This is the last week of operation for La Mex of Champaign, a Mexican restaurant that opened in the fall of 2001.
A new owner is taking over the premises at 1805 S. Neil St., C, and changing the name and the menu.
The new name will be The Choice Restaurant and Bar, and the new menu will feature a mix of American and ethnic dishes such as steaks, seafood, pasta, European-style roast pork and Greek chicken, said Ali Yacoub, the new general manager and president.
Yacoub said there will also be some Middle Eastern and vegetarian dishes on the menu.
Yacoub said he will own the restaurant in partnership with the owners of La Mex, who still operate other La Mex locations in Illinois, but he will be running the Champaign restaurant himself.
La Mex will serve through Friday, then Yacoub will close the place for some redecorating and reopen it under the new name Jan. 31.
For its first weekend as The Choice Restaurant and Bar, it will be open for the full weekend. Thereafter, it will be closed Sundays and open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Yacoub has worked in the restaurant business for 32 years, starting his career as a dishwasher at a pizzeria in Chicago and working his way up to management. Some of the places he's worked have included Baker's Square and Carson's Ribs. He also managed the Sirloin Stockade restaurant in Champaign and Colorado Steakhouse, the Champaign restaurant that La Mex replaced. He last worked as a manager at the Olive Garden restaurant in Champaign.
Yacoub said he wanted a break from working in big corporate restaurant chains and wanted to try running his own place.
Web design firm moves downtown
Riverwatcher, a Web design and programming firm formerly at 404 Ginger Bend Drive, C, has relocated to join its sister company, Sol Tec, in the same building at 223 N. Neil St., C.
Riverwatcher, launched in 1999 by Sol Tec President Tron Fu, has 10 employees who are now downtown, said Lanette Cannady, director of business development. Sol Tec, an Internet service provider in Champaign-Urbana since 1994, employs 15.
Cannady said many of Riverwatcher's Web clients need Internet solutions, and the two companies will be able to collaborate better on projects at their shared location.
Tuscola DQ reopens
The Dairy Queen at 1100 E. Southline Road, Tuscola, has reopened under new owners.
Four Effingham-based businessmen - Hank Stephens, Tom Henderson, Brian Wicks and Darrell Hoffman - bought the restaurant and are operating it with a Tuscola-based manager.
They also own Dairy Queen locations in Effingham, Salem and Casey, Stephens said.
The Tuscola shop, which had closed about a year ago, serves both sandwiches and ice cream. It is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
It employs about 40, Stephens said.
Shop loses lease
Lisa Dean says she's loved the rural location of her shop, Mayview Mercantile, which is 4 miles east of Urbana on U.S. 150.
But she has to move. The building was sold, and she's lost her lease, she said.
Dean says she'll open her shop for three days later this week at its current location to sell down some inventory she hopes not to have to move.
The business will then be closed until she finds a new place.
Her sale hours will be 4 to 7 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
Mayview Mercantile carries a mix of antiques, country home decor and gift items. Dean has been the sole owner for 2 ½ - years and said the shop draws people from as far away as Indiana.
She's looking for a new place in the same vicinity, and will consider placing the store in an old house if she finds something suitable, she said.
Are you opening a new business or changing something at your existing business? Debra Pressey can be reached by phone at 351-5229, or 800-252-3346; by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or regular mail at The News-Gazette, c/o It's Your Business column, P.O. Box 677, Champaign, IL 61824-0677.