.

Other current menu options include mussels, hunter's sausage and steak frites. Food is sourced from local farms, and products change depending on what's available, Frye said.

Most small plates are about $6 to $9, save for the oysters which are $15. Large plates are mostly $15 to $20, except for the half-chicken, which serves two and runs $28.

Under previous ownership, the restaurant at 415 N. Neil St., C, was most recently a creperie. It closed over the summer.

With nine tables, it's now a small bistro and can seat only parties up to six people in size. Diners can also sit at the bar and receive food service; the bar seats 14.

"Our wine list is organic, and some are biodynamic," Frye said. Most wines are under $50 a bottle. Wines available by glass will vary. Ciders from France and Spain also will be available.

"We also will have some hand-crafted cocktails like absinthe, and Belgian-style ales as well," she said.

The restaurant is open for dinner only from 5 to 11 p.m. every day except Monday. It can be reached at 378-2299. Reservations can be made by calling the restaurant or via Open Table.

On Uncle Jack's and Billy Barooz

Following the closure of Uncle Jack's last month, the staff and most of the breakfast menu moved to nearby Billy Barooz in the Village at the Crossing complex in southwest Champaign.

Uncle Jack's, at 2501 Village Green Place, opened last winter and featured American comfort food. Carlos Nieto, one of the owners, said they closed the restaurant, which initially served only breakfast and lunch, because once they started offering dinner there, the food resembled that being served at Billy Barooz and "we cannibalized ourselves," he said.

The plans are to eventually reopen the Uncle Jack's space as a full-service Mexican restaurant, though Nieto said they're not in any rush to do so.

The Village at the Crossing development has American, Thai, Indian and Chinese food represented there, and Nieto said southwest Champaign could be well-served by a Mexican restaurant.

At any rate, if you've had a hankering for the omelets once served at Uncle Jack's, head to Billy Barooz for those, plus buttermilk pancakes, French toast and other breakfast items.

Breakfast is offered 7 to 11 a.m. daily, except on Sundays when brunch is served until noon. Billy Barooz, at 2521 Village Green Place, can be reached at 355-8030.

Cellphone shopping

The little building under construction in front of County Market on Philo Road in Urbana will house a U.S. Cellular store.

The store, being built on land owned by the grocery store chain, is expected to open at the end of November. It replaces a long-closed Baskin-Robbins ice cream shop.

Engine repair

Following the death of his father, Ron Hays, and the subsequent closure of Ron's Mower Shop on U.S. 45 in Urbana, Don Hays has opened his own small-engine repair business.

The new business will be named Don's Mower Shop, and it will be based in Fisher, where Don and his wife, Marsha Hays, live.

Don Hays worked with his father, Ron Hays, for years repairing mowers, chain saws, snow blowers and other small engines.

Don's also offers blade-sharpening service. The business offers pickups and deliveries within 60 miles of Fisher. Estimates are free.

The shop is at 365 County Road 3300 N in Fisher and can be reached at 344-4330 or via email at

Open house

The IDEA Store will celebrate one year in business with an open house on Friday.

The store, which accepts and sells arts and crafts and school supplies, benefits the Champaign Urbana Schools Foundation.

Think of it as the "Eco-Edu-Art Creative Re-use Marketplace" in Champaign-Urbana.

In the last year, the store grew from about 3,400 square feet to more than 7,000 square feet. A classroom has been added, and the store offers workshops, open studio time and rentals for parties.

The open house will be from 5 to 7 p.m. at the store, 28 E. Springfield Ave., C.

The store is open 2 to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays. The store takes donations on days it is open. It can be reached at 352-7878.

Opening Monday

The new LongHorn Steak House opens Monday.

The restaurant, at 2101 N. Prospect Ave., C., replaces the Cheddar's restaurant that operated there before it was demolished. The LongHorn chain is a division of Darden Restaurants, which also operates Red Lobster and Olive Garden restaurants.

LongHorn will be open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. On opening day, however, the restaurant will open at 4 p.m. It can be reached at 352-9189.

Are you opening a new business or changing an existing business? Christine des Garennes can be reached by phone at 351-5388 or 800-252-3346; by e-mail at; or by regular mail at The News-Gazette, c/o It's Your Business column, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-0677.

Comments embraces discussion of both community and world issues. We welcome you to contribute your ideas, opinions and comments, but we ask that you avoid personal attacks, vulgarity and hate speech. We reserve the right to remove any comment at our discretion, and we will block repeat offenders' accounts. To post comments, you must first be a registered user, and your username will appear with any comment you post. Happy posting.

Login or register to post comments

KSearsmith wrote on October 09, 2011 at 9:10 pm

Dear Uncle Jack Owners -- Mexican? Really? I love Mexican, and we've already got some good ones in town. Let's take a poll of CU residents (and surrounding communities) to see what's missing. I grew up eating really great Italian American. Not much of it here. Also, how about Eastern European? What I wouldn't give for that in town. Pierogies anyone?

Janet wrote on October 10, 2011 at 8:10 am

That's what I was thinking-- Mexican restaurant? How many are already in town? 20?