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New restaurant fills familiar Campustown location

The new Campustown restaurant offers a diverse menu.
Photos via Smoky Burgers ‘n’ Frites

Campustown is home to many places familiar to Bradley students: Starbucks, the Fieldhouse and Dollar Tree, to name a few. But recently, a new business has emerged, and employees are eager to make an impression on students in the area. Smoky Burgers n Frites opened nearly six weeks ago in the space previously occupied by Bellacinos.

Opening a new restaurant is difficult, especially with all the competition in such a small marketplace such as Campustown, restaurant manager Dalton Mullis said. We only have four full-time employees, so its pretty much all hands on deck.

Mullis takes on more responsibility than just manning the new restaurant hes also a freshman psychology major at Bradley. And though they are still settling in, he and his fellow staff members said they feel they are ready to serve their student customers with an array of food options.

Our coconut rice and chicken combo seems to be a popular choice, Mullis said. We like to pride ourselves on putting out a quality product and giving people a reason to come back. Repeat business is always appreciated.

Those who seek a heartier entre can order the Smoky Burger, which comes with fries and a fountain drink for $9.99.

As for the name of the restaurant, Mullis said it comes from their style of cooking.

Everything that we can smoke, we do, Mullins said. When thinking about the name, it became clear we need to establish an identity for us so people can remember us.

As a student himself, Mullis said he has advocated for the restaurant to accept Quick Cash, which he said should be an option for customers by late November.

When the crew first opened up shop, the interior remained from the stores previous occupant, Bellacinos. However, the employees said they are hoping to redesign the inside of the restaurant to make it more of their own.

When we got here, and even now, things are the same: the lights, chairs, tables, Mullis said. We are hoping to get some murals up on the wall and a new interior decor set. Once we have the opportunity to customize it our way, it will truly feel like our restaurant.

Bradley students can try the variety of food offered, as Smokys will gladly serve all from 11 a.m. through 9 p.m. every day except Sunday.

We hope to be involved in the Bradley community specifically, and Peoria as a whole, Mullis said. I know this place can provide students with a job and a good meal, and hopefully, we can reach out and increase our brand recognition.

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