Demolition of the Champ’s Family Restaurant building on North Center Avenue began last Thursday. The building has been torn down to just above floor level and will be rebuilt in the same location with an expansion to the rear.
The restaurant was sold earlier this year by long-time owner Ryan Schwartzman. Kim Alimi, owner of Pine Ridge Restaurant, purchased Champ’s after making a deal to sell the Pine Ridge property to Kwik Trip. Alimi plans to reopen a new restaurant on the Champ’s site.
With the weather finally becoming more favorable for construction, Alimi is shooting to have the new restaurant open no later than the end of May. He’ll be closing the current Pine Ridge Restaurant April 27 as Kwik Trip plans to demolish the building in preparation for the new convenience store.
Construction of the “New Pine Ridge Restaurant” on the Champ’s site will begin in earnest as Alimi hopes to minimize the amount of time he’s out of business.
The Pine Ridge employees will be moving to the new restaurant and Alimi said he plans to hire additional staff as well.
Champ’s was originally built in the 1960s by Dennis Champagne when Center Avenue was still Hwy. 51. The business had been in the Schwartzman family for 20 years, and owned by Ryan for almost 15 years.
Along with the new building at the Champ’s site, Alimi is also looking to open another new restaurant in the same area as the current Pine Ridge. He said he’s about 90 percent sure he’s found a suitable site in that area.