Smile Politely

The ILLIAC Spring Festival food guide

The inaugural ILLIAC Spring Festival is this Saturday on Main Street (between Race and Broadway) in downtown Urbana. The music kicks off at noon and goes until midnight. There are plenty of places in the area to grab some grub, and even a few places where you can sit outside and enjoy the sounds. This is not a comprehensive list of each and every place to eat in downtown Urbana, but rather some suggestions that include a variety of flavor profiles and price points. There are vegan and vegetarian options, too!

Cafeteria & Company: Pizza M and Flying Machine Coffee, 208 W Main Street

In short: yes and yes. When you’re in need of some caffeine or a warm or chilled beverage, Flying Machine Coffee has you covered. There are delightful coffee and tea options. Pizza M serves some of the best pizza in town, and if you’re feeling hungry, order the Sugar Bear. I promise you won’t be disappointed. Price range: $2 and up for coffee; pizza slices $4-$5; whole pies $13-$15

Common Ground Food Co-op, Lincoln Square Mall

This is your place for some produce and premade vegan or vegetarian options. There’s a salad bar, and plenty of premade items available in the fridge case, as well as sandwiches, pizza, and espresso. Made to order sandwiches are available 10:30 a.m.–7 p.m., and pizza slices are available 4–7 p.m. There are two seating areas available, too, if you’re in need of some respite. Price range: $5 and up

The Morning Bender, Cracked Truck

Cracked Truck

C-U’s breakfast food truck is quite popular, and for good reason. Their sandwiches are really, really, good. There are meat and veggie options, and several different flavor profiles to please different palates. Since it’s a food truck, you’re going to be consuming these sammies on the go, or at least while sitting on curb. Be sure to grab some extra napkins. And maybe a fork. Price range: $6-$10 per sandwich, sides cheaper

Crane Alley, 115 W Main Street

Crane Alley serves a variety of gourmet pub food; the menu not only includes sandwiches and salads, but also daily specials and entrées like BBQ salmon, jambalaya, and butternut squash ravioli. It’s also a great place if you’re with a group of meat and non-meat eaters. If you’re a beer drinker, you must stop in for a pint, as Crane Alley has about 20 different brews on tap and a wide variety in bottles. The weather forecast doesn’t call for rain, so sit outside if you can. Crane Alley has some of the best outdoor seating in all of C-U. Price range: $8-$20

The Empanadas House Food Truck

Empanadas are perfect concert food; look for the green food truck. These self-contained mini-meals are available in savory and sweet options. I’d grab a few extra napkins, and be careful — the insides are hot! Price range: about $4 per empanada

Mas Amigos Food Truck

Mas Amigos might have the best tortilla chips in town, and the rest of the food is pretty darn good, too. It might be awkward to try and eat smothered enchiladas and beans while standing, so the good folks behind the Mas Amigos Food Truck have brought you hand held food, which is perfectly appropriate for this event. Price range: $5-$10

Pandamonium Doughnuts Food Truck

These doughnuts are great; people in C-U have been waiting in long lines to eat these bad boys. With a variety of flavors available, you’re sure to find a cake or yeast option. What’s more is that there is at least one vegan option, and you might even find a gluten free one, too. If you’re looking for a sweet treat and a little sugar kick, you must get one of these doughnuts. Price range: $1.50-$3 per doughnut

Siam Terrace, 212 W Main Street

All you can eat sushi, $19.99 per person, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturdays only. Sounds like a good enough reason to arrive early. If that’s not your thing, there are plenty of other Thai options available (with a few Japanese items mixed in). The food is the best Thai in the area, and I’m a fan of many items on the menu. You can’t really go wrong; order what you like, how you like it. Price range: $4-$20

Strawberry Fields, 306 W Springfield Avenue

Just a short walk west on Main Street will lead you to a haven of healthy, natural, yummy foods. Although it’s primarily a grocery-ish store, there are premade salads and snacks, as well as a killer bakery full of vegan (and non-vegan) sweets. You can pick up a fresh baked baguette, some house-made hummus or local cheese, some fresh fruit, and have a little Illiac picnic. That sounds awesome, actually. Don’t forget to grab some coconut water to naturally rehydrate. Price range: $2 and up

The Urbana Butcher Shop, 119 W Main Street

The Urbana Butcher Shop sells incredibly high quality, local meat, and serves cooked food. If you’re looking for a tasty burger, or smoked something-or-other sandwich, this is where you need to be. There’s a large table inside, so you can enjoy your meal away from the noisy crowd. The shop sells unique and fancy sodas, so grab one of those lovely bottles, too. Price range: $8-$12

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