Tastiest places to chow-down in Champaign-Urbana


Pictured is a beef brisket sandwich covered in Georgia peach barbecue sauce and a side of sweet potato fries, served at the Black Dog Smoke and Ale House in Urbana. This barbeque joint is well-known by students and community members alike for its mouth-watering food.   

Authentic Mexican: Maize


Maize Mexican Grill, 60 E. Green St., offers a variety of authentic Mexican dishes ranging from tacos to tostadas. Maize has been open for a few years now and has quickly become a favorite among University students. Although the restaurant is small, it counters its size with amazing food such as their fried quesadillas with mushrooms — crunchy on the outside, and cheesy and gooey on the inside. Restaurant owner Armando Sandoval is planning on opening a second location in downtown Champaign in the near future so be on the look out for it.

Lunch with friends: Black Dog Smoke & Ale House


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    Delicious. That’s the only word you need to describe this smokehouse. Located at 201 N. Broadway Ave., in downtown Urbana, it’s known across not only Champaign-Urbana, but across the United States as one of the best barbeque joints. Since it opened in 2009, Black Dog has gained recognition for its variety of beer, scrumptious cornbread, and last but not least, their burnt ends — a must try. Be warned though, there’s usually a wait ranging anywhere from fifteen minutes to over an hour.

    Delicious and fast: Lai Lai Wok


    Located at 402 E. Green St., Lai Lai Wok offers a large variety of Chinese entrees and is very vegan and vegetarian friendly. They also have large tables so it’s the ideal location for large groups of people in a hurry. Their mouth-watering tofu with mixed vegetables is well-known among University students, but if tofu isn’t your cup of tea, I would also highly recommend their sesame chicken.

    Late night munchies: Cracked: the egg came first


    This food truck was definitely designed with the egg as part of its DNA. Cracked has also been a big hit among University students and can bee found on the corner of Mathews and Springfield Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. I would highly recommend their buttermilk biscuit pancakes and their white cheddar bacon tots as starters, and if you’re still hungry, try “The Morning Bender” sandwich with a fried egg, hash browns, sharp cheddar or pepper jack cheese.

    Pandamonium Doughnuts


    Pandamonium Doughnuts took the University by storm this past spring semester, as this pop-up doughnut shop became a craze among students. Pandamonium will post their weekly location on their Facebook page or you can place a private order through their website. Their s’mores flavored doughnut is amazing and they also have vegan options as well, such as a chai-flavored doughnut.

    Creme & Flutter


    Creme & Flutter, located at 114 N. Walnut St. in downtown Champaign, is a great place to get your sweet tooth fix. They have a variety of cupcakes, brownies, cookies and ice cream that will definitely fulfill your sugar craving. And while you’re there, try their coffee and assortment of candies.

    Pizza Perfection: Papa Del’s


    This deep dish pizza joint has been a staple on campus for years now. Located at 206 E. Green St., Papa Del’s offers a large variety of pizza options, but is best known for it’s deep dish pizza. If you’re in town and want some quality pizza give Papa Del’s a try — you won’t be disappointed.

    Upscale date night place: Radio Maria


    Radio Maria, located in downtown Champaign at 119 N Walnut St., is well known for its delicious Spanish tapas and amazing entrees. I would highly recommend their stewed oxtail and their garlic salmon tapas, both of which are very flavorful dishes. Radio Maria bolsters an eclectic, yet relaxing atmosphere not often found in the Champaign-Urbana area.

    Bryan can be reached at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @bryanboccelli.