Students who decided to stay near the UIUC campus for the summer are looking for the best places to eat and drink outside. Since Champaign/Urbana has a college town located smack dab in the middle, it is full of awesome restaurants for citizens and students alike to enjoy with some sweet outdoor and patio experiences. Here’s a list of some of our favorite places with outdoor dining so you can enjoy your food and the weather this summer.
A pub-type restaurant but with an American twist, Seven Saints is an excellent bar and grill type place specializing in its sliders and classic apps. If you’re feeling pretzels and cheese, cheese curds, and anything fried, you will find yourself right at home among the seven saints menu. Perfect for ordering for a big group of friends to all split, they have something for everyone on this menu. They have an incredible patio for you to enjoy with plenty of room for bigger parties and space to have a few drinks. If you’ve never been to Seven Saints, ask some upper-level students about it, and everyone will tell you the same thing: it’s the best restaurant around. Visit their menu here.
If you’re more in the cake/tea/crumpets kind of mood or vibe, this place will be your best bet. The Courier Cafe is “famous for its delicious breakfasts and pleasant antique-like setting. The café is open every day for a choice of breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and is one of the few quality restaurants open in late evening hours.” Especially for a hungover Saturday or Sunday morning, the Courier Cafe will become your new best friend delivering hearty breakfasts and pastries as well as the coffee we all know you will desperately need. And their sister restaurant Silvercreek is open nearby in the evenings for that elegant date night dinner you’ve been craving. With immaculate vibes, this place is a must-try. They also have an expansive patio that can host large parties and private events. These are a can’t miss!
Cran Alley’s website says it best – they were “founded in 2003 and have been a local cornerstone in Downtown Urbana going on two decades. Serving an eclectic GastroPub style menu and the area’s largest craft beer selection, Crane Alley creates a unique and comfortable atmosphere enjoyed by all walks of life.”
Everything about Crane Alley, they do right. Their food is above the average level for pub food, providing a unique and fun dining experience for all who visit. They opened up their outdoor patio in the spring, and it has been flourishing ever since – come visit this place for a cold beer and a fantastic burger.
You don’t often find food and a dining experience like Miga in rural Illinois. Serving authentic Japanese food and sushi, Miga is a great date night spot when you’re craving the adventure of trying something new or coming back to your old classics and favorites. They have an awesome outdoor dining area where you can enjoy the weather and your sushi.
They have a massive wine and cocktail list and are certain not to disappoint. One of the best reviews on Yelp boasts – “Miga is phenomenal. Great restaurant with a genuine warm welcome, palatable food, and love this…they are pet-friendly! Find my cute toy poodle in their photos :)” Hear that? Bring your furry friends to come chill on the patio with you!
Like most college kids, sometimes all you want to eat when going out is a good slice of pizza. Well, Pizzeria Antica offers that and more. Known for their great slice, they can be a perfect date night location with tons of other Italian menu items. And they cook their pizzas in a stone pizza oven for that crispy crust effect.
Their website talks about why they are the best at what they do: “We start with the world’s best pizza flour, […] We add only the freshest, non processed ingredients found locally or imported […] including San Marzano tomatoes grown on the foothills of Mt. Vesuvius. The cheeses we use are Bufala from Campania and Fior di Latte from Grände Cheese in Wisconsin, and our Parmesan is Reggiano. Our artisan meats are the best available in the U.S. We Cook the pizza in the world’s finest wood-fired, hand-built Stefano-Ferrara ovens, imported from Naples. Combine our pizza with Italian wines, beer, Antipasti, salads, gelato, and espresso, and you have a complete Neapolitan experience.” And their patio and outdoor dining are booking fast – give them a call for a reservation today!
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