CHAMPAIGN — Restaurant row at south Champaign's Carriage Center has lost another tenant.
Sunday was the last day of operations for Wendy's at 2035 S. Neil St., General Manager Gean Hardwell confirmed.
Like neighboring Brixx Wood Fired Pizza, which closed in December, Wendy's opened in 2015, part of a new development that soon added Harvest Market, Ace Hardware and Home2Suites by Hilton.
"I'm really sad to see it go," said Champaign's Susie Jameson, who treated her two kids to a final Wendy's meal on Sunday afternoon. "It is always clean, and it is a great place to bring boys and girls."
But not long after opening, Wendy's found itself in the middle of a plethora of restaurant options — both in Carriage Center and nearby — with Oberweis Ice Cream and Dairy Store, That Burger Joint, Scotty's Brewhouse and Moe's Southwest Grill all moving into the same block.
Access to Wendy's from South Neil — via a unique traffic setup — didn't help its cause, said customer George Watson of Champaign.
"You have that confounded roundabout intersection just to get to the entrance of Wendy's, and then you have to drive around and around to get to the drive-thru," he said. "My guess is it was too much hassle for people to maneuver through it all."
Sunday's closing marks the second time Neil Street has lost a Wendy's.
Longtime residents may remember the fanfare surrounding the opening of the area's original hamburger restaurant, attended by Wendy's founder Dave Thomas himself. That location, at 1905 S. Neil, lasted from 1978 until 2006.
On Sunday afternoon, Urbana's Elmer Green was already plotting where he'll get his favorite Frosties in the future.
"I guess I will have to go to the Wendy's on Cunningham Avenue now," he said.
C-U's three remaining Wendy's are in Champaign (2033 N. Prospect Ave.), Urbana (505 N. Cunningham Ave.) and Campustown (Illini Union).