Campus Dining

Location
Champaign, IL
Undergrads
31,118
Tuition (in-state)
$28,664 ($14,522)
Admission Difficulty
Average
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Reviews

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4 College Freshman

Campus Dining: My public housing offers great quality food but sometimes lacks variety and late night options. This is frustrating for students that live in the public housing because we are unable to spend our meal packages at the public housing dining halls.

5 College Senior

Campus Dining: Great late night food. Cook own food to be better for health.

3 College Freshman

Campus Dining: It's your average dining hall food. A lot of variety but after a while it all seems to taste the same.

3 College Freshman

Campus Dining: the Ike and PAR have the best options in terms of variety and health consciousness

4 College Freshman

Campus Dining: The University has several dining halls and plan meals for the student needs. Although it would be cheaper to prepare your own meals, it saves you time to eat over there. They are a lifesaver when you have been studying all day or finishing a long essay, in particular late night.

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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 6th
    Best Late-Night Dining Options
  • 52nd
    Best Ethnic/Kosher Options
  • 101st
    Best Cafeteria Variety
  • 127th
    Best Vegetarian/Vegan-Friendly Options
  • 198th
    Healthiest Dining Options

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Emily Thiersch
Hometown
Wilmette, Ill.
View all previous student authors

College is often known for two things: parties and bad food. The dining halls at U of I don't do much to break out of that stereotype. Most students agree that instead of working hard to make creative new foods and variety, the University should just stick to learning how to make Rice Krispie treats properly. Cafeteria food is always going to be cafeteria food, though, which means either boring repetition or outlandish creations that make you skip right to the cereal bar.

Keeping the food fresh is also a problem, as students who have eaten slimy lettuce or stale Cheerios can tell you. It is a good idea to come early to take advantage of the fresh food. On the other hand, the hours can also be a problem. Most students don't like eating dinner by 6:30 p.m., especially when they are going to be up until 2 a.m. studying. Consequently, most dorm rooms are stocked with snacks and sodas. Seven specialty restaurants like A La Carte offer better food at more reasonable hours. When you are up late studying or just hanging out, there is nothing better than pizza or onion rings at Illinois Avenue Residence Hall. If it was not for specialty restaurants, the dining at U of I would be bleak. Even with these options, the University must work on its healthy food menu, as most main courses and appetizers are all simmering in grease and fat. Also, the vegetarian fare is limited to pasta and salads in most residence halls, which is less than tempting. All in all, the dining experience at U of I is stereotypically bad.

 

Facts & Statistics

Meal Plan Available?
Yes
Average Meals/Week
20
Average Meal Plan Cost
$5420 per year
Freshman Meal Plan Required?
Yes
Student Favorites
  • Fat Don’s
  • A La Carte
  • Sbarro
24-Hour Dining
None, but Merry-Ann’s Diner is located nearby.
Special Options
Some students choose to skip dinner and instead have a pizza delivered to their room later that night. It counts as a meal and most students agree it is better than eating in the cafeteria. Check out CampusFood.com to order delivery online.
Did You Know?
During Finals Week, the residence hall cafeterias host snacks and drinks for late-night studiers. Some even offer Midnight Breakfast, a full course complete with French toast and pancakes. It is a tradition that should not be missed.

Dining Halls & Campus RestaurantsWhat's This?

