by Amy Cunningham
I remember going to the Courier Café as a U of I student frequently, enjoying their late night shake discounts and ordering a chocolate peanut butter shake with friends. Since becoming a mom, we’ve visited this Downtown Urbana gem a handful of times for breakfast. It wasn’t until recently, when trying to think outside the box (beyond our regular C-U family favorites) that I decided to give dinner a try. Our experience surpassed all my expectations, and this will quickly rise to the top of the list next time we want to dine out!
Now let’s not lie here…the main driving force behind my visit to the Courier may or may not have been one of those to-die-for chocolate peanut butter shakes (thank you, pregnancy cravings). In fact, I even considered dining somewhere else and then just swinging by to pick up a shake later. But a sandwich and fries didn’t sound like a bad idea, and at the Courier, this comprises most of their adult dining options. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, if you’re looking for a dinner that may resemble a typical lunch. They did have a few steak and fish options as “dinner offerings”, but don’t expect the kind of fine dining variety you’d get down the road at its sister restaurant, Silvercreek. I should mention they do have an impressive salad bar, and there were some soup/salad combos available.
Upon arrival, my 2 ½ year old was immediately drawn to the old-fashioned gumball machine near the counter, where a couple of young girls were gladly popping in quarters and catching the brightly colored balls. Fortunately, we were seated in direct sight of the gumball machine, so every time a child walked up, his attention was peaked. As we walked to our table, Grandma noticed a treasure chest of books for children of all ages. We picked two of them up and brought them to our table for later.
The feel in the restaurant at peak dinner time was very family-friendly. There were several infants there, and I think I saw at least one mom breastfeeding at her table. Our server was very friendly and greeted my son every time he stopped by our table. I was pleased to see a kiddie menu and even happier to see the price tag… hello, $4.50! I ordered the two mini-cheeseburger meal for him, and not only did it come with fries, but also applesauce, milk AND a giant sundae for dessert! I easily could have eaten his meal and been full myself. However, if I would have eaten a sundae, I couldn’t have had my peanut butter chocolate shake!
My little guy wasn’t the only satisfied customer when we walked away from the Courier Café. Each of the adults enjoyed our meals, too, and it was so great to eat somewhere a little off the beaten path (i.e. North Champaign) and know my son would have a quality meal, too!
Amy Cunningham is a Chicago native turned proud C-U resident for over 10 years. She lives in Urbana with her husband and energetic 2-year-old son, whose world is about to get rocked later this year as they welcome a bouncing baby girl to the family.