Guide for New & Prospective Students
On behalf of all the English graduate students at the University of Illinois, the EGSA would like to welcome you to our department.Our duties include planning departmental social events, presenting graduate student ideas and concerns to the department administration, and generally keeping communication flowing through the department.
One of our biggest jobs is providing grad students with opportunities to get to know other members of the department. The EGSA hosts a happy hour during orientation, and a pot-luck soon after orientation week. Both events will allow you to acquaint yourself with your fellow grad students and faculty. Happy hours and grad student-hosted parties take place throughout the year.
In addition to social events, the EGSA offers forums covering important academic and professional concerns such as the Special Field exam, the job market, publishing, conferencing, etc. We also provide opportunities for dissertating graduate students to present their work to us. One of the EGSA's main functions is to provide information and resources that will help you get through the program as painlessly as possible. If you have questions, the EGSA is a good place to start.
To that end, we've compiled a handy introduction to life at the University and in "Chambana." Want to know which rental companies to avoid? How the heck you get a key to the copy room? Where on earth you can get decent coffee? We've got you covered. Click on a link below to get started.
C-U has at least one of practically every national chain restaurant, but why settle? Below is the result of a conversation with some real connoisseurs of local cuisine--a list of recommendations for the top spots in town to treat your tastebuds. The only criterion was "good food." Price range included where known. If anyone has any comments on any of these or other suggestions we missed, we'd love to hear them. It's not like any of us have more pressing things to think about right now, right? Papers? Reading ? Grading? What? :)
Check out EatCU for deals, menus, and online ordering and delivery options.
Options near the English Building
Campustown (Green, John and Daniel from Wright to 1 st ) includes standbys such as Subway, Jimmy John's (sandwiches – they also deliver!), Silver Mine Subs, Za's (personal pizzas, sandwiches, salads, pasta), Zorba's (gyros, etc – and everything is half price here on Tuesdays) Pita Pit, Potbelly's, La Bamba (“Burritos as big as your head”), Qdoba and The Noodle Co., as well as Korean, Chinese, Indian, and Thai options.
The Illini Union has a food court in the basement, with choices ranging from McDonalds, Blimpy's, and Sabbaro to fast Mexican, Chinese, and sushi options. Upstairs in the Union is another Espresso Royale, a Delights (frozen yogurt, ice cream, bagels, soup and sandwiches) and a convenience store with snacks, magazines, etc.
On the other side of campus (the Urbana side) there are a few other good options. The Red Herring (located in the basement of 1209 W. Oregon St. ) has great vegetarian food, much of it even tasty enough for non-vegetarians. Derald's is a lunch truck that is parked on Matthews Street near the Medical Sciences Building every day (straight across the quad from the English Building) and serves a wide selection of hot sandwiches and has a lively proprietor (plus, it's cheap!). The Bread Company has coffee, great lunch sandwiches and fondue at dinner.
Breakfast and Brunch
- MaryAnne's (downtown Champaign and Neil and Kirby, C)-awesome breakfasts, good prices; big place but sometimes a wait on the weekends. Check out the skillets and the pancakes.
- Original Pancake House ( 1909 West Springfield Ave , C)-every kind of pancake you can imagine. Seriously.
- Radio Maria (119 N. Walnut, C)-great brunch, but only on Sundays
- Courier Café (111 North Race, U)-an English department favorite
General Yummy Places
- Radio Maria (119 N. Walnut, C.): fusion fare to the nth power; they claim Carribbean, Indian, and Latin cuisines, among others, as influences.
- Milo's (300 S. Broadway, U.): eclectic menu, run by a chef from DC, reservations definitely encouraged; entrance in Lincoln Square might be hard to find; mushroom ravioli is recommended, as are fish, stews, almost anything; getting up there on the price scale, but lunch is much more affordable and just as tasty.
- Silvercreek (402 N. Race, U.): can't go wrong for a "nice" place with great food and atmosphere ($15-$30/person?). Amazing homemade desserts.
- Courier Cafe (111 N. Race, U.): also top-notch homestyle and more in a grad-school budget-great veggie burgers.
- Kennedy's ( 2560 S. Stone Creek Blvd. , U.): food and atmosphere are great, service ok. $20+ /person. Best steak in town?
