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Big Grove clarifies Mimosa-gate with grace

You might've been witness to some confusion that took place for the much-talked about bottomless mimosa brunch special by Big Grove Tavern that was circulating on Facebook over the past week. Bottomless mimosas? Uh, awesome, right? 

Well, it is awesome — though there was some slight confusion and some folks were a little upset, which is understandable. But really, this was just an honest mistake — not a malicious bait and switch. Let's be real, folks. These are mimosas we're talking about here.

Here's the info from the Facebook event, linked above:

Dear Big Grove Tavern customers, we sincerely apologize for the confusion regarding our recent Facebook post about our Mimosa Bar Brunch. We take full responsibility for our mistake and we want to honor your expectations. For this weekend only we will offer our one-hour mimosa bar with the purchase of an entrée. Due to the Illinois state liquor laws, we cannot give any product away at zero cost. Therefore, for this Saturday and Sunday between 10:00am to 2:30pm with the purchase of an entrée you can enjoy our one-hour mimosa bar with four seasonal fruit mimosas for $1. We value everyone in our community and want to continue to uphold our values and our standards of service, especially to meet and surpass your expectations. We hope to see you all this weekend and in the weeks to come. Once again we apologize for any confusion caused by our excitement in posting about our new One Hour Mimosa Bar Brunch.

Here's some more information, directly from Beckie Kane and Big Grove themselves:

For The Mimosa Bar's premier weekend: (Feb. 6th-Feb. 7th)

With the purchase of a brunch entree guests are able to add the 1hr mimosa bar for $1. Our mimosa bar will feature several varieties of juices each week. Our staff will be circulating with mimosas and guests are welcome to try any of the flavors over the hour. The hr begins when the entree is ordered. 

Moving forward we will be offering our mimosa bar every Saturday & Sunday during brunch.

With the purchase of a brunch entree guests are able to add the 1 hr mimosa bar for $13. Again, there will be a variety of rotating juices available for guests to enjoy and our staff will be sure everyone's glasses are full!

So yeah, let's just take a deep breath here and appreciate the good things — like good food and booze. Hair of the dog is positive.


Tonight on SP Radio: FirstFollowers Re-Entry Program

Tonight on Smile Politely Radio, Marlon Mitchel and James Kilgore stop by WEFT to discuss the FirstFollowers Re-entry Program. FirstFollowers is new program at Bethel AME that aims to help people who have been incarcerated find their way back into the community once they are released. 

Smile Politely Radio airs each Friday at 5:30 p.m. on WEFT 90.1 FM in Champaign and is available as a podcast the following week. You can find our past episodes here. Don’t forget to subscribe on iTunes.


Watson’s Shack & Rail poised to serve deliciousness

Some of SP's staff were fortunate to check out Watson's Shack & Rail on Wednesday. The restaurant's soft opening for a handful (or three) of people was intense — and crowded — but the food was worth the wait. Check out the photos below, and begin to prep your stomach for Watson's February 12th opening. For more information, and for updates, follow the restaurant on FacebookPhotos by Justine Bursoni, Seth Fein, Jessica Hammie, and Patrick Singer. 

frozen cocktails helped wash down the spicy food

pickle sampler, $6

gravy fries, $10

crab hush puppies, $8 pimento cheese, $6 

fried chicken sandwich, $7

half bird, fire-roasted, $16 [with mashed potatoes and stewed greens]

half bird, fried, $16 [with mashed potatoes and tomato pudding]

wok-fried dirty rice, $3.50

pimento mac and cheese, $3.50

Nashville hot chicken, $11


Smile Politely seeking Opinion writers

Do you have opinions about Champaign-Urbana? Do you want to articulate them via the written word? If so, insert your Uncle Sam pun of choice here, because we want YOU! 

Applicants must have a grasp on local culture, as all articles must pertain to Champaign-Urbana. Don't worry, you don't have to be a perfect writer - we'll help with that part.

