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Recs for good eats in Champaign/Urbana, area

Recs for good eats in Champaign/Urbana, area
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  • Post #151 - December 7th, 2010, 1:47 am
    Post #151 - December 7th, 2010, 1:47 am Post #151 - December 7th, 2010, 1:47 am
    Cathy2 wrote:Hi,

    When it was simply Ye Olde Donut Shop, it had idiosyncratic hours: closing when the last donut was sold. The better part of a day Ye Olde Donuts was closed. When the BBQ folks moved in, I thought it was a best-use since they didn't overlap and it allowed the property to be fully utilized.

    I look forward to trying Deralds when I am there next. Thanks for the tip!

    Regards,

    Never once in my 3 years in Champaign did I ever step into Ye Olde Donut Shop not under one influence or another. I have no idea how good it actually was but I loved it dearly. 8)

    I too, look forward to trying Derald's next time I'm down that way. Thanks, for the tip (and the links).

    =R=
    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

    Another beer before happy hour to put me in the mood for drinkin', uh huh huh, oh, forget thinkin' --Beaver Nelson

    I find it a matter of note that in New York or Terre Haute, school cookies always seem to be oatmeal --Mr. French
  • Post #152 - December 7th, 2010, 3:53 pm
    Post #152 - December 7th, 2010, 3:53 pm Post #152 - December 7th, 2010, 3:53 pm
    I'll back up the good comments on Derald's. we've gone twice and both feedings were quite good. excellent fish sandwich and I liked the jalapeno swiss burger. not too much parking but you can call in your order. it will be one of our regular spots for lunch
  • Post #153 - March 4th, 2011, 9:20 pm
    Post #153 - March 4th, 2011, 9:20 pm Post #153 - March 4th, 2011, 9:20 pm
    Had a surprisingly good meal at Thara Thai last night (surprising as I ordered pho at a Thai place). The place was packed to the gills with Asian students and I noticed a lot of them eating what appeared to be Pho. I asked our waiter (who turned out to be the son of the owners) about the pho and he told me his mother spends 6 hours each day making the broth and that she was particularly proud of it. Sold. They had two varieties - beef and seafood, I opted for the beef.

    I was a little surprised when he asked me how spicy I wanted it and he let me know it was "Thai style" pho. It was served with mint, bean sprouts, lime and thinly sliced onion. The beef turned out to be very lean, thinly sliced flank that was just barely cooked through when it was brought to the table swimming in perfectly prepared rice noodles. The broth was very rich and nicely spicy ~ you could see microscopic bits of red chili and thinly sliced jalapeños swimming in it. Of note was how subtle the anise/clove flavors were, it really was a hybrid Thai pho, but I very much enjoyed it. At nearly $9.00, it's pricier than most pho you would get in Chicago, but really a nice change of pace and I can certainly see why Thara is so popular. My brother, who eats there often, told me the owner frequently comes out to chat with customers and has been known to share special peppers & other obscure items with regulars. I noted that many of the students in the restaurant appeared to have items that were not on the menu, so I wonder if they have a secret menu.

    Thara Thai
    912 1/2 W Bloomington Rd
    Champaign, IL 61821-1725
    (217) 378-1986
    "Baseball is like church. Many attend. Few understand." Leo Durocher
  • Post #154 - March 5th, 2011, 10:49 am
    Post #154 - March 5th, 2011, 10:49 am Post #154 - March 5th, 2011, 10:49 am
    sujormik wrote:Also, not sure if it's still around (like I said, been awhile) but Jarling's Custard Cup was on Florida Ave I think, just west of campus. It's only open in summer, their frozen custards are all homemade and their cold fudge sundae with toasted almonds still haunts me. :lol: Hmm, i think I may need to roadtrip.

    You're in luck! Jarling's opened for the season yesterday!
    "I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."
  • Post #155 - April 15th, 2011, 3:31 pm
    Post #155 - April 15th, 2011, 3:31 pm Post #155 - April 15th, 2011, 3:31 pm
    I'm headed down in a couple of weeks for the Illinois Marathon and I'm looking for a pre-marathon dinner place - I did search through this thread, but much of the info seems outdated. I'm looking for an old school, non-chain Italian restaurant with decent or better pasta (pizza on the menu would be nice too). I did look at the menu for Bacaro, and although it looks fantastic for another visit it's probably a bit fancified for a pre-race meal.
  • Post #156 - April 16th, 2011, 9:13 am
    Post #156 - April 16th, 2011, 9:13 am Post #156 - April 16th, 2011, 9:13 am
    Do not go to Biaggi's. Besides being a mini-chain, it is not very good. But it is the most popular Italian restaurant in town, I think.

