Visiting Chicago, UIUC, Bloomington, and Notre Dame

(Where, When and What Did You Think)
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egilb
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Visiting Chicago, UIUC, Bloomington, and Notre Dame

Postby egilb » Sat Nov 13, 2010 11:28 am

Hey all. I'll be visiting this week. Anyone have any suggestions on places to eat/drink and things to see while I'm there? So far, I've heard that TLSers give the Blind Pig in Champaign a big thumbs up. Thanks a lot!

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joebloe
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Re: Visiting Chicago, UIUC, Bloomington, and Notre Dame

Postby joebloe » Thu Jan 13, 2011 12:26 am

A little late, but I was feeling nostalgic and wanted to make some suggestions for folks visiting UIUC in the future.

Almost everything between Sixth and Wright on Green Street in Campustown is a good place to start for visitors. Zorba's has good gyros. Za's has some good salads and decent sandwiches. Murphy's Pub has good burgers and OK fries (the copious bottles of malt vinegar make up for their shortcomings).

Further down Green, there's Dorcas, which has good Korean food. Lai-Lai Wok is good Chinese and Taiwanese food. Mandarin Wok is also a good choice for Chinese food. I'd suggest taking a pass on Bo Bo China. Woori Jib, down Sixth, has good Korean too, but I don't think it's as good as Dorcas. You can get bubble tea at Evo Cafe across the street.

Back to Green, and even further down, is Papa Del's Pizza, which makes an excellent Chicago-style deep dish. I'd rate it as good as Giordano's and almost as good as my own. White Horse used to be a block further down, which was a fun and cheap bar.

Back into campus, and down Wright Street is Moonstruck, which I don't like; they sell chocolate I think. My favorite pizza place used to be in there, Garcia's. Something went wrong with Garcia's after they moved out of there, and while they used to have a location out past White Horse, that closed semi-recently and they only have the one location on the far side of Champaign left.

On Daniels (further south), there's Kam's, which is a crap bar mostly patronized by frat boys, sorority girls, and people in town for the game. Near there is Silver Mine Subs, which is supposed to be good. "Home of Gourmet" is a crummy hole in the wall Chinese/Thai restaurant... but it's cheap. Espresso Royale is on the corner there; there are three or four of these around campus; each is worth visiting because they have a neat layout.

North of Green, on Wright, are a few places that the engineers patronize a lot. Cravings is fairly good Chinese food. Jerusalem Restaurant has some of the wateriest and flavorless hummus I've ever eaten (we make it heavy on garlic and lemon at home), but their fried kibbi is OK. There is or was a place called Wonderdogs; one of those small hot dog places like what are really common in Chicago, only not as good.

On Goodwin in Urbana, opposite side of campus, is Bread Company, which is OK. There's also Timpone's (never ate there, but hear it's good; I think it's a sit-down type place). There's a vegetarian place called Red Herring near there; it's like set up in an old church, never ate there.

That's more or less it regarding places in town. Honestly I'm of the opinion that the places outside of campus (specifically, west of Neil, north of Springfield or maybe University, east of Lincoln, and south of Florida) are pretty hit-or-miss. And a lot of them inside those boundaries suck.

Regarding the Blind Pig; I never actually ate or drank there, but I met the owner one morning when I was looking through the window. He happened to be coming by to clean and gave me the tour. Very proud of his establishment, and a very nice man. That general area in downtown Champaign is not too shabby, but most of the places are expensive. Jim Gould's, Ko-Fusion and Guido's Bar and Grill are places I always wanted to eat. Soma is some kind of nightclub- I never went in. Jupiter's Pizza is OK; I like Papa Del's better.

In Urbana, there's Tang Dynasty in the mall. Good atmosphere, but frankly Lai-Lai Wok has that and better food. Just about everything else in Urbana sucks, I'm sorry to say.

LawStudent_DC
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Re: Visiting Chicago, UIUC, Bloomington, and Notre Dame

Postby LawStudent_DC » Thu Jan 13, 2011 12:31 am

I'm an undergrad at ND and here are some places off campus to check out:

The Linebacker - This is the bar everyone feels they HAVE to go to when they come in from out of town. Nothing too special, but worth checking out.

Kildares Irish Pub - This is one of the newer bars in a newer complex. Pretty nice deal.

Rocco's - Good family-owned restaurant.

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anthropologieaddict
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Re: Visiting Chicago, UIUC, Bloomington, and Notre Dame

Postby anthropologieaddict » Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:03 pm

joebloe wrote:A little late, but I was feeling nostalgic and wanted to make some suggestions for folks visiting UIUC in the future.

Almost everything between Sixth and Wright on Green Street in Campustown is a good place to start for visitors. Zorba's has good gyros. Za's has some good salads and decent sandwiches. Murphy's Pub has good burgers and OK fries (the copious bottles of malt vinegar make up for their shortcomings).

Further down Green, there's Dorcas, which has good Korean food. Lai-Lai Wok is good Chinese and Taiwanese food. Mandarin Wok is also a good choice for Chinese food. I'd suggest taking a pass on Bo Bo China. Woori Jib, down Sixth, has good Korean too, but I don't think it's as good as Dorcas. You can get bubble tea at Evo Cafe across the street.

