Which Wich is coming to Champaign, but where, where?
The answer is, the first floor of the former Illini Media building at 512 E. Green St., C.
Franchisee Brij Patel said he hopes to open the multiple-choice sandwich shop on the east side of the first floor in July or August.
Dallas-based Which Wich Superior Sandwiches has 278 stores open in 38 states and another 72 stores in development, according to company spokeswoman Hala Habal.
The sandwich shop is distinguished by a creative ordering system. Writing on a paper bag, customers use a marker to specify which ingredients they want, selecting a sandwich from one of 10 categories and then choosing bread, cheese, spreads and toppings.
The options include premium ingredients such as candied walnuts, dried cranberries, artichokes and sriracha sauce, Habal said.
About 20 percent of the menu is vegetarian, she added.
Plus, Which Wich offers several limited-time sandwiches, such as New York reubens and shrimp po' boys, that stay on the menu for eight to 10 weeks, then rotate off. Many are regional favorites, she said.
The chain was founded in Dallas by Jeff Sinelli in 2003, and the company remains privately held. Only four of its restaurants are company-owned, and those four — all in the Dallas area — are used as test stores for research and development, Habal said.
Patel, who lives in the northwest Chicago suburb of Lake in the Hills, opened his first Which Wich in Hoffman Estates in December 2011. He plans to open stores in Champaign and Crystal Lake this summer and one in Schaumburg in December.
Patel said he decided to open a store in Champaign after dropping off a relative at the University of Illinois and seeing the array of restaurants on Green Street.
The 1,700-square-foot space is expected to accommodate 48 customers, with seating for eight more outside, he said. The store will likely employ 10 to 12.
Ironically, Patel said he became acquainted with Which Wich when he went to Houston for the opening of his brother's Jimmy John's shop — and they ate at Which Wich.
Patel said he was impressed with the variety of the sandwiches, the freshness of the ingredients and the customer service.
For more information about the sandwich chain, check out whichwich.com on the Web.
The Larson Co. acquired the building at 512 E. Green St., C, from Illini Media in May 2013 for $3.6 million, according to the Champaign County supervisor of assessments office.
Illini Media, the nonprofit entity that publishes the Daily Illini and operates WPGU-FM, continues to occupy the third floor.
Corkscrew winds down at site
The Corkscrew Wine Emporium will close its store at 203 N. Vine St., U, after 15 years there, according to the store's newsletter.
Manager Todd Fusco said in a message to customers that the lease is up and the store needs to find a new location.
So The Corkscrew is marking down prices on its wine, beer and spirits as well as furnishings, including glassware, racks and equipment, the newsletter stated. Sale prices don't include food and drink in the Buvons wine bar.
Fusco said The Corkscrew's Springfield location remains open.
Downton Abbey in Danville
If Sunday night showings on WILL-TV don't satisfy your cravings for "Downton Abbey," head to Danville on Feb. 28 for a "Downton Abbey"-themed event.
Threads of Time and Needleworks will host "Downton Abbey Day" with a costumed staff presenting tea and crumpets, prizes and bonus buys on the Downton Abbey fabric line from Andover Fabrics.
Threads of Time will offer patterns and kits from the post-World War I era, including quilts, tea cozies and a "One-Hour Dress."
Needleworks will features shawls, scarves, purses, gloves and hats that define the style of the series, as well as special yarns.
The businesses are located at 207 S. Buchanan St., For more information, call 431-9202 or 213-5459 or visit threadsoftimefab.com.
(The lobster will still be red)
News-Gazette staff writer Tracy Moss reports the Red Lobster restaurants in Champaign and Danville will be remodeled this year.
Renovation of the Champaign restaurant at 1901 N. Prospect Ave. will begin in late spring or early summer, with completion scheduled for mid-July, according to company spokeswoman Katie Pearson.
The Danville restaurant, at 3217 N. Vermilion St., will undergo remodeling in late summer or early fall, with completion expected in September.
Both restaurants will remain open during renovations, Pearson said.
The redesign will include new exterior features, including a stone tower, ship lanterns, Adirondack-style chairs and window graphics.
When finished, the restaurants will have expanded seating for large parties, LED lighting and nautical decor such as signal flags.
Groomer moves to Champaign
Rantoul pet groomer Shari Krause has moved her grooming business, Shear Perfection Pet Salon, to 2703 W. Clark Road, C.
She grooms both dogs and cats. With a walk-in shower stall and a hydraulic-lift grooming table, she's equipped to handle even the big ones.
Krause, who attended grooming school in New Jersey, did pet grooming in Pennsylvania before moving to Illinois three years ago.
In recent years, she has done grooming at her home, but decided to relocate the business to Champaign to be closer to a bigger population base.
She said she chose the space on Clark Road to be adjacent to Jodie Varner's dog training business.
Krause is available for grooming from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays and Wednesdays and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursday and Fridays, as well as 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the first and third Saturdays of each month. The phone number for Shear Perfection is 480-5473.
Free pancakes for military, vets
Bob Evans restaurants, including the one at 1813 N. Neil St., C, will offer free all-you-can-eat hotcakes to veterans and active military personnel on Monday, which is Presidents Day.
Guests must provide proof of service, which can include a U.S. Uniformed Services ID card, a U.S. Uniformed Services retired ID card, a military leave and earnings statement or a card for a veterans' organization, such as the American Legion or Veterans of Foreign Wars — or they can wear their uniform.
Contact Don Dodson at 351-5227 or 800-252-3346; by email 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 61824-0677.