Perks of being an Opinion writer include, but are not limited to:

  • The therapeutic feeling of putting your feelings into writing.
  • A little extra spending money.
  • Valuable writing experience.
  • Sometimes people recognize you at the bar.

If this sounds like something you're interested in (as you damn well should be), fire an email off to info@smilepolitely.com.


Check out Espresso Royale’s Ginger Dragon Tea

With the low temperatures among us, Espresso Royale has a solution: Ginger Dragon Tea. A blend of ginger, lemon, and honey offers a potent treatment to any cold, fever, or cough. 

From a Ithsmus.com review: 

It’s High Cold Season in Wisconsin, and winter’s getting real. Only the strongest among us will avoid succumbing to the swarms of viruses and bacteria making their way through the population. We need a drink that’s the equivalent of a superhero. And it exists: Behold the elixir known as the Ginger Dragon.

Its list of ingredients is so simple (and healthful) that your grandma would approve: ginger (steeped nice and strong in-house), lemon and honey. That’s all. A hot toddy with ginger instead of booze.

I tested my belief that the drink is “magical” on my editor, who was recovering from a sinus infection and sounded like vintage Debra Winger. She liked it! Naturally, I had to get one for myself, “to make sure it’s not poison,” as my mom used to say when snatching a bite of something.

Whether you’re sick or not, the lemon/honey mixture soothes the throat and the ginger opens up the nasal passages. If deliciousness is magic, I rest my case.

Stay healthy. Rest. Drink lots of fluids. And consume this holy elixir.


Feeling a little stuffed up? Perhaps that cough just has a mind of its own? Why not try Espresso Royale's delicious...

Posted by Espresso Royale-CU on Friday, 29 January 2016

Pekara Bakery announces special Valentine’s Day treats

Pekara Bakery & Bistro has recently released their Valentine’s Day menu full of sweet desserts, in case you needed something to bring home to your significant other. If you like to procrastinate, you're in luck - they're taking orders until February 11th - so you have an entire week, but why wait?

From the menu

Chocolate and White Chocolate Petit Fours

Box of 6 for $13.00, or a dozen for $25.00

Heart-shaped or assorted Parisienne macarons

Box of 6 $13.00, or a dozen $25.00

X’s,O’s and shaped princess cookies $13.00 per dozen.

Heart Shaped Paris Brest– French pastry filled with a silky diplomat cream, topped with powdered sugar and almond slices for $25.00

For the Love of Chocolate Cake– Heart shaped chocolate cake with chocolate mousse, vanilla buttercream and a dark chocolate glaze topped with fresh raspberries for $30.00

Please give us a call at 217-359-4500 or stop in to place your order by February 11th for pick up on February 14th


Illinois-Rutgers preview

Rutgers (6-16, 0-9)
All time:
2-0 (last: Illinois 66, Rutgers 54 in Champaign, 2/3/15)
Tip-off: 5:30 pm
TV: Big Ten Network

Well, "contusions," in other words bruises, suffered during the Wisconsin loss have rendered Michael Finke "very unlikely" to play and Kendrick Nunn a game-time decision. Meanwhile, Mike Thorne Jr. is unable to return and Leron Black is still out indefinitely. 

This is fine. Cameron Liss (5 minutes in 2 games, 1 assist and 1 foul) is ready to be a rotation option with Maverick Morgan at center. Oh, and Malcolm Hill, who was just named one of the 10 best shooting guards in the country, may also play in the post! 

But this is Rutgers. Rutger sucks. So maybe this doesn't matter at all? Either way, here's an actual, real-life Big Ten ad to get you hyped for the game.

It's lit, y'all.

Projected lineups

Illinois: Jaylon Tate, guard; Jalen Coleman-Lands, guard; Kendrick Nunn, guard; Malcolm Hill, guard; Maverick Morgan, center

Rutgers: Bishop Daniels, guard; Corey Sanders, guard; Mike Williams, guard; D. J. Foreman, forward; Greg Lewis, center

Gut feeling

If there was ever a combination for Illinois to lose to Rutgers, missing or questioning this many players is definitely it. Looking at the Scarlet Knights roster, though, I'm not sure. Those guys are all anonymous. They may as well be Chicago State...wait, uh, Illinois only barely beat Chicago State. Shit, this game is gonna be ugly.