Back to Green, and even further down, is Papa Del's Pizza, which makes an excellent Chicago-style deep dish. I'd rate it as good as Giordano's and almost as good as my own. White Horse used to be a block further down, which was a fun and cheap bar.

Back into campus, and down Wright Street is Moonstruck, which I don't like; they sell chocolate I think. My favorite pizza place used to be in there, Garcia's. Something went wrong with Garcia's after they moved out of there, and while they used to have a location out past White Horse, that closed semi-recently and they only have the one location on the far side of Champaign left.

On Daniels (further south), there's Kam's, which is a crap bar mostly patronized by frat boys, sorority girls, and people in town for the game. Near there is Silver Mine Subs, which is supposed to be good. "Home of Gourmet" is a crummy hole in the wall Chinese/Thai restaurant... but it's cheap. Espresso Royale is on the corner there; there are three or four of these around campus; each is worth visiting because they have a neat layout.

North of Green, on Wright, are a few places that the engineers patronize a lot. Cravings is fairly good Chinese food. Jerusalem Restaurant has some of the wateriest and flavorless hummus I've ever eaten (we make it heavy on garlic and lemon at home), but their fried kibbi is OK. There is or was a place called Wonderdogs; one of those small hot dog places like what are really common in Chicago, only not as good.

On Goodwin in Urbana, opposite side of campus, is Bread Company, which is OK. There's also Timpone's (never ate there, but hear it's good; I think it's a sit-down type place). There's a vegetarian place called Red Herring near there; it's like set up in an old church, never ate there.

That's more or less it regarding places in town. Honestly I'm of the opinion that the places outside of campus (specifically, west of Neil, north of Springfield or maybe University, east of Lincoln, and south of Florida) are pretty hit-or-miss. And a lot of them inside those boundaries suck.

Regarding the Blind Pig; I never actually ate or drank there, but I met the owner one morning when I was looking through the window. He happened to be coming by to clean and gave me the tour. Very proud of his establishment, and a very nice man. That general area in downtown Champaign is not too shabby, but most of the places are expensive. Jim Gould's, Ko-Fusion and Guido's Bar and Grill are places I always wanted to eat. Soma is some kind of nightclub- I never went in. Jupiter's Pizza is OK; I like Papa Del's better.

In Urbana, there's Tang Dynasty in the mall. Good atmosphere, but frankly Lai-Lai Wok has that and better food. Just about everything else in Urbana sucks, I'm sorry to say.


This is great! Thank you.

czelede
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Re: Visiting Chicago, UIUC, Bloomington, and Notre Dame

Postby czelede » Tue Jan 18, 2011 3:16 pm

joebloe wrote:A little late, but I was feeling nostalgic and wanted to make some suggestions for folks visiting UIUC in the future.

Almost everything between Sixth and Wright on Green Street in Campustown is a good place to start for visitors. Zorba's has good gyros. Za's has some good salads and decent sandwiches. Murphy's Pub has good burgers and OK fries (the copious bottles of malt vinegar make up for their shortcomings).

Further down Green, there's Dorcas, which has good Korean food. Lai-Lai Wok is good Chinese and Taiwanese food. Mandarin Wok is also a good choice for Chinese food. I'd suggest taking a pass on Bo Bo China. Woori Jib, down Sixth, has good Korean too, but I don't think it's as good as Dorcas. You can get bubble tea at Evo Cafe across the street.

Back to Green, and even further down, is Papa Del's Pizza, which makes an excellent Chicago-style deep dish. I'd rate it as good as Giordano's and almost as good as my own. White Horse used to be a block further down, which was a fun and cheap bar.

Back into campus, and down Wright Street is Moonstruck, which I don't like; they sell chocolate I think. My favorite pizza place used to be in there, Garcia's. Something went wrong with Garcia's after they moved out of there, and while they used to have a location out past White Horse, that closed semi-recently and they only have the one location on the far side of Champaign left.

On Daniels (further south), there's Kam's, which is a crap bar mostly patronized by frat boys, sorority girls, and people in town for the game. Near there is Silver Mine Subs, which is supposed to be good. "Home of Gourmet" is a crummy hole in the wall Chinese/Thai restaurant... but it's cheap. Espresso Royale is on the corner there; there are three or four of these around campus; each is worth visiting because they have a neat layout.

North of Green, on Wright, are a few places that the engineers patronize a lot. Cravings is fairly good Chinese food. Jerusalem Restaurant has some of the wateriest and flavorless hummus I've ever eaten (we make it heavy on garlic and lemon at home), but their fried kibbi is OK. There is or was a place called Wonderdogs; one of those small hot dog places like what are really common in Chicago, only not as good.

On Goodwin in Urbana, opposite side of campus, is Bread Company, which is OK. There's also Timpone's (never ate there, but hear it's good; I think it's a sit-down type place). There's a vegetarian place called Red Herring near there; it's like set up in an old church, never ate there.

