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Hidden Restaurant Gems in Urbana-Champaign

It’s Tuesday and you’re running to your second class, you haven’t been able to eat anything all day and you’re starved. Lucky for you, the Cracked Truck is sitting right outside the building waiting to serve you a delicious bowl of tater tots.

               Since this is a college campus, it is to be expected that many quick food fixes are very close by, if not right around the corner. Not all of these will be great, but you can find a few hidden gems that leave the rest in the dust. One of them being the Cracked food truck that totes itself around campus serving the best breakfast can offer. You can see their time and locations here: http://crackedtrucks.com.

               Chambana also has quite a few locations for students who wish for a more serious sit-down-type-meal in the area.  One of my personal favorites is the Bread Company (http://www.thebreadcompanyurbana.com/ ).  They have freshly made soups and bread daily, and they are extremely close to campus. On a regular day, not too many people will be sitting inside, so it is also a great study/dinner environment, or a great place to go on a nice date.

               There are quite a few places that have bread or wheat products as their main item (Panera, Bread Company, Noodles and Co.) but, there are still other alternative options on campus for those of you who have severe dietary restrictions like lactose-intolerance or Celiac Disease.  I highly recommend J. Gumbos for the latter (http://www.jgumbos.com/ ).  Not only is their food delicious, they offer customizable sides other than bread.  They have gluten free tortilla chips, clearly label the allergens in each dish and are even willing to change their gloves for you.  All in all, it is one of the best services I’ve gotten on campus.

               Then, of course, there is the Red Herring for our vegetarian and vegan friends. While it isn’t so obscure now, I still think it counts as hidden because some may struggle to find it. Located right by the Foreign Language Building and Davenport, the restaurant is hidden underneath the Channing Murray Foundation (they are so entwined that to see their information you go to the Channing Murray website!- http://www.channingmurray.org/.  They used to be a vegetarian and vegan restaurant, but have recently switched all the food they offer to be vegan – good news for our friends who have been so limited with campus choices! The environment of the restaurant is extremely friendly and close, so it is a good place to have a study group or a lunch with classmates.

               There are many locations up and down Green Street that cater to college students. They recently added in the McDonalds (thank you), and there are multiple pizza places, coffee shops and chinese restaurants.  These are all good places to go if you want to spend little and eat quickly.  Green Street locations like Panera and Chipotle tend to be very packed and irritating to eat in, so the places on this list surpass them all in one key aspect of dining- environment.  In order to really enjoy a meal you need to be able to sit down or go as you please, but at busier well-known locations it is almost impossible.  I hope this gives you some places to have a nice relaxing meal away from the bustle and stress of college life!




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