Smile Politely

The Beef Stand beefs up campustown options

Like most students from the University of Illinois, I originally hail from the Chicagoland area. While I love C-U, I have to admit that it fails in comparison to Chicago’s world famous food. Whenever I’ve craved the Chicago style classics, I’ve had a two-hour drive before being able to devour them. That was, until a restaurant called The Beef Stand opened its doors on Green Street last fall. They’ve quickly become a campus favorite by serving up Chicago-style classic dishes.

Their menu offers almost every Chicago dish you could possibly want, including the Chicago-style hotdog. For those of you who aren’t from the Chicagoland area, I’ll clue you in to just what that means. A Chicago-style dog is served on a steamed poppy seed bun with relish, diced onion, tomato, short peppers, mustard, a pickle, and celery salt. The most important thing to note is that ketchup is absolutely not on that list of toppings. This Chicago classic comes at quite the bargain price of only $2.75.

The hotdog is far from the only classic Windy City dish that The Beef Stand is serving at a deal. Polish Sausage? You bet. You can get both the polish and the hotdogs Chicago Style, naked, with cheese, or with chili cheese, and all for under $5.

If you aren’t craving a dog or sausage, fear not because they also have many other options available. The Italian Beef Sandwich is another Chicago classic that I think we all find ourselves craving once in a while. You can have your sandwich dipped and served with or without sweet peppers. My personal recommendation is not to order it dipped for delivery; it will understandably be extremely soggy by the time it arrives to your place of residence, and I assume that nobody wants soggy bread. The Beef and Cheddar sandwich is another favorite of mine. It comes on a bun with heaping amounts of beef and cheese. While it’s very messy, it is absolutely delicious when dipped in the tangy barbeque sauce that accompanies it.

While I love all of the items on the Beef Stand’s menu, I think their best deal is actually one of their side dishes: cheese fries. At quite a few spots around campus, cheese fries just mean that they take a Kraft single and melt it over your fries, but at the Beef Stand, they take delicious cheesy fries to an art form. They pour on already melted cheddar cheese and top it with even more shredded cheese. The large size can feed at least three people, and it comes at the low cost of just $3.75. Their other sides range from plain, yet tasty, French fries, and rich potato and pasta salads.

One of the most interesting things that The Beef Stand has to offer is its Grand Stand Challenge. The Grand Stand doubles the meat and the cheese of the restaurant’s “Stand” sandwich that has four pieces of marble rye bread and a pound of corned beef, pastrami, roast beef, topped off with Swiss cheese, pickles, and mustard. The Grand Stand then weighs in at three whole pounds on a quadruple decker sandwich. The restaurant challenges people to finish this in thirty minutes or less. The contestants who succeed have their picture taken for “The Grand Stand” wall in the store, as well as a free t-shirt for their victory.

The next time you find yourself close to campus and craving some classic Chicago-style food, stop in at the Beef Stand for a delectable and affordable meal. And if you’re craving it off campus, be sure to call them up for delivery.

The Beef Stand is located at 611 East Green St. in Champaign. 

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