UI campus offers delicious dining options
August 5, 2020
Fall is just around the corner, which means one thing: a hard goodbye—puor maybe a welcomed one—to home-cooked meals. While not getting to have Mom or Dad’s homemade chili every Friday might take a week or two to adjust, the fact is, there are many delicious alternatives at the University.
When it comes to dining halls, all of them have their moments of greatness and disaster. As long as you live in public University housing, your i-card will allow you to eat at any of the dining halls. The Ikenberry Commons Dining Hall is the largest of them all, as it is home to a majority of the dorms. Ikenberry does a fantastic job of providing a variety, as they do have specific nights for foods from different cultures, i.e. Indian food, Asian food and Mexican food. The one drawback of Ikenberry, though, is that the quality might not be up to par with other dining halls. With having to provide food to the most students, Ikenberry has a tendency to whip out basic foods, like chicken breast or pizza, the latter of which has a different kind of sauce than most are used to.
The best dining hall for pure food is Busey-Evans. Although it’s a little hidden, making a trip will pay off big time as the dining hall has the best quality due to not having to provide as much food as Ikenberry. Another fantastic choice for dining is the PAR dining hall, which is home to late night dining. As others close at much earlier times, PAR is open until midnight during the week and is home to some of the best food on campus. Despite being a little smaller, PAR offers a wide range of diverse dining nights, with my favorite being Thursday Night Breakfast.
If I had to choose a location I wouldn’t desire to eat at, it would have to be the Illini Union’s dining hall. Usually packed with students who have class close to it, the Illini Union has ridiculously long lines and a low selection of food choices. Specifically, the dining hall lacks diverse appliances such as panini makers.
Aside from dining halls, there are plenty of other options to get an enjoyable meal or snack. The I-57 North is pretty much a 7/11 located inside of Ikenberry Commons. Although 57 is home to every snack imaginable, which can be purchased with credits, it also boasts plenty of meal options such as buffalo wings, cheeseburgers, pizza, quesadillas, hot pretzels and milkshakes. The beauty of 57 is that it’s open until midnight, so if you’re craving something more than a bag of Doritos while studying, it’s the place to go.
As for privately owned restaurants in the Champaign area, there are also plenty of quality options. Of course, Champaign is home to the classic chain food restaurants—Chipotle, McDonald’s, Noodles, etc. But after a late night out with friends, there are other restaurants beyond big brand names waiting to serve you. Fat Sandwich offers a wide range of sandwiches and burgers that will satisfy anyone’s appetite. D.P. Dough, my personal favorite, offers any calzone that you can think of, whether it’s the classic Ranch Buffer or the more traditional Roni Zoni. Signature Grill is home to great Indian food. Finally, if you’re craving some sweets, Insomnia Cookies is the place to go, where nice, warm and soft cookies are made.
The University is a place I can truly call home, and every day I am thankful I can attend. Whether it’s the social scene, athletics or academics, I am proud to call myself an Illini. While college can be an adjustment for anyone, at least Illinois will provide the security of plenty of fantastic dining options.