The best places to eat in Chambana
Student Life

I Asked 35 Illini Students Where Their Favorite Place To Eat In Chambana Is, Spoiler, It’s Not The Dining Hall

Writing this made me a very hungry Illini.


While University Housing offers a wide variety of choices in their dining halls, a la carte locations, and specialty restaurants, school food gets really old really fast, and by the second week of classes, students are looking for a change in their food. Enter Green Street—the one area of campus that makes the "micro-urban area" tidbit tour guides throw at prospective students make sense. Every taste is catered to on these glorious few blocks, but that's not the only place to find delicious bites on campus.

It would've taken me forever to list all of the restaurants within walking distance of Campustown—and even if I had the time, I'm sure I'd miss a few along the way—so I took to the Internet to ask other Illinois students where they like to eat out. Here, I've ranked them by the number of votes they got in my poll.

 Red Herring (1 student)

Red Herring

Located just off the Main Quad, Red Herring is a completely vegan restaurant that's perfect for lunch. It's not as well known as some of the others on this list, but it's a great spot for lunch during the week!

 Jip Bap (1 student)

Jip Bap

Jip Bap is a quality Korean restaurant that serves delicious noodle dishes in movie theater popcorn-sized bowls. It's enough food to last for multiple meals—if you can bring yourself to stop eating when you're full.

 Murphy's (1 student)


This Irish pub is a campus staple known for its affordable meals and drinks for UIUC students that aren't into the bar scene but want to go out.

 Joe's Brewery (1 student)


Joe's Brewery is a popular dance bar on campus that also serves a variety of unique burgers. Lowkey though, the fries are what really push Joe's over the top.

 Mia Za's (1 student)


Mia Za's boasts made-to-order pizzas, pastas, salads, and sandwiches, making it the perfect spot for the group that can't agree on what they want. Plus, they're great about doing fundraisers for RSOs and other groups!

 Vinny's Pizza (1 student)


Tucked away at the end of Green Street, Vinny's is one of the best stops on campus for a late night slice of pizza. The variety will astound you.

 Legends (1 student)


One of a few Illini-themed bars on campus, Legends is another great stop for students looking for a night out at a calmer bar. Be sure to grab a burger and catch a game when you go!

 Ko Fusion (1 student)

Ko Fusion

Calling all sushi lovers: Ko Fusion is the place for you! Found both downtown and on campus, students and locals alike flock to this restaurant every chance they get. Their stir fry is not to be ignored either—it's my personal favorite.

 Antonio's Pizza (1 student)


Antonio's—some of the best pizza on campus—may you rest in peace.

 Seven Saints (1 student)

Seven Saints

Located in downtown Champaign, Seven Saints is a bar/restaurant that is not to be missed. Many compliment their appetizers and note them to be the reason they make the visit.

 Merry-Ann's (1 student)

Merry Ann's

Open 24/7, every Illinois student ends up at Merry-Ann's at some point or another. It's a classic diner that serves breakfast at all hours and satisfies every late-night or drunken craving you can imagine.

 Jimmy John's (1 student)


In need of a freaky-fast meal? Jimmy John's is the solution! The 22 Illini will drop you right outside the Lincoln Avenue location pictured above. Fun fact: the chain originated 45 miles away from campus in Charleston, IL.

 Panda Express (1 student)


Panda Express is a chain that's hard to miss. Located just across the street from Alma Mater on the corner, Panda is a common stop among Illini.

 Noodles and Company (1 student)


As a chain restaurant, many are familiar with what Noodles and Company is all about. They serve a variety of noodle dishes from various cultures. Even though it is a chain, there is nothing quite like a bowl from Noodles on an Illinois winter day.

Panera (1 student)


Panera is another pretty popular chain that calls Green Street home, and it makes for the ultimate comfort food, no matter where you are.

Kohinoor (1 student)


Located just off campus, Kohinoor is one of just a few Indian restaurants in CU. If you're looking to change it up a little, Kohinoor is the place to go!

Blind Pig Brewery (1 student)

Blind Pig

Blind Pig is a well-renowned pub in the Chambana area—locals and students flock to this stop. Besides being known for "the beer of Champaign," Blind Pig boasts a wide variety of unique craft beers.

Zorba's (2 students)


Situated right next to Mia Za's, Zorba's is another unique addition to Green Street. The gyros at this Greek restaurant are not to be missed!

Manolo's (2 students)


Manolo's is a grab and go pizza place right around the corner from Canopy Club and Espresso Royale. They're open late into the night, which makes their empanadas and pizza slices the perfect snack after a night out.

Cracked (3 students)


Cracked is one of the most Illini restaurants on campus, as the concept was developed by a UIUC student while he was attending the University. The unique restaurant is known for its egg-based breakfast foods served all day long. If you're ever craving breakfast for lunch (or a snack or dinner), you can catch Cracked's brick and mortar store on Green Street or the food truck at various locations across campus.

Fat Sandwich Company (3 students)

Fat Sandwich

Fat Sandwich is located a few streets over from KAM's, without a doubt a strategic move as these super-packed sandwiches are a common favorite drunk food on campus. It's not the place for me, but plenty of students love a good Fat Sandwich.

Sakanaya (3)


Another popular sushi stop is Sakanaya. It is recognized for both its food quality and for being the first authentic Japanese restaurant on Green Street.

Bangkok Thai (5 students)

Bangkok Thai

Hidden in a building across from Walgreen's on Green Street, Bangkok Thai is clearly a favorite among UIUC students. Personally, my friends and I love to go for pad Thai every now and then. It seems pricey for what it is, but most people can get two or three meals out of each dish. If you haven't been, you need to drop everything and go!

While this is not an exhaustive list, hopefully, it will encourage you to try something new—or at least something that's not served in the Ike.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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