Farren’s is moving, and longtime fans of the burger joint can rest easy: they aren’t leaving downtown.
On the contrary: Farren’s will head to prime downtown space, allowing it to double in size – but not lose its identity. Owner Carolyn Farren announced on Thursday that the restaurant will sign a lease to take over the former Radio Maria space on Walnut Street.
The main reason for the move: space. Farren’s will double in size, and will finally have outdoor seating it has long coveted. Farren’s current location on Randolph Street is behind the Himalayan Chimney restaurant and next to the Hill Street parking deck, but has been difficult to find for those not in the know.
One thing that won’t change: that “quirky Farren’s feeling,” said Carolyn Farren in an interview with chambanamoms.com.
“At the beginning, we will not change a thing,” she said Thursday. “People have to walk in and know that this is Farren’s.”
Farren’s is best known for its burgers, named the best in the state of Illinois. They also have salads, sandwiches, tacos and imaginative dinner specials.
An exact timeline for the move hasn’t been determined, but Carolyn Farren said they don’t expect to move before graduation (mid-May), due to remodeling and other necessary preparations. Although it’s a “great space,” she said, “there’s a lot that needs to be done.”
One of the things Farren is most excited about her new space may sound silly to outsiders, but will be obvious to Farren’s regulars: better bathrooms.
“I cannot tell you how jazzed I am about getting two sets of bathrooms, it’s glorious,” she said with a chuckle.
The whirl of recent Champaign-Urbana restaurant changes has includes some closures and some surprising moves. One of those moves will benefit Farren’s, Carolyn Farren said. Her restaurant will now be around the corner from Kofusion’s new location at the corner of Main and Walnut.
“I’m excited that (Kofusion) will be right next door,” Farren said. “It will be great for that block, and will bring a lot of traffic.”
Just in the last 10 days, DESTIHL announced it will move out of downtown Champaign and into Carle at the Fields in southwest Champaign. Just yesterday, Hickory River Smokehouse announced it will add a location in Carle at the Fields. Radio Maria closed at the end of 2018.