Film screening: My Brooklyn-Demystifying Gentrification

My Brooklyn: Demystifying Gentrification

My Brooklyn is a documentary about Director Kelly Anderson’s personal journey, as a Brooklyn “gentrifier,” to understand the forces reshaping her neighborhood along lines of race and class.

Two screenings - FREE

Wednesday evening, February 17 at 6:00pm at the Champaign Public Library
followed by a community panel to discuss recent development trends in C-U.

Thursday, February 18th at 7:30 p.m. in Plym Auditorium, Temple Buell Hall
followed by Q&A with film director.

Find out more about the film here.

My Brooklyn is a documentary about Director Kelly Anderson’s personal journey, as a Brooklyn “gentrifier,” to understand the forces reshaping her neighborhood along lines of race and class. The story begins when Anderson moves to Brooklyn in 1988, lured by cheap rents and bohemian culture. By Michael Bloomberg’s election as mayor in 2001, a massive speculative real estate boom is rapidly altering the neighborhoods she has come to call home. She watches as an explosion of luxury housing and chain store development spurs bitter conflict over who has a right to live in the city and to determine its future. While some people view these development patterns as ultimately revitalizing the city, to others, they are erasing the eclectic urban fabric, economic and racial diversity, creative alternative culture, and unique local economies that drew them to Brooklyn in the first place. It seems that no less than the city’s soul is at stake.

Meanwhile, development officials announce a controversial plan to tear down and remake the Fulton Mall, a popular and bustling African-American and Caribbean commercial district just blocks from Anderson’s apartment. She discovers that the Mall, despite its run-down image, is the third most profitable shopping area in New York City with a rich social and cultural history. As the local debate over the Mall’s future intensifies, deep racial divides in the way people view neighborhood change become apparent. All of this pushes Anderson to confront her own role in the process of gentrification, and to investigate the forces behind it more deeply.

She meets with government officials, urban planners, developers, advocates, academics, and others who both champion and criticize the plans for Fulton Mall. Only when Anderson meets Brooklyn-born and raised scholar Craig Wilder, though, who explains his family’s experiences of neighborhood change over generations, does Anderson come to understand that what is happening in her neighborhoods today is actually a new chapter in an old American story. The film’s ultimate questions become how to heal the deep racial wounds embedded in our urban development patterns, and how citizens can become active in fixing a broken planning process.

Sponsored by Department of Urban & Regional Planning, Center for Advanced Study, 5th & Hill Neighborhood Rights Campaign, Champaign Urbana Citizens for Peace and Justice, City of Urbana, Champaign County Habitat for Humanity, Champaign Country Health Care Consumers, Champaign Country Regional Planning Commission, Channing Murray Foundation, College of Law Community Preservation Clinic, Education, Latina/o Studies, Bruce D. Nesbitt African American Cultural Center, Anthropology, Krannert Center for Performing Arts, Theater, History, Social Action Committee of the Unitarian Universalist Church of Urbana-Champaign, Planners Network, Student Planning Organization


The full story behind of one of C-U’s greatest bands: American Football

Check out this awesome feature on American Football, one of the most influential emo bands of all-time. Learn about how the band formed in Urbana back in the mid-90s and how they ended up creating a sound that defined a genre for years to come. Also, find out the story behind the infamous house on High St. in Urbana that is on the cover of their self-titled album.

The full feature can be found here, via Noisey.


Miga releases Valentine’s Day menu

Miga has recently revealed their special Valentine's Day menu. They'll be serving a special seven course dinner for $85 with an optional wine pairing for $35. The seven course dinner includes: salad, soup, salmon, steak, duck, bi bim bap, and dessert.

From their Facebook:


Looking for the perfect place for a romantic dinner on Valentine’s Day? Miga will be offering an exclusive seven-course...

Posted by Miga on Sunday, 24 January 2016