It's Your Business: Restaurant back after fire

It's Your Business: Restaurant back after fire

Layalina Mediterranean Grill is back in business at a new location after fire destroyed its former location in November.

The restaurant reopened Wednesday in the former Minneci's building at First Street and Springfield Avenue in Champaign — just a couple blocks east of the previous Layalina site at 40 E. Springfield Ave., C.

"The customers told us they liked the food, so we tried as hard as we could and found the old Minneci's building to continue in," said Abed Saleh, nephew of Layalina operator Sahar Ramadan.

"We've added Middle Eastern hangings, and we're planning to do more as time goes on," Saleh said.

In the meantime, Layalina is serving much the same food it did before, including falafel, hummus, kabobs and shawerma.

Layalina is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week, Saleh said.

The Nov. 16 fire at the old Layalina location occurred only two weeks after the restaurant had opened.

"It was really tragic," Saleh said. "But (my uncle) really liked the business and the customers. They were happy with the food. When the restaurant burned down, it was a dark time. But after we found a place, it kept him going."

Saleh said his uncle came to Champaign-Urbana about five years ago from Palestine and saw a need here for an authentic Mediterranean restaurant.

Layalina's phone number is 607-5455.


A new restaurant will open next week on the main floor of Sylvia's Irish Inn, the bed-and-breakfast at 312 W. Green St., U.

Chef Joshua Huddleston and his wife, Pastry Chef Janelle Huddleston, plan to serve locally sourced foods at The Restaurant @ Sylvia's Irish Inn.

The restaurant, which begins regular hours Feb. 18, will serve lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and dinner from 5 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

The food will come from area producers including Blue Moon Farm, Prairie Fruits Farm, Arends Farm and Triple S Farms.

Joshua Huddleston, who has been the chef at Dublin O'Neil's in downtown Champaign for three years, got his training at the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago.

Lunches at Sylvia's will be in the $8 to $12 range, with soups, salads and quiche among the offerings, he said. Dinners will be in the $15 to $25 range, and options will include a la carte items as well as a fixed-price meal.

The restaurant will serve sodas, coffees and teas but not alcohol. However, it will allow guests to bring their own bottles, Huddleston said.

The Huddlestons are also planning a special four-course meal for Valentine's weekend this Friday and Saturday, priced at $50 per guest.

Reservations can be made by calling 979-1216. Once regular hours begin, reservations are suggested but not required.

Huddleston said The Restaurant @ Sylvia's can accommodate about 40 guests for lunch and dinner. But when the weather turns warmer, another 45 to 50 can be accommodated on the patio.

Sylvia Sullivan has operated the bed-and-breakfast for more than a decade and will continue to do so.

"I always wanted to do lunch and dinner, but I can't spend all day in the kitchen," she said.

That's the ticket!

When renovation of State Farm Center begins in earnest, its ticket offices will move to a new temporary location in Champaign's Shoppes of Knollwood.

At that point, folks will be able to buy tickets at 2141 S. Neil St., the former storefront for Draperies & Interiors by Design.

Jason Heggemeyer, assistant athletic director for ticketing and sales at the University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics, said he's not yet sure what day the new office will open. But he added, "It'll definitely be by the end of February."

Hours for the ticket office are expected to be 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during football and basketball seasons and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. after basketball season ends.

On football game days, the Division of Intercollegiate Athletics will operate a ticket office on the State Farm Center parking lot, Heggemeyer said.

The ticket office will also occupy space at 2135 S. Neil St., which most recently housed The Great Frame-Up.

The ticket office has 14 full-time employees, as well as a crew of 20 students who work on an hourly basis, Heggemeyer said.

The UI espressos itself

Look for three Starbucks stores to open on the University of Illinois campus over the next two years, all operated by the university.

The first store is expected to open in the southeast corner of the Illini Union Bookstore at 809 S. Wright St., C, in late March.

A second store is slated to open next fall, but the location has not yet been approved by the university. Primary and secondary sites have been recommended — one on north campus and one on south campus, according to Scott McCartney, the Illini Union's senior associate director for retail operations.

The third store will open in the Illini Union, probably in the late summer of 2015, he said.

"We're looking at about four different spaces" within the building, McCartney said.

McCartney said the university paid Starbucks $30,000 for each store license. It will also pay Starbucks a commission on sales, with the university buying all products from the company, he added. The store licenses run for 10 years.

McCartney said the university will hire about 60 students to work in the Starbucks at the Illini Union Bookstore. Each student will require 40 hours of training before the shop opens.

"If these (stores) are as successful as I think they will be, we may seek permission for additional licenses," McCartney said.

The licensing arrangement may not end with Starbucks, he added.

"I don't see this being the last one, from our perspective of doing food operations on campus," he said.

Kids on move; cards coming

The Children's Place is relocating to a new spot in the Bergner's wing of Champaign's Market Place Mall, according to mall manager Dennis Robertson.

The new location for the children's clothing store will be in front of Bergner's, next to Old Navy, Robertson said.

Elsewhere at the mall, Schurman Fine Papers will open Paper Destiny, a store carrying greeting cards, stationery and gifts, across from Forever 21 and next to Buckle, with construction beginning this month.

This will be the second Paper Destiny store in the U.S., Robertson said. Schurman is also the owner of Papyrus card stores.

More room to groom

Animal Hospital at the Crossing has moved its grooming department to more spacious quarters close by, according to Office Manager Jilleen Mumm.

The clinic, located at 3001 Village Office Place, C, relocated the grooming department to 3005 Village Office Place. In doing so, the department expanded from about 400 to 1,800 square feet.

The department's certified professional groomers have 20 years of combined experience, according to Mumm.

Contact Don Dodson at 351-5227 or 800-252-3346; by email; or by regular mail at The News-Gazette, c/o It's Your Business column, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-0677.

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Nice Davis wrote on February 09, 2014 at 6:02 pm

Congratulations to the DIA for finding a way to make picking up student tickets even more of a pain in the rear!