Drive or catch the bus to downtown Urbana for another local staple. Silvercreek, owned by Courier Café’s Allen Strong, is in their 27th year of business. Located just a short walk away from downtown, the Silvercreek building sits above the winding Boneyard Creek, and features a pavilion overlooking the scene. Originally a bustling lumber mill, the building also used to be a florist. You you can see the florist’s refrigerator (now housing wine) near the kitchen area. While Courier Café is a casual fuel stop, Silvercreek was built to commemorate special times in our lives and to mark them with a dining experience.
Strong worked hard to cultivate a beautiful space for this restaurant. He has also been very involved with downtown restoration efforts, working with city planners to spruce up Boneyard Creek. According to Strong, the original name of Boneyard Creek was Silver Creek (hence the restaurant’s name). He says a University of Illinois professor described it as “a spring-fed babbling brook.” There was a campaign in the early 1900’s to restore the creek’s original name, but students voted to retain the current name of Boneyard Creek. Strong says his restaurant name speaks to an earlier time, and fuels his clean-up efforts in the area.
Strong's restoration efforts go beyond Boneyard Creek; he is passionate about renovating and reusing existing spaces. He bought the building that is now Silvercreek restaurant in 1990 and renovated the space by hand. He built a fireplace where there were originally front doors, the clocks were collected from the old Carr Electric building, and the old back bar is a reproduction of a turn-of-the-century soda fountain. These are just a few of the many antique features of Silvercreek; you can view a complete list at the restaurant host desk. Strong's emphasis on appreciation of the local aspects of Champaign-Urbana extends to his menu. The menu changes four times a year, following seasonal crop growth patterns to provide the freshest food possible. Strong’s main goal in owning these two restaurants is to provide good food to his fellow community members.