Restaurant: Carmazzi’s General Store & Candy
Location: 100 S. Main St., Urbana
The federal-style building now housing Carmazzi’s was constructed in Urbana in the early 1800s. In 1893 Bianchi’s Fruit Store opened in the space. Sam Bianchi’s niece Victoria and her husband, Frank Carmazzi, acquired the store in 1931 and renamed it Carmazzi’s.
Their son John (nicknamed, “Johnny”) obtained the store in the early 1950s and was its sole proprietor until he was ready to sell after about 65 years as owner.
About a year after Johnny sold the store, fellow Monument Square business owners Pat and Patsy Thackery heard the store was going to permanently close. They immediately approached that owner about buying the historic site and a deal was quickly reached. Patsy then swiftly hunted through a local flea market and found old-looking display cases in hopes of restoring the vintage charm to Carmazzi’s. The Thackery’s opened their store that very next Monday morning in November 2014, with its same familiar name on the windowpane; thus, Carmazzi’s never had to close between ownerships.
The continuity of Carmazzi’s is as personally important to the Thackerys as it is to Urbana. When they were preparing the opening of their Italian restaurant across the street in Monument Square, they asked their longtime friend Johnny Carmazzi to help them think of an appropriate Italian name to properly designate their new eatery. Johnny told them to keep it simple and suggested they call it Café Paradiso, and so it’s named. Ironically, Pat and Patsy Thackery chose to keep it simple when purchasing and restoring to honor the historic Carmazzi’s General Store & Candy.
Beverages: Pepsi, Coke, or Stewart’s products (cans and bottles)-$ .60/$1.35 plus tax; Hot Chocolate-$1; Keurig Coffee-$1.
Soup of the Day (could be): Corn Chowder, or Cream of Broccoli-$3. Black Bean Chili-$4.50.
Sandwiches (served w/chips): “Sloppy Johnny”-$3.50; Classic Italian (served warm)-$6; Ham & Swiss, or Turkey & Swiss-$6.
Vintage (“Penny”) Candy: Huge selection of all your favorites-$ .03 to $1. Sugar-free candy-$ .15.
Sweet Treats: Homemade Buckeye-50 cents; Brownie-$1; Chocolate-covered Bacon-$1.50.
Holiday Specialties: “Turkey Leg” (pretzel shaped into turkey leg by caramel and dipped in chocolate)-75 cents; Christmas sugar cookie cut-out-$1; Molasses cookie-$1; Holiday decorated cupcakes-$1 to $1.50; Marshmallow Caramel Ring w/ Peppermint (for hot chocolate)-price to be determined.
Holiday Fruit Baskets: Filled with locally produced cheeses & meats, candies, crackers, and fruits-$25 to $50. A two-day advance order is requested.
10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
Carmazzi’s is located in the southwest corner of Monument Square. There’s one steep step to the inside; Patsy encourages you to use the bar on the door to elevate you into the entrance. Be advised, there’s no indoor seating.
Look for local restaurant profiles by Glenn and Kim Creyts every other week. For inquiries regarding this column and ideas for other restaurant profiles and suggestions for future columns, contact Glenn and Kim via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.