Top of the morning, Dec. 31, 2013
Something to get you going today, courtesy executive editor Jim Rossow:
Winner, winner chicken dinner
That wasn't holiday shopping traffic clogging a section of Bloomington Road in Champaign last week. It was a string of cars waiting to turn into the drive-thru lane at Popeye's Louisiana Kitchen, which opened Dec. 20.
"It usually takes a couple weeks before it slows down, not only at Popeye's but at most new places," owner Rick Walimohammad said.
Regardless, the buzz created by the return of a Popeye's and its Cajun-style menu to C-U — last seen in 1990 — was noticeable to anyone driving near the location at 910 W. Bloomington Road.
Walimohammad said it started soon after a story by our Don Dodson in September and gained online steam through opening day.
Business has been good ever since. Good enough to consider opening another store in the area?
"We don't know yet," said Walimohammad, who has Popeye's in Bloomington, Peoria and Springfield. "After six months we'll evaluate everything and determine if it's possible to open another store."
Mack's is back
At 7:30 a.m. Monday, Mack's Twin City Recycling in north Urbana reopened its doors for business.
"It's nice to get back to normal," operations manager Corey Mathis said. "The last week and a half has just been weird."
Mack's employees have been scrambling since a Dec. 19 fire caused more than $1 million in damages.
On Monday, business was brisk.
"We have a lot of loyal customers, I can tell you that," Mathis said. "It was really nice to see. That's why my dad (co-owner Ken Mathis) wanted to open as soon as we could, so we could repay them for their loyalty."