If there’s anything we like more than food, well, we can’t think of it. Which basically means that Champaign County Area Restaurant Week is one of our best excuses to eat to our heart’s content at some of the best restaurants the Champaign-Urbana area has to offer.
There are dozens of establishments participating in Restaurant Week, which is Jan. 25-Feb. 2. You can find the list on Visit Champaign County’s website, and more than 30 restaurants have posted their Restaurant Week special menus. They are too numerous to mention here, but we’re happy to provide some of our favorite highlights.
The Wheelhouse: If you live in C-U, you might not be aware of this St. Joseph gem. It features farm-to-table fare of the highest quality. Their Restaurant Week dinner menu ($29) includes a small course, a main course and dessert. Our pick: Winter Vegetable Stew, carrot, rutabaga, beet, parsnip, potato, mushroom and cabernet.
Monarch Brewing Company: This Monticello business is located in a century-old building that formerly served as a church. Given its name, you might expect it to be known for its 28 beers on tap, including its own Monarch beer that’s brewed on site. But what has us excited about their Restaurant Week offerings is dessert: a cinnamon bread pudding with vanilla brandy sauce, vanilla bean ice cream and caramel sauce. Gas up the car, we’re headed to Monticello!
Ott’s Drive In: Ott’s is a Rantoul classic. It is diner fare, yes, but it is quality food in an atmosphere that will remind you of decades gone by. Ott’s doesn’t list a special menu for Restaurant Week but, hey, any reason to head to Ott’s is a worthy one.
Crane Alley: This Urbana staple might be well-known as a bar, but it also could be said that it is highly underrated for its food, which is as good as you’ll find in our foodie town. Their RW specials include something that really caught our eye: mushroom ravioli with crimini mushroom, marsala cream, romana and garlic toast. Oh, yeah.
Neil St. Blues: It is C-U’s newest addition to the food scene, having opened in November. It offers “southern-style cuisine” at the location that formerly housed 301 Mongolian and Dublin O’Neil’s in downtown Champaign. The options for Restaurant Week include a smoked ribs dinner, southern fried catfish filet dinner or a triple-blend burger.
Those are some of the options that nabbed our attention. What has you excited?