lil bufords

Lil Buford’s is shown Monday on Long Street in Tolono.

Listen to this article

Restaurant questions? Ask 'em here

URBANA — A Tolono bar and grill’s legal battle with the Champaign County Health Department has ended in a settlement.

Lil Buford’s, at 102 N. Long St., will be on the hook for a $50 fee to get its health permit reinstated. But actions filed by the county that could have potentially carried fines were withdrawn as part of the settlement.

Lil Buford’s owner Jeff Buckler couldn’t be reached Thursday.

A post on the business’s Facebook page Thursday said it would be open for beer and wine later that day and was waiting on the health department to come out and do a re-inspection.

The dispute first arose after the health department suspended Lil Buford’s health permit Dec. 17 because it was serving indoors in violation of a state COVID-19 mitigation restrictions. It picked up steam after Lil Buford’s continued operating without a valid permit.

This week, state officials lifted the prohibition on indoor dining for the entire 21-county Region 6, which includes Champaign County, though restaurants must still observe capacity limits for safety.

Under a permanent injunction order entered by Judge Ben Dyer, Buckler and Lil Buford’s were permanently prohibited from operating without a valid health permit, with all settlement terms incorporated in the order.

Under the agreed settlement, the county agreed to dismiss an ordinance violation against Buckler for operating a food establishment without a valid health permit but reserved the right to reinstate proceedings if any terms of the agreement are breached.

The settlement order also included the state’s attorney’s office withdrawing its petition about Buckler potentially being found in indirect civil contempt of a prior court order that prohibited him from operating without a valid permit.

The agreement states that Lil Buford’s agreed to pay a $50 permit-reinstatement fee, submit to another health inspection and provide the department with a written plan for providing food service consistent with county ordinances and any notices submitted by the health department.

Lil Buford’s also agreed to operate in compliance with all applicable laws after getting its permit reinstated and to withdraw its appeal of a Jan. 7 administrative hearing decision on its permit. Lil Buford’s further agreed to let the circuit court retain jurisdiction for enforcement of the agreement.

Trending Videos