The Best Local Restaurants for Friends and Family

At this point, I’ve just about eaten my way through the Champaign-Urbana community. And let me tell you—I’ve had some great food. I’ve also had some not great food. This will be my second, or better yet, my revised version of “Where to Eat when Visiting Campus.” Because, let’s be real, most of those restaurants aren’t open anymore anyway.

Jupiter’s Pizza and Billiards

There are very few things that get me as excited as pizza. And better yet, the best barbecue chicken pizza I’ve ever had. But surprisingly enough, it wasn’t the pizza that got me hooked on Jupiter’s; it was the arcade.

Photo from Rachel Hernandez

Everyday Kitchen

I am a foodie, and nothing makes a foodie happier than aesthetically pleasing appetizers. At this point, I’ve tried near everything on the appetizer side of Everyday Kitchen’s menu. My personal recommendation is the kale, mushroom, and sausage flatbread, sweet potato rounds, and corn ribs.

Photo from Rachel Hernandez

Watson’s Shack and Rail

The thought of elevated fried chicken made me laugh. That was, until I tasted Watson’s. This gem is located in downtown Champaign and is always packed with patrons. From chicken and tacos to mouth-watering slushies, Watson’s knows how to feed a crowd. My personal recommendation is fried chicken and fried fish tacos with an appetizer of roasted brussels sprouts.


You may recognize Smallcakes by the name since they are a cupcake chain. But new to the Champaign area, my roommate and I had to give them a try. To put our obsession lightly, we are both rewards member and have received 2 free cupcakes each from points alone. You can choose from ice cream, cupcakes, or a smashcake (ice cream and cupcake combo). My recommendation is a smashcake with cookies and cream ice cream and a hostess cupcake!

Photo from Rachel Hernandez

Courier Cafe

Courier Cafe has been a favorite of mine since long before I was a student at the U of I. With a delicious salad bar, burgers, chicken, steak, and more milkshake flavors than you can imagine, Courier Cafe is sure to please everyone in your group. My personal recommendation is the pesto pitas with chicken and a chocolate shake!

Photo from Rachel Hernandez


Class of 2020
I am studying Middle Grades Education with concentrations in Social Sciences and Literacy in the College of Education. Although I now reside in Champaign, I am originally from Vernon Hills, a Northwest suburb of Chicago.

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