Blimpie
Location: Union, lower level
Food: Sub sandwiches
Hours: Mon-Fri: 11 a.m.-7 p.m.
Busey Beanery
Location: Busey-Evans
Food: Grab and go snacks, coffee
Hours: Monday-Thursday 9 p.m.-12 a.m.
Cactus Grill
Location: Union, lower level
Food: American
Hours: Monday-Thursday 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-2 p.m.
Cocina Mexicana
Location: Illinois Avenue Hall
Food: Mexican
Hours: Friday 4:45 p.m.-7 p.m.
Cracked Egg Cafe
Location: Gregory Hall
Food: Breakfast
Hours: Tuesday 4:45 p.m. - 6:30 p.m.
Espresso Royale
Location: Union, main level
Food: Coffee, sandwiches
Hours: Monday-Friday 7 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m.-11 p.m., Sunday-10:30 a.m.-7 p.m.
Fat Don's
Location: Peabody-Snyder Dining Room
Food: American
Hours: Wednesday 4:30 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Field of Greens
Location: Lincoln Avenue Hall
Food: Vegetarian
Hours: Monday-Friday 11 a.m.-1:15 p.m.
Gregory e-Chomps
Location: Forbes Dining Room
Food: Grab and go snacks
Hours: Monday-Thursday 9:30 a.m.-12 a.m., Friday 9:30 a.m.-1 a.m., Saturday 1:30 p.m.-1 a.m., Sunday 1:30 p.m.-12 a.m.
Illini Union Ballroom
Location: Union, second level
Food: Variety buffet
Hours: Monday-Friday 11:30 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
Illini Union Vending Room
Location: Main level
Food: Chips, candy, muffins, bagels
Hours: Daily 7 a.m.-3 a.m.
ISR Chomps
Location: Illinois Street Residence Hall
Food: Grab and go snacks
Hours: Monday-Thursday 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., 8 p.m.-12 a.m., Friday 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m., 8 p.m.-1 a.m., Saturday 8 p.m.-1 a.m., Sunday 8 p.m.-12 a.m.
Kosher Kitchen
Location: Allen Dining Room
Food: Breakfast
Hours: Monday-Thursday 5 p.m.-6 p.m.
McDonald's
Location: Union, lower level
Food: American
Hours: Monday-Friday 7 a.m.-11 p.m., Saturday-Sunday 8 a.m.-11 p.m.
Oodles
Location: Busey-Evans Hall
Food: Variety buffet
Hours: Friday 11 a.m.-1:30 p.m.
PAR Underground
Location: Pennsylvania Avenue Residence Hall
Food: Grab and go snacks
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 8 p.m.-12 a.m., Friday-Saturday 8 p.m.-1 a.m.
Penn Station
Location: Peabody
Food: Grab and go snacks
Hours: Monday-Thursday 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., 8 p.m.-12 a.m., Friday 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m., 8 p.m.-1 a.m., Saturday 8 p.m.-1 a.m., Sunday 8 p.m.-12 a.m.
Quad Shop
Location: Union, main level
Food: Snacks and sundries
Hours: Everyday 7 a.m.-10 p.m.
Rice Garden
Location: Union, lower level
Food: Chinese
Hours: Monday-Thursday 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Sbarro
Location: Union, lower level
Food: Italian pizzeria
Hours: Monday-Thursday 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.- 2:30 p.m.
Soul Ingredient
Location: Florida Avenue Hall
Food: Southern cooking
Hours: Thursday 4:45 p.m.-7:30 p.m.
Sushi San
Location: Union, lower level
Food: Sushi
Hours: Monday-Thursday 10 a.m.-7 p.m., Friday 10 a.m.-3:30 p.m., Saturday 11 a.m.-3 p.m.

Student Polls

Rate campus dining on the following topics    Based on 185 responses

Very poor
Excellent
  • Availability
  • Ethnic/kosher options
  • Healthy/organic options
  • Late-night options
  • Quality
  • Value
  • Variety/number of options
  • Vegetarian/vegan options

What are the best food options on campus?    Based on 14 responses

  • 35% Ikenberry Dining Hall
  • 19% Late Night at PAR
  • 15% Stir Fry at PAR
  • 15% INSOMNIA cookies
  • 8% Oodles at Busey-Evans
  • 4% Late Night ISR
  • 4% Green street

What are the worst things about the campus meal plan?    Based on 13 responses

  • 40% Credits run out quickly due to restrictions
  • 33% Hours
  • 20% Can't use meals for others
  • 7% Food is repetitive

What are the best things about the campus meal plan?    Based on 12 responses

  • 44% There is a variety of dining halls and locations.
  • 38% You get to chose it yourself,
  • 19% Choice of buffet and/or individual purchases.

What are the worst food options on campus?    Based on 6 responses

  • 33% Vegan Corner
  • 33% Guacamole
  • 33% Vegetarian Lasagna

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