Fast food sees extinction on Green Street; last chain gone

By Emily Sokolik

A late night craving for a Double Whopper with cheese can no longer be fulfilled on Green Street in Campustown.

Burger King closed its doors May 31 due to a steady loss of revenue and high rent, said Chuck Sedlak, former owner of the Green Street restaurant. The popular fast food chain, previously located at 309 E. Green St., lost revenue after traffic was rerouted west of Fourth Street during summer 2005, Sedlak said. The new traffic patterns led to complications in driving to and from the restaurant.

“My drive-thru business was hurt,” Sedlak said.

Over the past few years, a number of new eateries have opened near campus. In 2005, restaurants like Noodles and Company, Chipotle and Potbelly’s have all opened their doors on Green Street.

“Years ago, there were six fast food restaurants on Green Street,” Sedlak said. “Now there are none.”

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Tim Harrington of Coldwell Banker Commercial Devonshire Realty, a company that manages properties on Green Street, said people’s restaurant preferences are changing.

“I think students’ tastes are getting more high end, and they’re wanting to eat healthier,” he said. “The trend is away from fast food to fast casual.”

Sedlak said he did not see the new restaurants on Green Street as a factor in the closure of his restaurant but recognizes the students’ shifting eating habits.

“Times are changing,” he said.

Arunaksha Guha, senior in Business, was an occasional Burger King customer but was not sad to see the restaurant close.

“Burger King had really bad service,” he said. “I tried to avoid it.”

Sedlak, however, said he has received feedback from former Burger King customers who were not pleased about the closure.

“People are disappointed,” he said.

Sedlak owns two other Burger King restaurants in Champaign, one at 2110 N. Prospect Ave. and the other at 2005 W. Springfield Ave. He said business in both locations is steady.