Audio / Link / Photo / Quote / Video / Word / Submit to the SPlog! +

Black Dog Champaign changes hours

Starting Friday, November 27th, Black Dog Champaign will close at 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. 

Starting Monday, December 7th, the restaurant will have the following hours:

Monday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.

You read that correctly—Black Dog Champaign will be open seven days a week. Note the differences: now open Monday and Tuesday, but closing at 10 p.m. every night. 

Photo by Jessica Hammie. 


Bill Cubit given two year extension

In the perpetual shit-storm that is University of Illinois athletics, it appears as things are, yet again, going to get worse before they get better.

According to ESPN, interim Head Coach Bill Cubit has been given a two-year contract extension, marking what appears to be yet another in a long line of bone-headed decisions from Illinois' Atheltic Department.

I don't mean to rip on Cubit; perhaps consistency is a good thing, and having players who are actually excited to play for a coach instead of be intimidated by them (as they were with Tim Beckman) is an improvement over the past, but a two year contract leaves the U of I in a very weird spot. With 30 scholarship Seniors on the roster for next year, marked improvement at Memorial Stadium is expected. In the years to come, however, the repercussions for recuriting could be monumental, and sink an already mediocre program even lower.

I'm not sure what the Athletic Department was thinking, but it seems like longevity and building a long-sustaining, successful football program were not priorities. While this year has been a slightly pleasant surprise under Cubit, I have a hard time seeing how an exciting coaching candidate like P.J. Fleck or Dino Babers couldn't be a better option.  At least they succeeded in the MAC and would be able to recruit and build from the ground up.

All I want is to have a competitive football team - is that too much to ask?


Illinois-UAB preview

UAB (3-1)
1-1 (last: UAB 59 - 52 Illinois, 11/24/1984)
Tip-off: 7:30 p.m. (in Niceville, FL, for the Emerald Coast Classic)
TV: CBS Sports Network

You’re still paying attention? Then congratulations on caring about the Illinois men’s basketball team after its embarassing start to the season. Sure, 2-3 isn’t a god-awful record, but “surviving” and “Chicago State” are not words used in the same sentence to describe a good team. Now Illinois is going to Florida for the Emerald Coast Classic, hoping to put its struggles in the past.

UAB, Illinois’s first opponent, made the NCAA Tourney last year and even advanced after upsetting Iowa State. They’re conference favorites and have a lot of experience, but that doesn’t seem to have made a difference in the early going. The Blazers narrowly lost their first game to Auburn and then narrowly escaped Alabama State and Jacksonville State, with a more convincing win over Troy in between.

Like Illinois, UAB is prone to slow starts, which has led to games being closer than they should. Unlike most of Illinois’s opponents thus far, though, the Blazers barely shoot the 3 ball and make those shots even less often. Given Illinois’s size this year this could be an advantage, but with defense as poor as the Illini have shown that doesn’t seem to be the case. Likewise, the Blazers’ opponents have only converted 25% of their threes; so how the offense runs on Friday really remains to be seen.

Likely starters

UAB: Robert Brown, guard; Nick Norton, guard; Hakeem Baxter, guard; Tosin Mehinti, forward; William Lee, forward

Illini: Khalid Lewis, guard; Jalen Coleman-Lands, guard; Malcolm Hill, guard; Michael Finke, forward; Mike Thorne Jr., center

Gut feeling

Illinois got a win against Chicago State, which is really all that matters, but at points in that game I was just laughing at loud at the play of the Illini. They haven’t shown the talent or the spirit they’ll need this season, so my gut doesn’t really believe they’ll get a win over UAB.


Volo offering free cocoa at the Parade of Lights on Saturday

At this point, everyone hopefully knows that Volo provides super-fast internet, but they're also good at quenching another one of our human needs in the winter: hot cocoa.

This coming Saturday, November 28th, at the Annual Champaign Parade of Lights, Volo Broadband will be sponsoring a hot cocoa station just in front of the M2 building on Neil Street in downtown Champaign. The cocoa starts at 5:00 PM and the parade starts at 6:00 PM, so you can get nice and sugared-up before seeing Santa on top of a fire truck.


