If we’re being honest, we’re here to tell you that Restaurant Week in Champaign County is pretty amazing. Frankly, we’re wishing it was MUCH LONGER THAN ONE WEEK. (Hint, hint).
For those who aren’t familiar, Champaign County Area Restaurant Week is back for its fourth year. It’s actually over a nine-day period, starting on Friday, Jan. 24 and going through Saturday, Feb. 1.
Since we have to pack in SO MUCH EATING in such a short order of time, we figured we might do our research in advance and plan out how we want to attack.
A few tips:
1. One of the highlights of restaurant week is the special deals and menu items at each participating establishment. If it’s not readily apparent, be sure to ask your server about the Restaurant Week menu. (All menu offerings are located on the Restaurant Week website).
2. Some Restaurant Week participants are offering special menus at lunch and dinner; many are dinner only. A few are offering breakfast (Courier Cafe, Industrial Donut).
3. Love to Instagram your food? Or maybe Twitter is more your cup of tea. Regardless, share your pictures and experience with the hashtag #CCRestaurantWeek for a chance to win a $100 gift card to a participating restaurant of your choice.
4. A total of 32 restaurants are participating this year, across seven cities/villages. What’s new: Stango Cuisine in Urbana; Industrial Donut in Savoy; and Hank’s Table in downtown Champaign are all new to Restaurant Week.
5. There are TONS of vegetarian options, and not just at the vegetarian restaurants.
6. Restaurant Week menus are geared towards adults, but all restaurants will be serving from regular menus as well, which means other options for the kids are available.
Champaign County Restaurant Week Picks
We’ve highlighted nine options for restaurant week, one for every day of the event. There are so many delicious items to choose from, but these were ones that stood out to us for a variety of reasons – value; ingenuity; or both! (DISCLAIMER: Of course our taste buds may be limited. Don’t forget to look at the broader list of Restaurant Week options for more ideas).
Everyday Kitchen, Champaign: We can’t wait to get this three-course meal from the elegant Everyday Kitchen. Pick a starter, an entree and a dessert for $29. Our order: Starter: Crab & Artichoke Dip—Dungeness and snow crab, artichokes, mozzarella, Parmesan with seeded lavash crackers; Entree: Lightly breaded fillet of sole from George’s Cove, frisee, lemon-caper butter sauce; and Dessert: Banana Cream Pie.
Hank’s Table, downtown Champaign: Hank’s Table is offering a slider combo with a side for $13.99 at both lunch and dinner. The first course is pretzel bites; yum. Then they are offering a trio of sliders – pork, beef and lamb: the one that looks the most unique and we can’t wait to try is the lamb slider with mint jam and goat cheese.
The Courier: RUN, DO NOT WALK, to the Courier in Urbana for this amazing deal – and great food. The Courier is offering a $35 dinner for two, which includes your choice of appetizers (trip to the world famous salad bar or soup); entrees with a choice of side (10oz ribeye steak; broiled pork tenderloin; Southern fried chicken; salmon fillet; trout courier); choice of a soft drink, coffee or tea for both; and choice of two desserts (hand dipped milkshake, misprint sundae, bakery fresh pie, cookie, or brownie). WOW!
Nando Milano, downtown Champaign: We can’t pass up this yumminess – some of Nando Milano’s best dishes, appetizers and desserts – three courses – for $39. Bonus here is that there are multiple options for each course, so hopefully everyone will find something that matches their palette. Our picks to click: the risotto balls appetizer; Merluzzo alla Livornese—Atlantic cod, onions, capers, olives, citrus tomato sauce, soft polenta for an entree; and the Fondente al Pistacchio dessert. Voila!
Houlihan’s, Champaign: Three words: Chicken Tortilla Soup. If you haven’t ever had the chicken tortilla soup at Houlihan’s, it’s a must have this restaurant week (and the good news is that’s on the everyday menu). Recommendation: head there for a $9 lunch and get the soup and the fish tacos; for dinner, we like the small seared George Banks scallops and risotto dish, complete with a first course and dessert for $19.
Stango Cuisine, Urbana: If you haven’t tried Stango Cuisine – uniquely Zambian food located in Lincoln Square – Restaurant Week is the PERFECT opportunity. My mouth is watering at the options here for dinner; choose from a $19 menu or $29 menu. Our pick: the $19 menu with appetizer choice of chicken samosa; vegetable samosa, or plantains; the entree is a pick of beef stew; chicken curry, fish fillet, with two different side options (or a vegetarian platter); and finished off with beignets.
Sun Singer, Champaign: Not up for a huge meal? Grab your partner or a friend and head to Sun Singer for drinks – and grab the $19 appetizer platter. Pick three of these Sun Singer favorites: brussels sprouts; calamari; truffle fries; hummus; pretzel sticks; pot roast nachos; and garlic & chicken quesadilla. If dinner is more to your liking, Sun Singer has five entree choices for a three-course meal deal.
Hamilton Walker’s: Probably one of the best values of any restaurant week offering – a three-course dinner for $19 at Hamilton Walker’s is nothing to sneeze at. Choose between soup or salad, two entree choices (grilled beef tips or salmon fillet) with a choice of side; finished off with a chocolate tarte for dessert. Head downtown and don’t forget to make a reservation.
JT Walker’s, Mahomet: Our favorite title of any dish on a restaurant week menu is the Raspberry Mini Chimichangas at JT Walker’s. And yes, we skipped right to dessert here, although what steals the show at this $29 three-course dinner is the options for entrees – five to choose from, ranging from steak to salmon filet a shrimp pasta to Indian curry chicken bowl. Worth a trip! (And don’t forget to try the beer, if that’s your jam.)
What are you going to eat during Restaurant Week?