Smile Politely

Five places to fuel up for finals

U of I finals are upon us! I have a lot of work to get done, but I like changing up where I study. So, I decided to check out a few places around campus to see how they were for studying (and for the food, of course). Some things I looked for: How crowded is it? What’s the outlet situation like? What’s the atmosphere? And how is the food?

Intermezzo at Krannert Center for the Performing Arts

The lobby of KCPA is a lovely open space that can be great for studying. There’s a cafe, Intermezzo, and it has a lot of great lunch options. It can get very busy between 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. because of the lunch rush, but before and afterwards it’s relatively quiet. I went there to grab a bite and do some work in the afternoon and it was really peaceful. There is often instrumental music playing softly. There are also plenty of windows so lots of natural light. There are some outlets along the walls, but most of the tables are scattered around, so I would only go here if I was fully charged or needed to focus on some readings. For lunch, I ordered the red pepper Gouda soup with sourdough bread and a side of pasta salad ($6.96). The soup was pretty hearty. It was sweet and slightly tangy, with bits of gouda in it. The sourdough bread went really well with it. The pasta salad was a bit oily for my tastes, but still refreshing.

Intermezzo Cafe
Krannert Center for the Performing Arts
500 S Goodwin Ave
M-F 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Caffe Paradiso

This is one of my favorite cafes on campus. I love the atmosphere — it’s very cozy. If you don’t like crowds, this might not be your favorite study spot as it’s pretty popular. But I love going here because it feels very full of life and I feel like I can get energized just by being there. There’s a lot of cool artwork on the walls to look at, too, if you want to take a break from staring at your screen. Some of the tables are a little small, so if you have a lot of work you want to spread out, you might want to get there early and grab a larger table or a booth. There are plenty of outlets around the cafe, so you’ll be able to charge all your devices. I got a cafe au lait ($2.98); I really like the coffee here and it didn’t disappoint. The coffee is not bitter and I usually don’t have to add much sugar to it because it’s already pretty good.

Caffe Paradiso
801 S Lincoln Ave
7 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily

Bevier Cafe

I’ve never actually been to Bevier Cafe before; it’s a student run cafe in Bevier Hall. This is a good spot to go especially if you have class there. Also, their menu changes a little every day so you’ll always have variety. There’s plenty of seating and lots of outlets. Similar to Intermezzo, it gets very busy during lunch. I would recommend going around 12:30 p.m., getting something to eat, and then continue to work as people trickle out. I got the Buddha Bowl ($6) which had chickpeas, sweet potatoes, broccoli, and kale, with a creamy and tangy sauce to go along with it. It was a really healthy and filling meal and I really liked the sweet potatoes. I took two of my friends with me to study — they ordered the Buffalo chicken salad ($6) and chicken tenders ($6). I’d say that the chicken tenders are a little overpriced since it’s $1 for one chicken tender, they taste pretty good.

Bevier Café
2nd Floor Bevier Hall
905 S Goodwin Ave
M-F 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.


I’ve studied here many times. It’s very spacious and has two levels, so you’re most likely going to find a place to sit. I love that it has large windows, bringing in lots of natural light. It’s usually not too crowded, so the atmosphere is pretty calm. It’s also a good spot to meet up with people for a group project or if you want to study with friends. If you go up to the second level and sit at the window you can look out onto Wright Street and people watch when you get bored of studying. And they’ve got a lot of different options for food from boba to coffee to frozen yogurt and savory snacks. I went for frozen yogurt. I got both mango and taro frozen yogurt and I topped it with yogurt chips, popping mango boba, cheesecake bites, a wafer, and a chocolate (pay by the ounce). It was really refreshing and a good way to reward myself for studying. I also liked the combination of a fruity flavor with the more creamy taro flavor.

709 S Wright St
Su-Th 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
F + Sa 10:30 a.m. to 11 p.m.

Espresso Royale at Krannert Art Museum

Not to be confused with the other Krannert, KCPA, this art musuem is on the other end of campus. This is my favorite spot to study. I don’t think that many people realize that you can go here to do work, which means it’s never crowded. There’s a small Espresso Cafe inside with lots of seats and outlets. In addition to that, there’s a long room next to Espresso with floor to ceiling windows and lots of tables with outlets: the Link Gallery, connecting KAM to the School of Art + Design. It’s not part of the museum, so you can have your backpack with you. It’s very peaceful and there’s so much natural light — there’s definitely a theme here with good study spots and large windows. There’s barely anyone there and it’s a great spot to settle in for a long study session. I went there with my friend and when we wanted to take a break we decided to walk around the museum. From Espresso I got the raspberry green cold brew ($4.40) and lemon poppy seed bread ($2). The cold brew was light and refreshing, a good alternative to straight coffee. It was sweet, but not overly so. And the lemon poppy seed bread is always a great snack to tide you over while you work.

Krannert Art Museum
500 E Peabody Dr
M-F 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Sa 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Good luck to everyone taking finals this week — hope all of you find a good place to get work done.

Photos by Anusha Bansal

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