New businesses open to appease students
December 17, 2018
As students say goodbye to some familiar favorites in Fall 2018, the University also welcomed an array of new businesses to enrich the lives of students on campus.
To make space for the 17-story residential building on the corner of Green and Sixth Street, campus bars The Clybourne and Firehaus, Sandwich chain Jimmy John’s and Korean restaurant Woori Jib, all closed their doors indefinitely. Additionally, Campus Florist also closed its business after 77 years on campus. Smoothie chain Jamba Juice, originally located on the first floor of Illini Union, also said its goodbyes over summer break.
However, businesses such as Shiquan Wonton on Green Street, Blaze pizza in the Union and campus bar Illini Inn on Fourth Street opened their doors to students this semester. A new restaurant sign that reads “Howdy” also went up on Green Street, and the establishment is expected to open soon.
Josiah Pearson, general manager of Illini Inn, said the bar reopened in August after being closed and under construction for 18 months. He said Illini Inn has been a tradition of the University since 1970.
He said he hopes to have more victories and traditions celebrated in the bar in the coming year, including Mom’s Weekend and graduation.
Pearson said the Mug Club, an Illini Inn tradition where bargoers over 21 can become members by chugging a beer and signing a book, is still growing. Illini Inn is racing for the record of 100,000 customers.
“I’m sure in the next year we will hit that and have a heck of a party,” Pearson said in an email .
In May, Shiquan Wonton, a new Chinese restaurant, opened on Green Street. Ted Xu, manager of the restaurant, said he started the business because he wanted to own a restaurant and needed a job after graduation from the University. He also wanted to bring some authentic Chinese flavor to campus, unlike the American-styled Chinese restaurants on campus.
Xu said he doesn’t have time and money to advertise for his restaurant. He attributed word-of-mouth to the growth in the number of his customers in a short period of time. There were only three customers on the first day, but by the fifth day, the restaurant was almost full.
Simon Hu, sophomore in Engineering, said he found about Shiquan Wonton when his friends recommended it to him.
“It was pretty nice,” Hu said. “The food tastes really good. The choice at this time is pretty limited. There were a lot of foods on the menu that was just not available now. But other than that it is pretty good.”
Xu is confident about the food at his restaurant. He said he would remove some food items from the menu and add more next year. Because it is a small restaurant, Xu said it’s better for the chef to focus on a few dishes rather than provide too many options.
“What I want to do is just to keep the quality of my food,” Ted said.
Meanwhile, several shops on campus moved to new locations. Campus Ink moved to Sixth Street and Daniel Street, and Suburban Express vacated their office on campus. Some restaurants also changed their names and owners, including New Asian Taste on John Street and Mr. Chou and Charles on Green Street, both Chinese restaurants.