Find on campus bites on a college student budget

By Tyler Panlilio, Managing Editor for Online

Finding the best local restaurants here on campus is a skill I’ve mastered in the last three years. We’re not talking about big chains here, so no Potbelly or Chipotle. We’re talking hole-in-the-wall restaurants and somewhat-hidden gems, generally places that pack a lot of flavor and offer good portions all for $10 or less.


522 E. Green St., Champaign

Here hands down is one of the best — if not best — burgers on campus. Located right in the middle of Green Street between Sixth and Fifth streets, Legends is a sit-down bar and grill offering fish sandwiches, wraps, pizza and, of course, burgers. Their burgers are served with a side of chips or fries, and toppings and condiments are free.

Legends has a good amount of options to choose from. Their Sticky Burger, which includes peanut butter and bacon, makes for a surprisingly tasty combination, while other choices like the Pub Burger have their famous fried chips and special dip on the burger itself. Of course, there are more traditional choices like bacon cheeseburgers, sauteed mushroom and onion burgers and a classic cheeseburger. The kitchen closes at 9 p.m. daily, so plan accordingly!

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    Bangkok Thai

    410 E. Green St., Champaign

    A block down heading west from Legends is Bangkok Thai. To quote a random reddit user in 2018: “There is nothing better than Bangkok Thai. My life would lose all meaning without Bangkok Thai. I’m getting my graduation photos taken at Bangkok Thai. If Bangkok Thai were to shut down, I would shut myself down, too.” This is not an overstatement.

    Bangkok Thai offers cheap, delicious Thai food for a low price — and the best part is their servings are huge. Whether you’re getting curry, fried rice or noodles, they make sure to set you up. My personal favorite? Green chicken curry. Spiciness level five. Served over jasmine rice. Try it.


    1115 W. Oregon St., Urbana

    Manolo’s offers two things: pizza and empanadas. Weird combination of food to offer, I know, but both choices are extremely good in their own right. Located in Urbana, right next to Espresso Royale and the Canopy Club, Manolo’s is a small pizza shop known best for their specialty pizza slices. Take the Spotted Goat. It includes spinach, mushroom, gorgonzola, goat cheese and mozzarella with roasted garlic alfredo and red sauce. Does that sound good, or does that sound good? Their empanadas also offer interesting yet delicious combinations and are worth it to check out. While there’s not much seating available, Manolo’s is open seven days a week until 2:30 a.m., making it a perfect place for a quick bite at any time of day.

    J. Gumbos

    700 S. Gregory St., Urbana

    I said this in last year’s edition, and I’m going to say it again in this one: J. Gumbo’s is a wonderful restaurant. The menu offers a wide variety of cajun-creole and Louisiana-style cooking, including ‘po boys, jambalaya and gumbo. My personal favorite is the Drunken Chicken, their most famous and popular dish. It’s roasted garlic, tomatoes, spices and fresh chicken, all simmered in beer and served over rice. Oh, and they give you some buttered bread to go with it too (perfect for dipping in the sauce). Plus, the service and staff is second to none. I might actually go there today for lunch!

    Tyler is a senior in Media.

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