    Here are some ideas:

    Manzella's
    115 South 1st Street
    Champaign, IL
    (217) 352-7624 ‎
    http://www.campusfood.com/restaurant.as ... lid=254676
    Excellent thin crust pizza, lots of pasta dishes.

    Buttitta's
    1201 South Neil Street
    Champaign, IL 61820-6543
    (217) 355-8656
    http://buttittascu.com/
    I haven't been to this place yet. It is a reincarnation of Dom Patio Villa (an old Italian restaurant in Champaign), in a new location. The menu looks like a mix of older and newer dishes.

    The Great Impasta
    156 C Lincoln Square
    Urbana, Illinois
    217.359.7377
    http://www.greatimpastarestaurant.com/home.html
    Large pasta menu. Decent food.

    Minneci's
    401 S. First Street
    Champaign, IL 61822
    (217) 352-4425
    http://www.minnecisristorante.com/
    The one meal I ate here was bad, but that was about 8 years ago.
  • Post #157 - April 16th, 2011, 9:36 am
    Post #157 - April 16th, 2011, 9:36 am Post #157 - April 16th, 2011, 9:36 am
    I think your best bet would be Timpone's:

    710 S. Goodwin Ave.
    Urbana, Illinois 61801
    Phone: (217) 344-7619
    Fax: (217) 344-7648
    http://www.timpones-urbana.com/
    "I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."
  • Post #158 - April 16th, 2011, 9:48 am
    Post #158 - April 16th, 2011, 9:48 am Post #158 - April 16th, 2011, 9:48 am
    Katie wrote:I think your best bet would be Timpone's:

    710 S. Goodwin Ave.
    Urbana, Illinois 61801
    Phone: (217) 344-7619
    Fax: (217) 344-7648
    http://www.timpones-urbana.com/


    I'm embarrassed that I forgot about Timpone's. Food is better than the places I listed (save for the one I hadn't tried), but it isn't "old school", "red sauce" Italian, if that part matters. If you are looking for a bowl of pasta that would normally feed 3 adults, Timpone's isn't the place. But the quality is much higher.
  • Post #159 - April 16th, 2011, 9:52 am
    Post #159 - April 16th, 2011, 9:52 am Post #159 - April 16th, 2011, 9:52 am
    I guess I wasn't quite sure what old-school and red-sauce were meant to imply; I was focused on the non-chain aspect. Timpone's is one of the best restaurants in the area, wouldn't you agree? And it's been around a long time, so they must be doing a lot of things right.
    "I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."
  • Post #160 - April 16th, 2011, 9:59 am
    Post #160 - April 16th, 2011, 9:59 am Post #160 - April 16th, 2011, 9:59 am
    Katie wrote:I guess I wasn't quite sure what old-school and red-sauce were meant to imply; I was focused on the non-chain aspect. Timpone's is one of the best restaurants in the area, wouldn't you agree? And it's been around a long time, so they must be doing a lot of things right.


    Yes, I agree. That's why I wrote "Food is better than the places I listed" and "the quality is much higher." Sorry for any confusion. I only mentioned the red sauce because I presume Tobermory is looking for a big plate of carbs for a pre-race meal and said that Bacaro was a big fancified. Timpone's sits about halfway on that scale between the places I listed and Bacaro.
  • Post #161 - April 16th, 2011, 10:26 am
    Post #161 - April 16th, 2011, 10:26 am Post #161 - April 16th, 2011, 10:26 am
    Of course, another great option for prerace carbo loading is a deep-dish pizza at Papa Del's.
    "I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."
  • Post #162 - April 24th, 2011, 9:51 pm
    Post #162 - April 24th, 2011, 9:51 pm Post #162 - April 24th, 2011, 9:51 pm
    Katie wrote:
    sujormik wrote:Also, not sure if it's still around (like I said, been awhile) but Jarling's Custard Cup was on Florida Ave I think, just west of campus. It's only open in summer, their frozen custards are all homemade and their cold fudge sundae with toasted almonds still haunts me. :lol: Hmm, i think I may need to roadtrip.

    You're in luck! Jarling's opened for the season yesterday!



    Darn it! Just when I've started a sugar embargo, after having nightmares from reading this.

    Thread bump!

    I'm heading down on Wednesday and will be there through Sunday for Ebertfest.

