Press Release: Champaign-Urbana, IL – July 6, 2022:
A long-awaited Hickory River Smokehouse restaurant is coming to west Champaign this summer, bringing authentic smokehouse barbecue to the area. The owners of both the Urbana and Champaign locations are Michael and Sinéad Madigan. “We hope to be open on or around Monday, August 1st,” Madigan said.
Partnering with company founders Brad and Krista Bowman, the Madigans built the first franchise restaurant in Springfield, Illinois in 2005. The Madigans then purchased the Urbana Hickory River Smokehouse location in 2006. The Bowmans created the Hickory River Smokehouse brand to bring authentic smokehouse barbecue to the Midwest. Each Hickory River Smokehouse location is true to its name and has an on-premises smokehouse.
They apply a proprietary blend of “dry rub" seasonings to the highest quality beef brisket, chicken, and pork, and slowly smoke it for hours over a hickory-wood fire to create the most tender, flavorful meats possible, then top it with Hickory River’s own original barbecue sauce. Each Hickory River location is a fast casual, family-friendly restaurant known for its award-winning brisket, baby back ribs, pulled pork, and polish sausage. Hickory River offers weekday lunch specials, affordable family pack deals, large order deliveries, and full-service catering.
Customers may choose to dine-in, carry-out, drive-thru, or use the convenient online order ahead with curbside pickup feature on their website.
The newest Carle at the Fields development location in southwest Champaign will have a full bar, plus a more modern appearance with an industrial/warehouse feel featuring exposed ductwork, brick finishes, butcher block style tables and modern padded metal frame seating. “And we’re going to have a really cool bar top with a live edge lighted ‘river’ running through it,” says Madigan. The Champaign Hickory River location also will offer outside patio seating and that occasionally will host live entertainment. “Sub4 Development and Green Street Realty, owned by Chris Saunders, have been great to work with on this project”, Madigan said. “Chris and his team were more than patient with us throughout the uncertain times of the pandemic shutdowns and we are very grateful for that.
We look forward to a long and successful relationship with them.” Saunders added, “Hickory River Smokehouse is a quality addition to our Carle at the Fields development, and we are excited that it is finally on the verge of opening.”
With the upcoming restaurant opening, the Madigans will have an ownership stake in five Hickory River Smokehouse locations across Central Illinois. Madigan added, “We will be bringing the same friendly service and award-winning barbecue to west Champaign that folks have enjoyed for over 27 years in Urbana. So many customers have approached us about opening a Champaign location over the years and we’re excited to be making our awesome barbecue more readily available to folks in Champaign. This one has been in the works for a long time due to the government-mandated shutdowns during the pandemic, and we can’t wait to open!”
The Champaign location makes this the sixth Hickory River Smokehouse restaurant across two states. Other locations include Urbana, Peoria, Decatur, and Springfield, Illinois, along with a location in Tipp City, Ohio. The two Hickory River Smokehouse restaurants in Urbana and Champaign will employ about 50 full and part-time staff.