Whether you’re celebrating passing your last midterm or the latest milestone with someone special, the Champaign-Urbana food scene offers a multitude of options for either friends or a special someone. Create a night to remember off campus and get away from the typical Campustown and Green Street scene. There are only so many times one can eat spaghetti at the Ikenberry Dining Hall.
Don’t know of any off-campus restaurants to dine at? Give these five suggestions a try!
1. Black Dog Smoke & Ale House: The authentic pit BBQ restaurant, located at 201 N. Broadway, Urbana, offers a diverse menu of meats and sides to choose from. The smokehouse opened in February of 2009, and the restaurant may not stand out while driving by, you can’t miss the constant line of people to get in when the restaurant is open.
“I got the Black Dog burger and cornbread; it was love at first sight,” Katie Sreenan, sophomore in LAS, said. Other notable mentions: the brisket sandwich and burnt ends. Be prepared to wait in line for a bit, but know that the wait is worth it for great atmosphere and kickin’ barbecue sauce.
2. Silvercreek: This fine-dining establishment is perfect for going out when your parents are in town or for an upscale date, JamesonYong, freshman at UIUC, said. The American-style restaurant, located at 402 N. Race St., Urbana, is praised for their Sunday brunch buffet, available from 10 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., which is perfect after a night out. Yong recommends their lobster tempura.
3. O’Charley’s: O’Charley’s is great after a long week of midterms, when comfort food is needed. O’Charley’s is located at 730 W. Town Center Blvd., Champaign and offers free pie on Wednesdays with any entree. Their self-proclaimed “unsliceably soft” rolls, which they give unlimited amounts of, are what draws in most of their customers, Hannah Ellis, freshman at UIUC, said. “[The rolls are] really soft and also a little sweet. [They] just melt in your mouth.” O’Charley’s also offers numerous selections including salads, fish and ribs.
4. Courier Café: The Courier Café is great for a casual, laid-back lunch or a lazy weekend brunch with reasonably priced dishes, including a diverse salad bar. Courier offers a variety of toppings and dressings to spruce up a simple salad. Hannah Smith, freshman at UIUC, raved about the café’s milkshakes and cheeseburgers, the perfect diner meal. Similar to Merry Ann’s diner in Urbana, Courier, located at 111 N. Race St., Urbana, provides quality food late into the evening hours. Enjoy the historic building and old-age decor.
5. Dos Reales: If you are looking for an authentic Mexican restaurant, Dos Reales is the place to go. Located on 1407 N. Prospect Ave., Champaign, Dos Reales offers large portions and has become a staple for alumni to return to. It’s a great place to bring visiting friends, especially for its quick service and inexpensive dishes.