“If you want to do something different outside of Champaign-Urbana, hop on the interstate and come on over “expressed Matt Miller on a Friday evening. Matt is the owner of Monarch Brewing Company in downtown Monticello, Illinois. He knew that when…

If you pass by 208 West Griggs Street in Urbana, you might think it was just another warehouse, but inside is the newly budding 25 O’Clock Brewery. Co-owner Tom Sheehan thinks that “every county should have a brewery.” Luckily for Champaign County,…

Walking into The Blind Pig is like walking into a classic British pub: lowly lite, dark wood, cozy bar and booth seating, no T.V.s, and faint background of music. It’s not just an aesthetic feeling, but it’s also the friendly, welcoming environment…

“I wouldn’t put my name on something that I wasn’t proud of,” expressed Matt Riggs on a brewery tour one Sunday afternoon. Brothers Darin and Matt Riggs dreamed of opening a brewery back when they were studying at the University of Illinois at…

Situated near the intersection of Church and Neil is Destihl, an independent and privately-owned brewery and restaurant. Destihl has two locations: one in Normal, IL and another in downtown Champaign. Destihl is not just a brewery, but also a family…

About 15 minutes northwest from Champaign-Urbana in Mahomet is JT Walker's Brewery. The Village of Mahomet had been a dry city since World War II, but the Village Board passed the liquor license ordinance in 2007 to allow the sale of alcohol inside…

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…

Out on South Neil Street sits The Ribeye, “The Great One Steak Place” as it is known to those who dine there, opened their doors in February 1979. They made their home in the relatively young building (built in 1970) that used to be Ireland's, an…

Walking near the heart of campus puts visitors, students, faculty and staff alike near plenty of great places to eat, hang out, and have a good time. Tucked away on the corner of Oregon and St. Mathews sits Red Herring, a restaurant that has a long…

If you have ever visited downtown Champaign, you probably noticed that most shops are packed tightly together, some with no spaces between them, while others have the smallest of alleyways. Radio Maria sits snugly on the corner of Walnut and Taylor.…

Upon entering this nearly 100-year-old building, you take in the sights and smells of Papa Del’s Pizza Factory. The walls are painted a cheesy-yellow mixed with deep tomato red, creating the perfect mixture of color. The metal fireplace holding…

Jarling’s Custard Cup got its start in 1949 in Danville, Illinois. They began as a small town ice cream parlor, selling the custard recipe that George Potter, the original owner, created. In 1983, Doug and Christy Jarling opened the Champaign…

Downtown Champaign is home to many old buildings, built so long ago their construction history is nearly lost. On the corner of Walnut and Chester, Esquire Lounge stands as one of the oldest bars in town. Old pictures and antique maps of Champaign…

The city of Urbana was incorporated about 200 years ago. From the beginning, Urbana had a thriving, bustling downtown scene, with new buildings added all the time. Now the structures are old, respected and protected. Historical landmarks dot the…

Tucked away in a corner of downtown Urbana, the Courier Café is one of the oldest restaurants in the area, and according to their website it is the oldest building in downtown Urbana. Alvin T. Burrows bought the land on which Courier stands today in…

Situated near the bisection of Walnut and Neil is Café Kopi, nestled near several mainstays of downtown Champaign. It resides in one of the oldest buildings downtown, built around 1908-1910. Café Kopi’s residence has a lengthy history, beginning as a…

“I have a lot of pride in this place.” – Lindsay Aikman, daughter-in-law to Ruth Aikman, founder of The Bread Company. The Bread Company started in Ruth Aikman's kitchen back when she made bread at home for her family. Originally from Switzerland,…

A train runs by, blaring the horn to let pedestrians know to keep clear of the tracks. Inside Black Dog Smoke & Ale House in Champaign, the atmosphere remains the same. Dozens of diners enjoy barbeque, sip midday cocktails, and have a good time in…

The Russell Building was built in 1905 at 121 - 123 West Church Street. On Tuesday November 12, 1915 Mr. and Mrs. Charles Russell opened the Belvoir Theater. The theater was built for stage shows as well as films with the opening show being Beverly’s…

Designed in 1913 by Chicago architect Lewis E. Russell, the Art stands as Downtown’s longest continuing theater. The owner of the building was B.F. Cooper who choose many of the details based on this tours of leading playhouses in Chicago. Local…

There is perhaps no one department store more synonymous with Downtown Champaign than F.K. Robeson’s. Frank Kurn Robeson started his department store business in 1874 in the building currently known as the Metropolitan Building at 223 North Neil…

The Masonic Temple was dedicated on January 9, 1914 by Henry T. Burnap, Most Worshipful Grand Master. This grand space was described in the following text taken from the dedication program in 1914: “This building is 79 X 109 feet, having the main…

In 1850 the First Presbyterian Church Organized in a wood frame structure built at Hill and State, unbeknownst to congregation, they would become the longest organized church in Champaign. Shortly after they began to outgrow their building, the small…

Built in 1906 the present church represents the third Methodist Church to occupy the site at Church and State Streets. The Methodist congregation was organized shortly after the Illinois Central Depot was complete in 1854. After locating in several…

Originally laid out as a public square and potential site for a new County Courthouse, West Side Park, formally known as White Park was named for John P. White who donated the land the park now sits on. At the time of its construction the City of…

For over 80 years the Virginia Theater has served and queen of downstate theaters. This 1,800 seat movie palace, designed by C. Howard Crane and Kenneth Franzheim, opened on December 28, 1921. The building combines Spanish and Italian Renaissance…

Built by John “Wall” Mulliken of Walker and Mulliken Furniture Store, The Walker Opera House was one of Champaign’s first theaters. Unlike most of the Vaudeville houses built before it, the Walker was a theater in the true sense with a large stage…

Matched only by the F.K. Robeson Company, W. Lewis Department store was a solid anchor of retail in Downtown for over sixty years. Started by Wolf Lewis, who followed his father and immigrated from Poland in 1897, it began as a small dry good store…

Constructed between 1935 and 1937, this Art Deco icon stood as the tallest building in Downtown Champaign when completed. This building replaced the 1889 building designed by Seeley Brown. The building was designed by George Ramey and funded by…

On March 11, 1915 local businessman George Inman opened his grand hotel with a magnificent dinner prepared by a new chef brought straight from Boston. Over $200,000 was invested in its construction and it quickly became the most elegant and plush…