Hamilton Walker’s Steakhouse Coming to Champaign This Summer

When my husband and I were out to dinner the other night, I noticed the very large empty space at 201 North Neil Street. It used to be the Chicago Title Company building. It’s where my husband and I finalized the purchase of our home. Now it’s completely empty, but that night, there was a light coming from inside. Very curious. After a little investigation I learned that the location will soon be renovated and turned into a 1940’s themed steakhouse called Hamilton Walker’s Steak, Seafood & Spirits. The name isn’t just a cool sounding name either, it has a rich history behind it.

In 1887 that same location was Champaign’s very first Opera house. Walker’s Opera House was the first of it’s kind to be built solely for the purpose of performances.

201 North Neil Street_Walker Opera House_NW Neil and Park Street (2)
Walker Opera House 1887

After the property was completely destroyed by fire in 1917 the Hamilton Hotel took it’s place. The Hamilton Hotel had several major fires of it’s own. Soon after the last fire had devastated the top two floors of the hotel it was decided that the space would be renovated and sold.

201 North Neil Street_Hamilton Hotel_NW Neil and Park Street
Hamilton Hotel 1917

In 1977 they built a fake facade around the building and the Chicago Title Company moved in. They then relocated in 2012 leaving the building vacant. The facade was later removed and demolition began for Hamilton Walker’s.

Chicago Title Company 1977
Hamilton Hotel
201 North Neil Present Day

I’m so happy to discover that another restaurant is headed to downtown. One with investors who care so much about preserving Downtown Champaign’s history.โ€œTrust Hamilton Walkerโ€™s for not only our level of commitment to quality foods, beverages and service, but also as an homage to our location,โ€ Brian Margulis, owner of Creative Hospitality Associates, said in a written statement. If it weren’t for them and this new restaurant, I wouldn’t have discovered all of these wonderful facts about my city.

Hope my hubby doesn’t mind me using his handsome face! Over his shoulder you can see the curious light I saw when we were out to dinner.

The restaurant will have a family seating area, outdoor seating and a private party area for up to 50 guests. They will also have a carry out menu. Yesss!

Hopefully we will be enjoying Hamilton Walker’s by late July or August. I’ll keep you posted!


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Diana Spanninger says:

    I still read all your blogs and really enjoy them… especially the photos of food! Maybe I should hang out in Champaign and try out these tasty places.

    1. You definitely should! My mom and I could take you and Kristen on a foodie tour of Champaign! ๐Ÿ˜€

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