Smile Politely

Fiesta Cafe a real treat for vegans

For years, I have celebrated many birthdays by going out to dinner at one Mexican restaurant or another. Oftentimes, I have equated my love for Mexican cuisine to the mere fact that I was born on Mexico’s Independence day (September 16). But, one of my favorite things about Mexican food is that it happens to be incredibly simple in terms of accommodating a vegan. My latest birthday was spent at Fiesta Cafe. This little delight is located on First Street, just past White in between Campustown and downtown Champaign. If the colorful walls and assorted south of the border decorations do not bring you in, then the savory smell of food and the promise of fruity margaritas will. Even more delightful is that during the spring, summer, and even fall you can dine outside on their patio.

When there is actually a choice among several vegan options featured on any menu, it always proves wonderfully difficult for me to make a decision. I will not lie; I contemplated what I should choose the first time I ate there (aforementioned birthday) and I did the same when I decided to return for this very article.

While the Vegetarian Fajita wrap without sour cream is an excellent choice, I feel that the wrap stifles the flavor-packed taste of the vegetables inside. Therefore, my choice was between the Vegetarian Fajita (ordered without cheese on the beans) or the Buenos Nachos (ordered without sour cream or cheese). The Vegetarian Fajita is alluring and quite frankly, satisfying due to the red and green peppers, and yellow squash — this was my ultimate decision.

Despite my indecision when considering food, I can immediately recommend my favorite margarita from the menu. That would, hands down, have to be the Mango Margarita. They also have a variety of other margaritas and 16 oz. Blue Moon for $2.95 which is never a bad decision in my book. I recommend sipping on your Blue Moon between bites of the salsa because the blend is a perfect marriage of zest and citrus.

Overall, the portion of food per serving is more than adequate and you will most likely have leftovers for yet another meal. The restaurant is open until 11 p.m. and drinks are served until 12 a.m. Check out their website at This is a terrific, low-key restaurant for dining out with friends, and it will be especially pleasurable in the upcoming months of spring.

If you go:

Since 1988, Fiesta Cafe is located at 216 S. First Street Champaign, IL 61820

Open 11 a.m. – 12 a.m.



In business since: 1988



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