Smile Politely

BEST Moves of the decade: Art Mart + Farren’s + Papa Del’s

From our BEST Food + Drink of the decade feature:

We’re certain of a few things when it comes to operating this magazine: people care about eating and drinking, and people care about nostalgia in our community. When businesses (especially restaurants) move around, people’s ears perk up. Although we’re not a news organization, this is the type of breaking news that people focus on in a lot of ways. 

When we’re talking about restaurants and businesses that have a long standing history in the community, you’re mixing in this element of nostalgia: The KAM’s story is a perfect example of this. When it comes to a decade of business closures and openings, movements and transformations, all three of these moves were for the better in a variety of ways in our estimation.

Farren’s announced they were moving earlier this year to the space previously occupied by Radio Maria (the closure of which was also big news). They opened a few months ago in the new location, which brings the amazing burger joint out of the hidden location into one of the most prominent in all of Downtown Champaign. They’ve been doin’ it for 20 years strong, and it goes to show that even when you have a reputation like this one, you have to continue to push forward and make good choices to sustain.

Papa Del’s consolidated their operation from two locations to one in 2016, taking over the building that has taken on many forms over the years and was seemingly doomed to host anything for any long period of time. Regardless of your stance surrounding their ‘za, the fact that there’s a business — let alone a restaurant — that can survive in that monster space is something to celebrate.

As for Art Mart, well, the business is 61 years old and moved to Prospect Avenue from Lincoln Square Mall in 2015. This was a radical shift in a lot of ways, and they found a great home in their new location. The new space is lovely and minimal, yet packed with a ton of items you might only find there. (Patrick Singer)

Farren’s photo by Anna Longworth; Art Mart and Papa Del’s photos by Sam Logan

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