Smile Politely

Five things to eat or drink in C-U this month: July 2017

Let’s cut to the chase: summer is here, and I’m interested in eating delicious, refreshing things with friends, preferably on a bug-free patio (please let me know if you know of one). This month we say ciao to an established C-U restaurant, and we say hello to two new establishments.

Is there something you love, or want to see featured in the future? Leave us a note in the comments.

Wine | Minneci’s at the Crossing

Sad news for fans of Minneci’s: the restaurant will permanently close its doors on July 15th (though reports indicate owners are perhaps scouting other locations around C-U). Until then, all wine is half-priced. Surely you’ve been looking for a way to publically and conspicuously consume copious amounts of fermented grape juice while slurping down some spaghetti, right? You have only a few days to do so, so plan accordingly, with a designated driver.

Minneci’s is located at 2501 Village Green Place, Champaign, and open Tuesday though Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. The restaurant will close on Saturday, July 15th.

Photo by Mackensie Archibald.

Produce | Farmers’ markets

July is the month to check out the farmers’ markets, if you haven’t already. The produce is abundant — leafy greens, zucchini, onions, berries, stone fruits — and there are vendors from which you can buy local meat. It’s a great way to spend a day with visiting family and friends: an outing to the market, an afternoon of cooking/prep, then eating. Last weekend I had the pleasure of eating a crisp made with local berries, and it was delicious. There really is a noticeable difference between industrially farmed berries and local ones, and the higher price for local ones is worth it. 

The Land Connection’s Downtown Champaign Farmers’ Market is Tuesdays, 3:30 to 6:30 p.m, in the parking lot at Neil and Main/Washington.

Urbana’s Market at the Square is Saturdays from 7 a.m. to noon at Illinois and Vine.

Lemon garlic greens | Bread Company on Goodwin

Bread Company’s lemon garlic greens ($5/$7.50) gets a lot of positive press from me, and for good reason: It’s one of the best salads I’ve ever had in my life, and it’s perfectly refreshing this time of year. I’ve mentioned before that it’s truly at its best when atop a roasted garlic pizza, but if that’s too much for you, it’s perfect on its own. There is no wrong way to eat this perfect combination of greens, croutons, and tomatoes. If it isn’t too absurdly hot and humid, you could even enjoy the salad at one of Bread Co.’s outdoor tables, with some sangria on the side.

Bread Company on Goodwin is located at 706 S Goodwin Ave, Urbana, and open for dinner Sunday through Thursday, 5 to 10 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 5 to 11 p.m.

Sandwiches or tacos | Smoked Food Truck

Adam Shallenberger, former chef at V. Picasso, has a new project — actually, two new projects — Fired! and Smoked, two new food trucks. Smoked debuted in C-U last week, and Fired! will open soon.

Smoked featured barbecue and tacos — two food items that are much beloved in this community. The menu includes sandwiches (smoked meats, and a veggie option), as well as tacos and nachos. Chips and salsa/guac/queso, tots, beans, brisket fried rice are on the sides menu. Prices range from $2 (sides) to $8 (sammies). There are a couple of veggie options, as well as a few gluten free options. The truck doesn’t appear to have a set schedule as of yet, so you’ll have to check Facebook for times and locations.

For more info about Smoked, check out its Facebook page. Info about its sister truck, Fired!, is also available on Facebook.

Photo from Facebook. 

Ice cream | Red Bicycle Ice Cream

C-U finally has a locally owned, locally made ice cream shop! This is very exciting news. Red Bicycle Ice Cream officially opened up last week, and offers ten-plus different ice cream flavors, as well as several sorbet flavors. Columbia Street coffee is also available, and you can get milkshakes and smoothies. When I stopped in during the July 4th soft opening, the smell of freshly made waffle cones was intoxicating. I’m really excited for the potential of this place, and hope it does well in spite of its location at The Pines (Windsor and Philo, Urbana).

Red Bicycle Ice Cream is located at 2740 Philo Road, Urbana, and open noon to 9 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. More info is available on its website or on Facebook. 

Photos by Jessica Hammie, except where noted. 

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