That's more or less it regarding places in town. Honestly I'm of the opinion that the places outside of campus (specifically, west of Neil, north of Springfield or maybe University, east of Lincoln, and south of Florida) are pretty hit-or-miss. And a lot of them inside those boundaries suck.

Regarding the Blind Pig; I never actually ate or drank there, but I met the owner one morning when I was looking through the window. He happened to be coming by to clean and gave me the tour. Very proud of his establishment, and a very nice man. That general area in downtown Champaign is not too shabby, but most of the places are expensive. Jim Gould's, Ko-Fusion and Guido's Bar and Grill are places I always wanted to eat. Soma is some kind of nightclub- I never went in. Jupiter's Pizza is OK; I like Papa Del's better.

In Urbana, there's Tang Dynasty in the mall. Good atmosphere, but frankly Lai-Lai Wok has that and better food. Just about everything else in Urbana sucks, I'm sorry to say.


Dorcas and Moonstruck are both closed now :( But Woori-Jib is great for your korean food fix.

To add to food recommendations:

Asian: my votes go to Basil Thai in Urbana, Lai Lai Wok in Champaign (mentioned by joebloe), Golden Harbor in Champaign are all good. Around $7-$12 for a dish. If you like Indian food, Bombay Grill on Fourth & Green has awesome, cheap lunch dishes (but the prices hike up for the same portions if you go for dinner).

Pizza: I second Papa Del's. Antonio's is great for late night drunk pizza (around Green & Wright).

Fancy/off-campus: Jim Gould is pretty good but $$. One of my C-U favorites is Cafe Luna, in the old train station in Champaign. Very cute decor and yummy tapas. Radio Maria is a popular fusion restaurant that's kind of hit or miss, depending on the person.

Don't ask why these are the only categories I made, haha.

Two places I would definitely recommend you hit up if you can't try too many restaurants (both pretty cheap, under $15 with tip I'd say):
- Courier Cafe (in downtown Urbana, around Race & Springfield): very historic little eatery in a building that used to house the Courier newspaper. Great atmosphere and definitely one of a kind.
- Black Dog Smoke & Ale House: if you at all like BBQ, you MUST go here. They don't take reservations so if you go on a Friday night you'll probably be waiting an hour or 1.5 hrs for a table (I went on a Monday for lunch recently and the wait was 20-30 minutes); it's that good. Also in downtown Urbana.

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joebloe
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Re: Visiting Chicago, UIUC, Bloomington, and Notre Dame

Postby joebloe » Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:28 pm

Not surprised about Moonstruck, but I can't believe Dorcas is gone. Not as heartbroken as when I learned about White Horse, but still.

Agree with Basil Thai- I can't believe I forgot about them. Bombay Grill is good too, though I only ate there once.

09042014
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Re: Visiting Chicago, UIUC, Bloomington, and Notre Dame

Postby 09042014 » Tue Jan 18, 2011 5:39 pm

Black Dog is overrated as hell but it's fairly cheap.

Dos Reales has good mexican.

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AboveTheLawSchool
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Re: Visiting Chicago, UIUC, Bloomington, and Notre Dame

Postby AboveTheLawSchool » Sun Feb 13, 2011 11:32 am

Pass on Bo Bo China? What the hell are you talking about? Sure it gives you diarrhea and is only of mediocre quality, but it's an all you can eat buffet of Chinese food for like $6. Worth it every time.

chicubs88
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Re: Visiting Chicago, UIUC, Bloomington, and Notre Dame

Postby chicubs88 » Sun Feb 13, 2011 5:52 pm

Isn't Whitehorse open again? I know that in my 4 years on campus it seemed like an annual occurrence for it to close and then open back up a few months later.

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joebloe
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Re: Visiting Chicago, UIUC, Bloomington, and Notre Dame

Postby joebloe » Mon Feb 14, 2011 12:19 am

AboveTheLawSchool wrote:Pass on Bo Bo China? What the hell are you talking about? Sure it gives you diarrhea and is only of mediocre quality, but it's an all you can eat buffet of Chinese food for like $6. Worth it every time.

If you like shitty Chinese food, then go for it. I can't stomach that crap anymore. Give me my chicken feet, fish heads, and pig intestines with congealed blood.

chicubs88 wrote:Isn't Whitehorse open again? I know that in my 4 years on campus it seemed like an annual occurrence for it to close and then open back up a few months later.

I dunno. Last time I was down there, it was closed. Though this was some years ago. I'll have to take a look next time; I've been planning a trip down for motivation.

Desert Fox wrote:Dos Reales has good mexican.

Very good indeed. Prices are decent and portions are immense.

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AboveTheLawSchool
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Re: Visiting Chicago, UIUC, Bloomington, and Notre Dame

Postby AboveTheLawSchool » Tue Feb 22, 2011 7:29 pm

chicubs88 wrote:Isn't Whitehorse open again? I know that in my 4 years on campus it seemed like an annual occurrence for it to close and then open back up a few months later.


Yeah it just re-opened like a month ago (after being closed for almost a year), pretty much spot on




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