With no chain restaurants allowed in the uptown shopping district, Mount Vernon boasts several locally-owned and operated options for off-campus dining. From pizza and baked goods to organic fare and five-star dining, Mount Vernon’s selection of restaurants and cafés has something to offer every palate. The Lincoln Café is by far the most renowned, with rave reviews in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and O Magazine. They offer two to three lunch and dinner specials in addition to a standard menu of tasty salads and sandwiches, and they source ingredients locally and organically whenever possible. The price tag for the specials isn’t within the average college student’s budget, but it’s perfect for a special treat, and their regular menu is very affordable.
Just across Highway 30, on the south edge of town, there are a handful of chain eateries, including a Subway, Hardee’s, and Dairy Queen. There, you can also find La Pasadita, a newly-opened restaurant that features homemade, authentic Mexican cuisine and tasty margaritas. Lisbon, just to the east of Mount Vernon on Highway 30, offers its own selection of local dining, including Gwen’s Family Restaurant, which boasts a great Sunday buffet with homemade fried chicken. Late-night dining is pretty much non-existent in town, even Hardee’s closes at midnight on the weekends, 11 p.m. on weekdays. So if you get the 2 a.m. munchies, Cedar Rapids is your best bet to find a Perkin’s or IHOP.