The latest burger-centric restaurant to come to Champaign-Urbana is Meatheads Burgers & Fries, a Chicago-based company that opened its first location in Bloomington about four years ago.
The family-friendly, fast-casual restaurant will be in the former Blockbuster store at 1305 S. Neil St., C, and owner Tom Jednorowicz is aiming for an opening by the end of this year depending on how construction progresses.
Work began this week on transforming the video store to a restaurant, and plans include a covered outdoor seating area.
The regional chain opened its first restaurant in Bloomington in 2007 and followed up with Chicago-area restaurants. Another opened in Normal earlier this year. Champaign will be the seventh Meatheads location.
Customers order at a counter and have their food delivered to them. Staff buses tables.
"There's no Formica or cheap materials. Inside are butcher-block tables, a cedar wall — all natural materials similar to the food, which is fresh, natural, hand-made," Jednorowicz said.
Burgers go for about $5, and a total check may be around $8, "but our kitchens are fine dining. Working in our kitchens requires culinary acumen. They're not pushing buttons on a microwave," he said.
Eventually there will be a drive-though, but that likely will not be added to the restaurant right away.
"Our food is made fresh and is made to be eaten soon after," he said.
In downtown Urbana
Two area photographers have partnered to launch CU Studio Share, a photography studio and gallery in the former Fleurish flower shop at 110 S. Race St. in downtown Urbana.
Holly Smith of Holly Birch Photography and Allyson Sanborn of Sweet Pea Photography are seeking member photographers who are interested in sharing studio space there. Both women shared a small meeting space in the building and were looking for a place for indoor photo shoots.
"The square footage is big (1,900 square feet), and we liked the look of it all — the white ceilings, white walls and the full-length windows on the west side are perfect for natural light portrait shooting," Smith said.
Smith focuses on weddings, as well as some sports and commercial work. Sanborn mostly works with children and families.
More information is available at http://www.custudioshare.com.
Rantoul's newest business — Ace Hardware — has opened its doors.
The store, at 1223 Grove Ave., is in the former Save-A-Lot grocery store building in the Maple Grove shopping center. The center also is home to County Market, which opened this year. Both stores are owned by Niemann Foods.
The hardware store has about 8,500 square feet of sales space and sells electrical, plumbing, gardening and some automotive supplies. Products include oil, power tools, paint and a limited amount of lumber, and services include screen repair and key cutting.
The store is open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday and can be reached at 892-4895.
Animal Hospital at the Crossing of Champaign has recently expanded its grooming department.
The business, at 3001 Village Office Place, added another groomer and bather to its staff. It now offers morning and afternoon appointments for bathing (shampooing and conditioning), ear cleaning and plucking, nail trimming and more.
All breeds, from Pomeranians to Great Danes, are accepted.
The business can be reached at 356-6387.
The Curves fitness center at 1808-A Round Barn Road, C, is under new ownership.
Cheri Perry recently acquired the franchise from Darby Coleman.
The center can be reached at 398-9780.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org; or by regular mail at The News-Gazette, c/o It's Your Business column, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-067