Smile Politely

Pastrami on point at La Royale

Urbana is home to many delicious restaurants, and one great spot for lunch is Broadway Food Hall. Home to several different restaurant concepts under one roof, BFH has something for everyone. Past El Paraiso and Best of Both Worlds, I found La Royale which serves smashburgers, hot sandwiches, deli sandwiches, wings, and loaded fries. 

Inside Broadway Food Hall, La Royale has a counter service with two masked staff in front of an open kitchen and a black sign with menu items and prices. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

I ordered online and set my pick up time. La Royale has a warming unit to keep orders hot, and the staff were just putting my order into it when I walked up to the counter to pick up my lunch. The friendly staff handed me my order, and I was on my way in less than a minute after arriving.

An overhead view of the author's order. On the top left: a small cup of potato salad beside loaded fries in a cardboard box. Below there is a triangularly cut pastrami sandwich with fries on a square white plate, then a side order of onion rings on a square white plate, and a burger with cheese and fries on a square white plate. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

I wanted to try a little of everything off the menu, so I ordered a pastrami sandwich, onion rings, a smashburger with cheese, potato salad, and loaded fries.

A pastrami sandwich is sliced in half and wrapped in parchment paper beside crinkle cut fries in a brown cardboard takeout box. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The real star of my order was this West Coast pastrami sandwich ($8.50). Thinly shaved pastrami with Swiss cheese, Russian dressing, and coleslaw made up this sourdough sammie. The bread was just right: crispy on the edges and soft in the middle. The cheese was melted and became one with the bread, not just flopping around on top of the meat. The creamy dressing and the sweet coleslaw gave this sandwich a luscious flavor. The pastrami was fantastic, and there was plenty of it, so each bite to get a mouthful.

La Royale has several options for pastrami sandwiches. The one I had was the West Coast version, but on the menu, you can also find the East Coast version (pastrami with Swiss and spicy dijon mustard on marbled rye bread), Midwest version (pastrami with Swiss, lettuce, tomato, red onion, mustard, and mayo on country white bread), and a Reuben (corned beef with Swiss, Russian dressing, and sauerkraut on marbled rye).

A close up photo of crinkle cut fries from La Royale in Urbana, Illinois. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

I added fries to my West Coast pastrami sandwich for $2.25, and honestly, I regret it. The fries did not carry out well, and they were simply salted, giving a pretty bland flavor. The crinkle cut fries weren’t that crispy after being steamed in the cardboard box. Perhaps if eaten on site at BFH, they would be better. If you’re doing takeout, skip the fries.

A burger with two beef patties and two slices of melted cheese and shredded lettuce sit beside crinkle cut fries on a white plate. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

I’ve had La Royale’s double cheesebuger smashburger ($5.50) before, so I ordered it again, hoping it would be as tasty as the last time I had it — and praise be, it was just as tasty. The double cheeseburger came with two thin beef patties with two slices of melted cheese and customizable toppings. If you don’t like tomatoes, leave them off. If you like onions, add them on. The online ordering system is on point for these burgers; I was able to order my burger exactly how I like it: with pickles, lettuce, onion, and mayo. The char on the buns had the most amazing crunch, and the double patties gave a similar charred flavor that I love in a burger. This smashburger was solid with classic flavors of beef and cheese on a bun but elevated with a buttery bun, extra cheese, and crispy beef patties. For only $5.50, it’s an impressive cheesy burger. I added fries to this as well, and while they were soft and cool when I opened the box, I threw them on a pan in the oven at 350 for about five minutes, and they crisped right up — which salvaged them albeit inconvenient.

An order of pastrami loaded fries from La Royale has orange Russian dressing atop white sauerkraut, purply pastrami chunks, and crinkle cut fries. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

These loaded fries were not cheese fries. No, friends, these were loaded pastrami fries ($7.50). A bed of crinkle cut fries was loaded up with a heap of chopped pastrami with sauerkraut and little strings of melted cheese, topped with a flood of Russian dressing. I didn’t know what to think because when I ordered loaded fries, I was thinking of cheese fries with some onion and meat on top, but this was next level amazing. The pastrami chunks were mind-blowingly good. I liked the shaved pastrami, but chunked pastrami? Unbelievably delicious. Buried under the dressing, the thick, diced pastrami had a slightly smoky and porky-sweet flavor and a soft bacon chew. It wasn’t like a bacon crumble, sparingly added; no, La Royale provided an equal portion of pastrami to fries. It was a ton of meat. The sauerkraut gave a tangy sour flavor to the dish. The fries weren’t crispy, but they had a hashbrown texture which was a fine vessel for all of the toppings.

On a white plate, there are several golden brown onion rings. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

I ordered a side of onion rings ($3.75). The rings were thick onion slices with a soft, golden batter with a delicious beer flavor. The batter also tasted a little sweet, like a donut. Of course, they were a little soft from being driven across town, but they tasted yummy even if the texture was off. These I would order again even for takeout because the flavor was so tasty. On site, these rings would be fantastic.

On a white table, there is a small side cup of yellow potato salad. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Lastly, I ordered a side of potato salad ($2). It was a mustardy potato salad with sweet relish flavor and a rich, creamy taste. The potatoes were soft and chunked, perfectly cooked. This potato salad carried out really well as you can imagine. If you like potato salad, I’d consider ordering a few and calling it a meal plan for the week.

Order online for pick up, or enjoy a hot and fresh lunch onsite at one of the many indoor tables at Broadway Food Hall.

La Royale
401 N Broadway Ave
T-Th 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.
F 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. + 5 to 7 p.m.
Sa 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.

Food + Drink Editor

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