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Still all it’s cracked up to be: Cracked Truck reviewed

As a Champaign-Urbana resident of 15 years (not bad, considering I’m 15 years old), I can tell you that there are a couple places in town that serve up some tasty scrambled eggs or tater tots. There are also a few good hot dog places in town, but I’ve found none that can do all three with the deliciousness of the Cracked Truck. Although a little pricey, the Cracked Truck is probably the best place to get a bite of breakfast or lunch on the University of Illinois campus.

The Cracked Truck specializes in breakfast, but I never seem to have the opportunity to visit the truck early in the morning. I’m approaching it from a lunch perspective, but Cracked would be more than happy to serve you up some early morning grub, as it is usually up and running by 8:30 a.m.

Started by Daniel Krause, Jeremy Mandell, and Sean Baird, the Cracked Truck has been serving hot food to Urbana’s Market at the Square shoppers and the Campustown community since August 2012. During the week, it’s usually parked on the corner of Springfield and Mathews, and is found at the market most Saturday mornings. Serving the same menu all day, the Cracked Truck is a great place to satisfy your breakfast cravings, day or night.

I recently visited the truck again. When I rolled I was immediately greeted with a friendly smile and some Mumford and Sons in the background. I ordered one of my favorites, the Morning Bender with some sweet potato tots and a “butterscotch” root beer. However, this medium sized meal cost a full ten dollars, which is somewhat pricy if you’re on a budget like me. Two of those dollars went to pay for the root beer, which I was told came from the Homer Soda Company. It was pretty tasty, but it didn’t taste like anything special. I ended up finishing it well before I was done with the rest of the meal. That said, I know the feeling of really wanting a drink with your meal, so I would recommend one of Cracked’s sweet teas for half the cost.

Seven minutes after placing my order, I had my sandwich and tots. One hurdle eaters must jump over before digging is is finding a place sit, as all food is served to go. I’m a University of Illinois Laboratory High School student, so I headed back to school.  When I finally got to it, my Morning Bender was spectacular. The combination of fried egg, hash browns, cream cheese, and cheddar cheese on a Pekara bun should have bombarded my senses with its richness. But instead something, maybe the quality of ingredients, or the care put into the sandwich, made it simply delicious. The bun was soft, the egg yolk a little runny, and the hash browns a great addition to the already full sandwich. It was undoubtedly worth the full five dollars I spent, and the only thing that could make it better would be adding bacon or salami, which the Cracked folks are happy to do for an extra dollar.

Next came the sweet potato tater tots, which put me back three dollars, a somewhat steep price. They were seriously deep-fried and a little too sweet, but I didn’t really mind because they went really well with the rich Morning Bender. There were also a good number of tots, which was much appreciated when some of my friends asked to bum a few. If I had wanted something more savory, I could have gone with the bacon cheddar or truffle parmesan tots.

Cracked also serves up some awesome small buttermilk pancakes, and the Underdog, my second favorite item. It’s a quarter pound beef hot dog with fried egg and onions on top served with ketchup and mustard. They offer their version of a Sloppy Joe: the Sloppy Jose topped with bacon onion jam. Now I know what you’re thinking, what if I’m a vegetarian? Cracked’s got you covered there with the Vegasm, complete with spinach, tomatoes, hash browns, fried egg, pepper jack cheese, with either garlic basil or spicy chipotle pesto.
Bottom line is that if you’ve got a few bucks, a few minutes, and a desire for some good food, the Cracked Truck is undoubtedly worth a visit.

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