Long-vacant north Champaign bar reopening as pizza joint

Long-vacant north Champaign bar reopening as pizza joint

CHAMPAIGN — After sitting empty for more than two years, the former Bradley's bar is almost ready to begin its new life as a pizza joint.

Rafters Draft & Dough, 1906 W. Bradley Ave., is set to open Dec. 26.

"We're finally going to open this thing," said Chris Saunders, the restaurant's owner and operator. "We're shooting for the day after Christmas, to get it open this calendar year."

The restaurant will serve pizza, grinders and salads, along with 16 varieties of beer, several of which will be from local breweries.

Saunders is hoping to attract guests from the Kraft plant, Dodds Park and Parkland College.

"There's not a lot of stuff out in that particular area ... for sit-down dining and drinking," he said.

Since Saunders bought the building in August 2015, it has been completely renovated, he said.

"We redid really everything in there," he said. "It's a complete remodel of the entire space, inside and outside."

Saunders, who also owns Fat City and City Center in downtown Champaign, as well as Taco John's on North Prospect Avenue, said the restaurant will have about 30 to 40 employees.

Before it was Bradley's, the property was a nightclub called Lava.

Sections (3):News, Local, Business
Topics (2):Food, Restaurants

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Son of a Barrelmaker wrote on December 07, 2017 at 6:12 pm

Grinders you say?  Like the grinders they used to have at Trito's?  Those kind of grinders?


DaPaign217 wrote on December 07, 2017 at 6:12 pm

No jerk, they copying off the success of Jupiter's, but this location will never last.

yeahokay wrote on December 07, 2017 at 9:12 pm

I think technically before Bradleys, it was nothing. Before Bradleys 2 it was Lava, and before that it was Bradleys.

CommonSenseless wrote on December 08, 2017 at 11:12 am

Back in 1973, when it opened, it was called Big Daddy's.  That would probably be too offensive today.

MSJ66 wrote on December 08, 2017 at 8:12 am

Chris Saunders is involved, Like anything he is part of I avoid. Hope this location fails again.

GLG wrote on December 08, 2017 at 1:12 pm

You shouldn't hold back! Tell us what you really think of  Saunders.