    Suggestions?
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #163 - April 25th, 2011, 9:38 am
    Post #163 - April 25th, 2011, 9:38 am Post #163 - April 25th, 2011, 9:38 am
    Suggestions for what? A place to eat? Did you look through this thread and the others:

    viewtopic.php?f=15&t=449&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&start=90

    More links here:
    /viewtopic.php?f=15&t=15784&start=0&st=0&sk=t&sd=a
  • Post #164 - April 25th, 2011, 3:44 pm
    Post #164 - April 25th, 2011, 3:44 pm Post #164 - April 25th, 2011, 3:44 pm
    Darren72 wrote:Suggestions for what? A place to eat? Did you look through this thread and the others:

    viewtopic.php?f=15&t=449&st=0&sk=t&sd=a&start=90

    More links here:
    /viewtopic.php?f=15&t=15784&start=0&st=0&sk=t&sd=a


    Thanks. Thought this thread was it and wondered if there was anything new since I left the area in 2003.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #165 - April 26th, 2011, 11:19 am
    Post #165 - April 26th, 2011, 11:19 am Post #165 - April 26th, 2011, 11:19 am
    This is new: Destihl, which opened on April 20. There's one in Normal that's been there a couple of years, but I've never been there.

    One of their appetizers is beer battered bacon. Also beer battered asparagus.

    It's a gastro brew pub.

    DESTIHL Restaurant & Brew Works-(Opened April 20th, 2011)
    301 N. Neil Street
    Champaign, IL 61820
    (Located in downtown Champaign, on the corner of Church and N. Neil St.)
  • Post #166 - April 26th, 2011, 3:37 pm
    Post #166 - April 26th, 2011, 3:37 pm Post #166 - April 26th, 2011, 3:37 pm
    pairs4life, in downtown Champaign within a few blocks of the Virginia Theater, some of my favorites lately are:

    - Sushi Kame - considered by some the best- quality sushi in C-U (small quiet place), I've been several times
    - Ko-Fusion - sushi in an attractive nightclub atmosphere, been several times also, a bit pricier, nice ambiance w/group or people watching (or fish watching - see large aquariums)
    - Cafe Luna - in the old train station building, my notes say tapas, but I've only had (a very good) croque monsieur there
    - Esquire Lounge - just your basic bar with good food, been around forever so must be doing some things right, often packed on visiting occasions such as Mother's Day; I've gone several times lately for the cracker-crust pizzas
    - Escobar's - Latin American fine dining, I haven't been yet, some consider it best restaurant in all of C-U area
    - Seven Saints - very attractive old-school-looking pub/rest, next to the old ice cream shop (Vriner'sof REO Speedwagon cover fame), right by old train station), only went once but liked the variety of mini burgers and want to go back

    Near the Illini Union where the film discussions will be, there are of course lots of restaurants in Campustown, but of course you are pretty familiar with them if you lived there as recently as 2003, though there are always comings and goings. Alas, Zorba's is still closed w/building reconstruction work going on after the fiire.

    The building I work in is right next to Jarling's Custard Cup and across the street from Yellowfin (rivals Sushi Kame for best sushi in C-U), a short drive south of downtown Champaign, corner of Kirby and Neil. PM me if your schedule allows you to stop at either one between about 10 am and 4 pm on Wednesday or Friday and you want to meet up.
    "I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."
  • Post #167 - April 26th, 2011, 3:57 pm
    Post #167 - April 26th, 2011, 3:57 pm Post #167 - April 26th, 2011, 3:57 pm
    I've been to Escobar's many times. I used to like it, but the last few times I've been there have convinced me that it really is a quite mediocre-to-bad restaurant. There are so many good restaurants in Champaign-Urbana and it is a shame to waste a meal at Escobar's.

    Cafe Luna does indeed have a tapas style menu, mainly at dinner, though you can also order larger entrees.

    Cafe Luna
    116 North Chestnut
    Champaign, IL 61820
    (217) 356-5862
    www.luna-cu.com/

    Escobar's
    6 East Columbia Avenue
    Champaign, IL 61820
    (217) 352-7467
    www.escobarsrestaurant.com/
  • Post #168 - April 26th, 2011, 4:01 pm
    Post #168 - April 26th, 2011, 4:01 pm Post #168 - April 26th, 2011, 4:01 pm
    Thanks everyone.

    Keep it coming because I can still check tomorrow and over the rest of the week.