- Bacaro (113 N. Walnut, C) -pricey wine bar and restaurant; some say it's the best restaurant in town; others say it's overpriced.
- The Bread Company (706 S. Goodwin, U)-really good sandwiches, salads and soups at lunch. At night, they serve fondue, pizzas and hot sandwiches.
- Café Luna (313 E. Green, C)-tapas-style at night, fancy sandwiches on homemade bread during lunch. They serve a great Nicoise salad.
- Aroma and Café Kopi -they're both coffee shops, but they also serve yummy sandwiches, salads and wraps.
- Farron's (308 N. Randolph, C) and Guido's (2 Main , C)--nicer bar food with great burgers (beef and black bean).
- Mirabelle (124 W. Main , U)-Crusty artisan breads, cakes and cookies. They have erratic hours so get there early.
- Jackson 's (116 N.1 st ) –ribs, ribs and more ribs.
- Basmati (302 S. First, C.): can be hit or miss, but quite good on the "on" days.
- Bombay Indian Grill (403 E. Green, C.)-cheaper than Basmati; great food.
- Biaggis (2235 S. Neil, C.): reservations might be necessary; kind of upscale in a sterile kind of way but the food is good.
- Great Impasta (114 W. Church, C.): servings are smaller but perhaps more stylish than at standbys like Minnecis or Dom's. Good deserts. Caution: attitude!
- Minneci's (401 S. First, C.): your standard, red-checked tablecloth Italian (atmosphere is not the strong point, but it's not a negative either); great pasta arrabiata (angry pasta -- it's not *that* angry) and homemade mozzarella sticks.
- Papa Del 's (206 E. Green, C.) really, really good stuffed pizza, but it takes forever.
- Timpones (710 S. Goodwin, U.): upper med. price, good creme brulee, good appetizers.
- Dos Reales (1407 N. Prospect, C, University, U.): considered by many to be the best Mexican in town.
- El Matador (2312 W. Springfield , C.): good, cheap Mexican.
- Margarita's ( 1717 Philo Rd. , U.; 2821 W. Kirby, C.): food is good, atmosphere is loud and lively; probably a good place for groups; ($7-$10).
- El Toro/El Torero (Various locations) More quality Mexican.
- Nitaya (134 West Church, C)
- Siam Terrace (212 W. Main, U): the most authentic Thai flavor in town.
- Hinode (132 West Church, C)
- Miko (407 W. University, U.)
- Kamakura (715 S. Neil, C.): takes second place to Miko
- A-ri-rang (607 S. Wright, C)
- Woori Jib (710 S. 6 th , C)
- The Red Herring (1209 W. Oregon , U.)
- Y Thai eatery (in the university YMCA on Wright St. across from the English building)
- Zorba's (627 E. Green in C.): good veggie pitas.
- Basmati and the Fiesta Cafe are also said to be good for veggie food.
- Sea Boat (1114 North Market, C)-Fish sandwiches and fried chicken and they deliver!
- Ike's (Monticello-on-the-square, 762-9898)-it's a 20-minute drive away but it has great atmosphere and fresh catfish. Similar to a seaside shack, but in the middle of Illinois .
Pizza (some places around that aren't the usual Pizza Hut, Papa John's, Domino's, etc.)
- Jupiter's (39 E. Main , C)-thin crust pizza with fancy toppings, beer, and pool.
- Monical's (various locations)-an Illinois chain with thin crust pizza.
- Village Inn Pizza (1801 W. Springfield , C).
- Prime Time (355-9100 and 356-9100)- tasty delivery or pick-up.
- Papa Del 's (206 E. Green, C)-stuffed crust is the best but it takes a long time.
- Barfly (120 N. Neil, C)
- Boltini's (211 N. Neil, C)
- Brass Rail ( 15 E. University Ave )
- Cowboy Monkey (6 Taylor, C)
- Crane Alley (115 W. Main , U)
- Embassy (114 S. Race, U)
- Esquire (106 N. Walnut, C)
- Guido's (2 Main , C)
- Iron Post (120 S. Race)
- Mike and Molly's (105 N. Market, C)
- Murphy's (604 E. Green, C)—Since this bar is in Campustown, this is a good place to go for Happy Hour, not at midnight.
- The Office (214 W. Main , U)