A Guide for New Students to Dinner with Champagne – The Prospectus

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By: Lizzie Jackson

So you’ve just moved to Champaign, and you’re probably asking yourself the most important question in life: “What’s for dinner?” And if you’re like me, you don’t leave the house until the world settles down for a minute. It means either cook or order. Here are my recommendations for takeaways in Champaign.

Jet Pizza

1907 W Springfield Ave Ste A, Champaign, IL 61821

First of all, the pizza. The staple of college life and the staple for anyone looking forward to a pepperoni-filled breakfast the next morning. My favorite place is Jet’s Pizza. There are 2 locations in town: one on Springfield Avenue and the other closer to the U of I campus on Neil St.

I know what you are thinking; “But everyone says to go to Jupiter!” And at Papa Del’s? And I’m telling you, those are two great choices. I get pizza at Jupiter’s when I want to go play pool. I get Papa Del’s when I want to eat tomato cake and do nothing for the next 24 hours.

Jet is good? Order Jet’s when you want to pay off a group of friends who just helped you move, or when you finally get the chance to have that movie night. Jet’s Pizza serves Detroit-style pizza, which basically means there’s no “handful” of side crust and instead a basic bread-like crust. Jet’s also has a 2-slice lunch deal and a 20-ounce drink for $ 5.00, which is a big step up from Little Caesars.

Smokey’s house barbecue

1333 Savoy Plaza Ln # 8, Savoy, IL 61874

Something that really surprised me when I first moved to Champaign was the number of barbecue places in this town. While Black Dog is actually my go-to restaurant, it falls outside of the everyday price bracket. Alas, that’s the problem with a good barbecue. However, when I want to celebrate the end of another pay period and don’t want to go downtown Champagne, I order a Smokey’s House barbecue.

Granted, Smokey’s is a bit out of the way, south enough on Neil Street that it turns into Dunlap Avenue. But, through Grubhub, they deliver to my place, right next to Mattis and their delivery is perfect every time. I cannot stress this enough. Everytime.

My order last week was the smoked pulled pork platter with fried pickles and cornbread, with their Memphis Sweet and Mostly Mustard sauces. It was actually pure bliss in a polystyrene container.

Photo by: Lizzie Jackson

Ming Garden

1804 Sangamon Drive, Champaign, IL 61821

My main goal whenever I move to a new city is always, always, locate the best Chinese place. And when I moved to Champaign, I encountered a problem: celery. All the Chinese restaurants I visited used celery as a bulk vegetable and unfortunately for me I totally despise celery. So I suffered and survived on Thai food for years until I came across Ming Garden.

The Ming Garden is no bigger than your average 2-car garage and is hidden behind the Little Caesars on South Mattis. There is no seating inside and delivery via Grubhub is rather hit and miss. But it’s worth it, trust me.

The usual order from my house is the black pepper chicken with fried rice and the garlic chicken with white rice. We also get an order of 8 fortune cookies because sometimes you just want to eat a bunch. That total comes to just over $ 25, which means lunch the next day is taken care of. And this is yet another place that I must highlight for never wrong command. I never had anything wrong from here either.

There are plenty of places to eat in Champaign, it goes without saying. But I hope I’ve given you some new places to try that are outside the norm. Enjoy!


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