    Katie- Check your pm box, I should be able to meet for lunch tomorrow.
    Ava-"If you get down and out, just get in the kitchen and bake a cake."- Jean Strickland

    Horto In Urbs- Falling in love with Urban Vegetable Gardening
  • Post #169 - April 26th, 2011, 4:04 pm
    Post #169 - April 26th, 2011, 4:04 pm Post #169 - April 26th, 2011, 4:04 pm
    Are you looking for something upscale, causal, ethnic? There are a lot of new restaurants, many of which are noted in the other thread.

    My favorite restaurants in town are Bacaro, Cafe Luna, the Bread Company, various BBQ joints, and probably Timpone's.
  • Post #170 - April 26th, 2011, 4:20 pm
    Post #170 - April 26th, 2011, 4:20 pm Post #170 - April 26th, 2011, 4:20 pm
    Thanks for the insight on Escobar's, Darren; as I said I haven't been yet, but I keep seeing it near the top of lists. I don't know if it serves lunch, which would be my only chance to try it.
    "I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."
  • Post #171 - April 26th, 2011, 4:44 pm
    Post #171 - April 26th, 2011, 4:44 pm Post #171 - April 26th, 2011, 4:44 pm
    They serve lunch Tuesday-Friday and brunch on Sunday.
  • Post #172 - May 17th, 2011, 11:53 am
    Post #172 - May 17th, 2011, 11:53 am Post #172 - May 17th, 2011, 11:53 am
    Is anyone aware of a good restaurant delivery service in Champaign? My elderly mother, who lives there, has taken a nasty tumble and I'm trying to arrange to have meals delivered to her while she recovers. So far, I'm coming up with services that cater to students (pizza/subs), which won't do for my sometimes kosher/semi-vegetarian mother. Any ideas appreciated.
    "Baseball is like church. Many attend. Few understand." Leo Durocher
  • Post #173 - May 19th, 2011, 12:49 pm
    Post #173 - May 19th, 2011, 12:49 pm Post #173 - May 19th, 2011, 12:49 pm
    For what it's worth, pairs4life and I had a delightful lunch at Escobar's a while ago while she was visiting C-U for the Roger Ebert film festival. Of course, the company and conversation are what make a meal memorable, but we both enjoyed the seasonal menu items, particularly the asparagus. The interior is a pleasant place and I'd gladly return. My only complaint would be a little slowness of service - my glass of wine came so late it was practically my dessert. If that happens next time I'll try to be more assertive about reminding the waiter that I'm waiting.

    pairs4life, lunch with you, any time! After the summer wedding season's out of the way, we can meet at Jarling's Custard Cup!
    "I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."
  • Post #174 - October 25th, 2011, 6:10 pm
    Post #174 - October 25th, 2011, 6:10 pm Post #174 - October 25th, 2011, 6:10 pm
    Darren72 wrote:I had a great (day old) apple fritter and a quite good pulled pork sandwich today from Derald's Diner. Derald's took over the little spot at the corner of Green and 1st in Champaign formerly called Ye Olde Doughnut Shoppe and Noe's BBQ. Apparently the donuts at Derald's are based on the recipes from Ye Olde. The rest of the food is similar to that served in Derald's food truck on campus.

    The pulled pork was flavorful and had nice crispy bits mixed in (though I don't think the meat is smoked).

    They have a nice mixture of breakfast items, burgers, and a variety of other sandwiches.

    More here: http://champaign-taste.blogspot.com/201 ... ampus.html

    Based on these pictures, the fish sandwich just jumped to the top of my must-try list.

    Derald's Diner
    Corner of First and Green Streets
    Champaign, IL
    217-359-3311
    Open 6 a.m. to 3 a.m. daily; orders may be phoned in.
    Parking is available in a small, private lot out front.


    Derald's Diner has closed and has been replaced with Maize Mexican Grill.

    Derald's food truck appears to still be in operation.
  • Post #175 - November 7th, 2011, 12:39 pm
    Post #175 - November 7th, 2011, 12:39 pm Post #175 - November 7th, 2011, 12:39 pm
    Sea Boat may be one of the best restaurants ever. Maybe that's an overstatement. But it is hard to find a place that does fried fish and fixins' as well, especially in Champaign. (Note: if you haven't been to Champaign in a few years, Sea Boat has moved from its original location on Market St. to new and nicer digs on Kirby, near Neil St.) I've always gotten the fried Walleye, but they also have catfish, shrimp, code, and chicken. The fish is breaded with a nice, somewhat spicy coating. Just about all of the sides are homemade. The greens are cooked with smoked turkey. Fried okra is fantastic. Staff couldn't be friendlier.