Oh hell yeah, Stoner is the new Mayor in Monticello

One of the principal joys of coming home for the holidays is reading the local paper - in my case, that means the Monticello Journal-Republican. While this usually just includes brushing up on high school sports and reading the "Court News" to see who got a speeding ticket, today, I noticed this gem of a headline:

My hometown never ceases to amaze me, and it seems clear that hazy days are ahead for all of the residents of the small town just 20 minutes outside of Champaign-Urbana. In all seriousness, Larry Stoner was a band teacher when I was in school, and by all accounts is a pretty cool guy. I wish him nothing but the best of luck as Mayor of our fair city. Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.


Espresso Royale announces gift card special

If you love Espresso Royale Coffee (or any of their other drinks/food), prepare yourself for perhaps their most remarkable deal yet. This Black Friday, on November 27th, Espresso will be giving out a $25 gift card completely free with the purchase of a $100 gift card (or $35 for $30 if that's too steep), which is basically free money if you drink a cup of coffee a day. This deal is also accompanied by the standard Espresso seasonal drink lineup, including Peppermint Bark Mochas, Gingerbread Lattes, Eggnog Lattes, and Ginger Chai Lattes.

If you, like any normal functioning coffee-addict, can predict that you’ll be spending at least $100 dollars at an Espresso at any point in the future, then this deal is for you. Don't miss out. It's a guaranteed win.


Champaign Surplus announces Black Friday sale

Champaign Surplus would like to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving! We are so thankful to be part of such a great community. Once you’ve shared good food and laughs with the family on Thanksgiving, rest up for Black Friday shopping at Champaign Surplus. You don’t have to start shopping on Thanksgiving Day though or wake up at 3 a.m. to get great savings. Our doors open at 9 a.m. on Black Friday and there are plenty of great deals to go around.

For starters, we’ll be giving out a doorbuster FREE pair of Fits merino wool socks (a $19.99 value) with any $5 purchase while supplies last. Save 30% on select styles of men’s, women’s, and kid’s outerwear, clothing, and footwear from brands like Patagonia, Kuhl, Prana, Woolrich and more. And save 25% on select styles from brands like Columbia, Sorel, Mountain Hardwear, Marmot, and many more!

Find special deals like the boy’s and girl’s Columbia Alpine Action Jacket for just $67.50 (regular $90). This jacket features special Outgrown cuffs that can extend to accommodate for growth over multiple seasons. Or save more than $150 on the women’s Patagonia Tres 3-in-1 Parka for $370.30 (regular $529).Look for our circular in The News Gazette Thanksgiving Day for a complete list of Black Friday Deals.

If you can’t make it out on Black Friday (or choose to skip the long lines and traffic), you can still enjoy shopping with the family at Champaign Surplus. Our special deals continue through Monday, November 30th! Spend the day supporting your area businesses this Saturday during the nation-wide Small Business Saturday. Champaign Surplus and many other Champaign Center Partnership downtown merchants are participating with great specials to take advantage of. Then, join in downtown for the Parade of Lights & Tree Lighting Ceremony, starting at 6 p.m.


Donate socks to senior citizens

Cassel Heating and Cooling are at it again. Last time I checked in with this company they were giving away a free heater to a family in need. This time they are collecting socks to donate to senior citizens. From their website:

Join Us in our Socks For Seniors© program. A non-profit community service project to help senior citizens keep their feet warm this winter.

Each year Socks For Seniors hosts it’s annual Sock Drive along with Community Leaders and Volunteers. The dropoff locations: Cassel Home Comfort 2100 S. Neil St.

Consider making a donation because it's a pretty simple way to help others out and cold feet are the worst. The worst. 


Barrelhouse 34: DT Champaign’s new craft beer bar unveils name, hiring now

It's official: The name for the new craft beer bar in Downtown Champaign (34 Main Street) will be Barrelhouse 34. We posted some information about it as they were in the process of hiring a GM when the named hadn't been announced, but now there's a name, and some photos of the interior to go along with it (below).

Perhaps you're interested in working there? They're hiring, and you can check out the info here:

Barrelhouse 34, Downtown Champaign's newest craft beer and craft spirits bar, is now hiring bartenders for its approaching opening by the end of the year.

We look forward to hearing from industry professionals who are:

  • passionate and knowledgeable about beer, spirits, and hospitality
  • presentable and professional in appearance
  • outgoing and personable
  • hard-workers
  • punctual
  • dependable
  • quick learners
  • team players

We are looking for individuals who love sharing their passion for beer and cocktails with the great people of our community. Please send your resume and briefly explain why you would be great behind the bar at Barrelhouse 34 to cmthrmanager@gmail.com.