Smile Politely

Pygmalion Pyg-Out: Your guide to sourcing sustenance this weekend

Pygmalion Music Festival starts today and continues Friday night and Saturday. Thursday and Friday Urbana takes center stage, while Saturday is all about downtown Champaign. I’ve put together a short list of places you should consider for food fuel, all of which are in walking distance of venues. There are certaintly other great places to grab food, too; this is just a very short list of suggestions. If you’re looking for something on the nicer end of the spectrum, check out our reviews tab; the guide below is for the concertgoer looking for something relatively fast and affordable, but delicious. For post-show drinks, follow the crowd, or look here. For more suggestions, pick up a copy of Bonfire. 


Manolo’s Pizza & Empanadas, 1115 West Oregon Street, Urbana

This takeout stop is perfect for grabbing a slice and an empanada or two. It’s not a fancy sit-down – there are only a few barstools inside, and a handful of tables outside – so I suggest taking advantage of the weather and having a little picnic outside of KPAC. Pizzas range from $12.99 to $21.99; empanadas start at $2.29 each. You can also get pizza by the slice. Call ahead to place your order, or just stop in and take it to go. They are open Thursday, Friday, and Saturday until 2:30 a.m. Manolo’s is also perfect for your post-show cravings.

Basil Thai, 701 South Gregory, Urbana

If you’re looking for a place that has seating inside, but no real waiter service, this is it. You enter, order your food at the counter, and someone brings it to you when its ready. There isn’t anything fancy about this place, but the food is pretty good. The prices are reasonable, especially for a Thai restaurant. Entrées range from about $8 to $11, and the portions are large. You’re not going to leave there hungry, that’s for sure. If you’re sensitive to spicy food, be sure to order your food accordingly; it’s been my experience that the cook has a heavy hand with the heat. They’re open until 9:30 p.m., so it might be best to stop by before your show.

Timpone’s, 710 South Goodwin Ave, Urbana

If you’re looking for something a little nicer, this is your place. Timpone’s is a traditional Italian restaurant with waitstaff in uniform and linens on the table. The prices are higher, the portions are smaller. Their changing menu offers up salads, gourmet pizzas, pastas, and meats. They’re open for dinner from 5 to 11 p.m. The seating area is small, so reservations are suggested (you can call them at 217-344-7619). This is a classy joint, and is perfect for impressing your date.

The Bread Company on Goodwin, 706 South Goodwin, Urbana

The Bread Co. has recently under gone some changes, so it’s with a bit of hesitation that I recommend you pay it a visit. They’re open for dinner from 4:30 to 10 p.m.; it’s a nice sit-down place, but not nearly as stuffy and traditional as Timpone’s. Service at Bread Co. is notoriously terrible, but the food is generally good. Prices are a little high; expect to pay $12 and up a person.

Caffe Paradiso, 801 South Lincoln, Urbana

If you’re looking for the cool, nonchalance of a coffee shop, this is it. They serve salads, soups, and sandwiches, as well as pastry and beverages. Food is served until 10 p.m., but I imagine you can get some sweet treats later so long as there are some left. Prices are not all that cheap, so figure that a meal is somewhere around $10. Food is pretty damn good, and the pastry comes from Mirabelle. Yum.


Black Dog, 201 North Broadway, Urbana

Black Dog is awesome BBQ. We’ve said it here plenty of times. Good luck getting a seat, though. Your best bet here is to place your order and take it to go. There are plenty of places to sit and eat your food; benches are located on Main Street, and there are some benches and seating available in Lincoln Square Mall. Grab some extra napkins—BBQ can get messy. 

Pizza M, 208 West Main Street, Urbana

The new Pizza M location is finally open! This is the place for some delicious pizza. Starting today, Pizza M is open 5 to 11 p.m. everyday except Tuesdays for take-out only. Dine-in service will be available in the next couple of weeks.


Sitara Indian, 114 South Race Street, Urbana

This is a new member of the downtown Urbana restaurant scene, and so far, it’s been well received. I had lunch there earlier this week and was pleasantly surprised. Don’t let the windowless night-club door scare you away. Walk on in and grab a table, or a seat at the bar.

Common Ground Food Co-op, Lincoln Square Mall, Urbana

Looking for vegetables? Something vegan, perhaps? This is your joint. In addition to a lovely salad bar and premade foodstuffs in the fridge case, they make sandwiches, pizza, and espresso. Made to order sandwiches are available 10:30 a.m. to 7 p.m., and pizza slices are available 4 to 7 p.m. Grab your salad and kombucha, and find your zen moment before the show starts.



Jupiter’s, 39 Main Street, Champaign

If you want a relaxed atmosphere where you can get a drink and share a pizza amongst friends, this is it. I’m sure it will be plenty crowded this weekend, so plan accordingly. They also have pool tables, so this could be a chill spot for pre- or post-show shenanigans. I recommend the barbeque chicken pizza with onions and jalapenos. If that’s not your bag, look for a pizza with flavorful toppings, otherwise you’ll be eating bland pizza on a cracker. If it’s too crowded inside, get your pizza to go and head to Quality Beer for drinks. Because they don’t serve food, they’re kind enough to allow you to bring in your own.

Destihl, 301 North Neil Street, Champaign

If you’re looking for a casual place that has attentive waiters and decent food, this is your place. They’re open for br(l)unch on Saturday – vanilla-cinnamon baked French toast, hello?! – and honestly, I think they have a better lunch than dinner. Because they are a brewery, they only offer Destihl beer, but they do have wine, and a full bar for cocktails. They also have gluten-free options, which many other places can’t boast. Final plus? They take reservations, and you can make them through Just be sure to select the Champaign location (not Bloomington-Normal).

Esquire Lounge, 106 North Walnut, Champaign

Esquire should be your choice for a no-frills, casual, drinking and dining experience. Their food menu includes sandwiches ($4 – $7.50), burgers ($4.50), a lunchtime salad bar, and specialty pizzas ($7.50).  Pitchers of PBR are only $5. Yes, it’s that kind of place. The outdoor seating is awesome, so take advantage of it.

Farren’s Pub & Eatery, 308 North Randolph, Champaign

With arguably the best burgers in town, Farren’s has positioned itself as the casual yet cool place to grab pub food and a glass of wine. They also have salads, sandwiches, tacos, and daily specials. They’re open noon to 10 p.m. on Saturday.


Most photos courtesy of the author. Others are from Facebook. 

Related Articles