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The Daily Illini

It’s a date: dining locations to take your significant other

Holiday Tang, Staff Writer

College is a place where romantic encounters happen. If you think you may have already met the love of your life or you are holding out hope that you’ll meet them soon, these restaurants will help you have the perfect date.

Choosing the restaurant can set the entire tone of your date. Do you want a fun atmosphere with lots of people and music, or mood lighting and quiet conversation?

If you are looking for a fun restaurant with great food, try the Champaign location of Black Dog Smoke & Ale House. Located in the old train depot on Chestnut Street, this second branch of the Urbana restaurant opened in 2015.

The restaurant is open seven days a week from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., but be aware that sometimes certain meats will be used up before the end of the day. Because the meat is prepared ahead of time to achieve the delicious flavor, once the day’s supply is out, there is no more. Luckily, whether you order the burnt ends, brisket, pulled pork or really anything else on the menu, it is delicious.

The side dishes are arguably just as good as the meat. The Mac & Cheese and Blackdog Cornbread are some of my favorites.

The atmosphere of the restaurant is cheerful. Patrons have the choice of sitting at the bar or at a table. While it may not be a traditional date experience, it will be fun and both of you will leave feeling stuffed.

If your date has just gotten back from a study abroad trip and is missing the European cafes, try the Bread Company on Goodwin Street in Urbana. The family owned restaurant has been open for over 30 years and offers seating indoors and outdoors.

All the bread served is freshly baked, and the Swiss cuisine is wonderful. The lunch menu features sandwiches, including a portobello sandwich with brie cheese and raspberry aioli that is to die for. The dinner menu includes pasta, pizza, fondue and more. 

After dinner, treat your date to chocolate fondue and a cup of coffee while you chat in the cozy interior of the restaurant.

Sharing is caring, and splitting tapas at Radio Maria’s in downtown Champaign may be the way to your date’s heart. The restaurant has been in Champaign for 20 years and describes itself on its website as “a hot spot of art, fine dining, and a good time.”

The interior showcases the work of its owners, both of whom are alumni of the University.

The menu offers tapas — appetizers made popular by their famous place in Spanish cuisine — and full-sized entrees.

For a unique date idea, go to brunch at Radio Maria’s. The omelettes, sandwiches and sour cream coffee cake are all ways to start the day off right.

While the true success of a date depends on the  chemistry between the two individuals, local restaurants can provide a wonderful atmosphere and give the date a solid foundation. A great meal never hurt anyone, either.

Holiday is a sophomore in LAS.
stang29@dailyillini.com

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