New restaurants hit Green Street, Union

By Marcia Harris

It’s summer again and things are back in full swing. Students who returned to Champaign for Summer Session II may have been surprised to see new restaurants popping up in Campustown, and are eager to see what’s cooking.

Potbelly on the corner of Third St. and Green St., was an instant hit when it opened in May. Their opening day sales broke a company record. Potbelly manager, Justin Cubillos, said he is enthusiastic about the restaurant’s reception.

“Before we even opened, some people came to the door and said they would be our first customers,” he said.

With everything from sandwiches to milkshakes, as well as a live guitarist, students are definitely enjoying the new restaurant.

Those who crave big slices of pizza should try Antonio’s Pizza near the corner of Wright St. and Green St. In addition to the upbeat atmosphere, the slices are huge and served with real Italian sausage. Instead of advertising, Antonio’s relies on word of mouth.

“After awhile the word spread and more and more people started coming in, especially during the bar rush. There were times when the line was out the door,” said Antonio’s employee Nik A.D.

Antonio’s Pizza is one of the few restaurants that stays open late during the summer – 9 p.m. on weekdays and 3 a.m. on weekends.

If your inner sweet tooth tends to overrule your pizza cravings, there’s a new place for you at the Illini Union called Serendipity. With its colorful stained glass display, the ice cream shop is hard to miss. Not to be confused with Delights, Serendipity is a family-owned store rather than a franchise. They have 20 ice cream flavors from “Mint Avalanche” to “Fat Elvis,” and top every shake like a sundae.

“Business has been really good. We have some regulars already,” said manager Linda Lau.

She said she is looking forward to having a booth on Quad Day and introducing Serendipity to more University students. Serendipity stays open until 8 p.m. during the summer and serves a variety of hot food as well.

Serendipity is not the only new sweet spot in Campustown. If you walk down John Street at night, the sweet smell of fresh-baked brownies fills the air. Insomnia Cookies opened in February and has been satisfying the late night sweet tooth ever since.

“We deliver anything on the menu to you warm and fresh, and we make it after you call,” said Lindsay Gall, manager of Insomnia Cookies and a University alum.

More restaurants are on the way. Starbucks will be moving in next to Potbelly, and Noodles and Company is also heading to Campustown in time for fall.

“I think Noodles and Company is a good idea because they have the best mac and cheese, and it the best place I can think of that sells pasta as fast food,” said Tom Brozek, junior in applied life studies.

Students should take advantage of the summer and explore their dining options while they can. When classes start in the fall, business is sure to be booming again. With a variety of restaurants making Campustown their home, students feel there is something for everyone.