    Sea Boat
    403 West Kirby Avenue
    Champaign, IL 61820-7209
    (217) 355-9933
    http://theseaboat.com/
  • Post #176 - April 18th, 2012, 9:07 pm
    Post #176 - April 18th, 2012, 9:07 pm Post #176 - April 18th, 2012, 9:07 pm
    I'm heading down to the film festival next week, and looking for some new ideas in Champaign. Anything new and interesting, especially close to the Virginia Theater?

    Thanks.
  • Post #177 - April 22nd, 2012, 10:21 pm
    Post #177 - April 22nd, 2012, 10:21 pm Post #177 - April 22nd, 2012, 10:21 pm
    Carmon's Bistro is a new bistro that took over the space from the restaurant formerly called Carmon's. My one meal there was very good. It's a small restaurant and so is generally more difficult than most places in town to get a table.

    There is a new brewery/restaurant downtown called Destihl. I've had a few meals here. The only one that was a disappointment was a burger, which was over cooked. The best dish I've had is the pork shank. Beer is very good.

    Friends have recommended Seven Saints, a bar and restaurant that does a lot of slightly upscale sliders. I haven't been myself.

    Other places nearby that aren't new:

    Bacaro is a short walk from the Virginia theater and it's the best restaurant in town, IMO. It's fairly upscale.

    Peking Garden is a very good Chinese restaurant and is about a block from the theater. They have the American-Chinese classics, but also have a very good selection of more interesting dishes.

    Radio Maria is very good, though I haven't been in a while.

    Luna is a popular restaurant downtown (formerly known as Cafe Luna and located near campus). I've been perhaps 4 times in the last year and have been pretty disappointed with the food. This used to be a very good place, but clearly something has changed.

    Other notes:

    Jim Gould's (a steakhouse) has closed.

    I've always been disappointed with Ko Fusion and Escobar's.

    I haven't been to Nitaya Thai in years, but it was pretty bad last time I went. It's about a block from the theater.

    If you like beer, head to The Blind Pig. It's one of the best beer bars I've been to.

    Destihl
    301 N. Neil Street
    Champaign, IL 61820
    P: 217-356-0301
    http://www.destihl.com/

    Peking Garden Restaurant
    206 N Randolph St, Champaign, IL
    (217) 355-8888 ‎
    pekinggardenchampaign.com

    Seven Saints
    32 East Chester Street, Champaign, IL
    (217) 351-7775 ‎
    sevensaintsbar.com

    Carmon's Bistro
    415 North Neil Street, Champaign, IL
    (217) 378-2299 ‎ · carmonsbistro.com
  • Post #178 - April 24th, 2012, 7:58 am
    Post #178 - April 24th, 2012, 7:58 am Post #178 - April 24th, 2012, 7:58 am
    Thanks for the rundown.

    I haven't eaten at Nitaya in years either; we've been heading out to Thara Thai on Bloomington Road.

    I'll report back if I find anything good. My biggest regret is that the fabulous Urbana Farmers' Market opens the following week.
  • Post #179 - May 3rd, 2012, 9:52 pm
    Post #179 - May 3rd, 2012, 9:52 pm Post #179 - May 3rd, 2012, 9:52 pm
    Since the OP specified "area"...I'd like to offer my place in downtown Gibson City. We're a family friendly Irish flavored Pub with a menu ranging from pizzas to prime rib. We're becoming a handy starting or stopping spot for folks traveling in for Illini games and pretty much anything UofI related. By the way...we're "D.G.Sullivan's 109 W 8th St, just 1/2 block west of City Hall in the middle of the business district. You'll find around 35 craft beers, local sourced burgers, dairy, honey and whatever else we can find. You can check out our website, oddly enough "dgsullivans.com" for a good look at who we are and what we do.
    D.G. Sullivan's, "we're a little bit Irish, and a whole lot of fun"!
  • Post #180 - May 4th, 2012, 4:02 pm
    Post #180 - May 4th, 2012, 4:02 pm Post #180 - May 4th, 2012, 4:02 pm
    What? You're name's not Sullivan?

    Just kidding. Thanks for the heads-up on your place in Gibson City. I will stop by on my next round-trip to CU.

    On a different note, I was sorry to see the blog "Champaign Taste" call it quits a year or so ago. It was a good resource for CU restaurant reviews, special food events, and occasional recipes. It's still a website worth visiting, though info on restaurant openings and closings is of course not up to date.
    "I would gladly pay you Tuesday for a hamburger today."

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