A longtime staple of the Champaign dining scene will close later this month.
Minneci’s at the Crossing will close at the end of business on July 15, the restaurant announced late Thursday in a Facebook post. The Italian restaurant decided not to renew its lease, the post reads.
The post does leave the door open that Minneci’s could relocate, but indicates there are no concrete plans as of this date.
Fans of the restaurant expressed sadness and disappointment at the news.
“So sad to hear about our favorite restaurant!!” wrote one. “I am very sorry to hear because I think this is the best Italian restaurant in town. I will miss the Sunday brunch as well. I will make sure to visit next weekend,” wrote another.
Minneci’s opened at the southwest Champaign location in fall 2013, and at the time was a second location for the Italian favorite. Minneci’s shuttered the original First Street location at the end of 2013.
Minneci’s at the Crossing was lauded for its Sunday brunch (see our review from 2015). It was well known for its homey yet elegant atmosphere, having live piano music and wine specials.
Minneci’s was family-owned for most of its history. Rob Meister, the current owner, recently launched a new restaurant in Campustown called Salad Meister. (Because of the timing of this announcement, we have not yet reached out to ownership.)
According to an article in the News-Gazette, the original Minneci’s Ristorante dates back to the 1980s, and was at the original location at the corner of First and Springfield for more than 30 years. That building still stands, and is now a Chinese restaurant.
As for the Minneci’s space in the Crossing, its future is unknown. It was originally Uncle Jack’s, a breakfast and lunch joint that closed in 2011. It sat vacant until Minneci’s opened in 2013.
For more on restaurants opening and closing in Champaign-Urbana, view our series.