Tom's #Mailbag, Aug. 17, 2018


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CHAMPAIGN — When the so-called home of the drinking Illini reopens, it will be missing one of its most famous features.

That Kam's smell.

"It doesn't stink" after a full regrouting, new owner Scott Cochrane said Thursday. "The stuff that was sitting in the grout lines was a big part of the stink."

Cochrane was among four investors who bought the Campustown bar earlier this month from longtime owner Eric Meyer. It won't be open in time for the return of students this weekend, Cochrane said, but he hopes it will be ready as soon as next week. Classes start Monday.

"That's my hope; that's the plan," Cochrane said. "I'd like to open before Clybourne and Firehaus close."

Those bars on Sixth Street, which Cochrane also owns, are closing Sept. 4 to make way for a new 17-story high-rise slated for the southeast corner of Sixth and Green streets.

After some major cleaning at Kam's, Cochrane said now he's just waiting on the city of Champaign to approve his application to transfer the business's liquor license.

"As soon as I get a liquor license," it will open, Cochrane said. "How long that will take, I don't know. We applied on Monday."

While he's "not going to change too much," Cochrane said the bar at 618 E. Daniel St. is "100 percent, 1,000 percent cleaner."

In addition to regrouting everything, Cochrane said workers replaced missing tiles and generally cleaned as much as could be cleaned.

"I've done everything I can without making any physical changes," he said.

City staff are in the process of reviewing Cochrane's application to transfer the liquor license, Deputy Liquor Commissioner Matt Roeschley said.

"I don't know exactly how much longer it will take, but it typically takes anywhere from one to two business weeks to process — sometimes much shorter than that, sometimes longer," he said.

The transfer is required when a business changes owners, Roeschley said.

"In order to keep the license with the business, it needs to be transferred to the new owner," Roeschley said. "It's fairly routine in terms of stuff that we process."