RANTOUL — A longtime Rantoul restaurant on the community’s east side has closed up shop.

Pizza Hut, 2020 Lon Drive (U.S. 136) shut its doors, but the building’s owner said the building could be reopened as another restaurant.

Building owner Glen Long said National Pizza Corp., Pittsburg, Kan., which had leased the building from him for years, made the decision to close the eatery.

"The problem was when Wal-Mart closed (in east Rantoul), it just kind of died out there," Long said.

"They leased it from me for the last 25 years," Long said. "Pizza Hut, the company, ... they’ve made up new things for the franchisee that they have to do on remodeling."

The action follows a similar course of numerous other Pizza Huts, including those in Paxton, Watseka, Gibson City and Monticello that closed because of expensive corporate remodeling requirements that those restaurants’ owner said he could not afford.

Long said he formerly owned a Pizza Hut close to the former Chanute Air Force Base years ago before building the new restaurant on the east side. A few years after that, a group approached him and wanted to buy the business, which he agreed to while maintaining ownership of the building.

Long said a deal is pending for another restaurant to open there. He declined to divulge the name of the business until all the papers are signed.

dhinton@rantoulpress.com