It finally happened! I was able to host a girl’s night without having to reschedule because of my son, sickness or some other type of “life” issue. My friend Angela and I had a fabulous night of DIY face masks and conversation without any interruptions. The next morning, after sleeping in like teenagers (9:30am), we woke up and broached the subject of breakfast. I immediately thought of a local diner called Sam’s Cafe. I’ve been eating at this local spot in downtown Champaign for years, but hadn’t been there in quite a long time. I mentioned my idea to Angie and we agreed, Sam’s it was.
We walked through the door of the cafe and were met with the smells of cooking bacon and American fries. The waitress greeted us right away and we were invited to seat ourselves. We sat near the front by the windows and began to go over our menus.
The diner has basic breakfast and lunch food, but after speaking with the waitress I discovered breakfast to be the most popular among the locals. I of course had already decided on my meal while Angie took a while to study the menu. After a little conversation and a nice hot chocolate, Angie decided on scrambled eggs, Gus’s famous french toast and American fries. I had decided on the 1/2 order of Gus’s famous french toast and the breakfast special which consists of 2 eggs any style, bacon or sausage, American fries or toast.
While we waited for our meal we chatted and checked out the atmosphere. We commented on how we felt so at ease and at home there. There’s something about hearing eggs and bacon sizzling while holding a heavy mug of hot cocoa that makes you feel right at home. We have other diners in town but here there’s a spirit of camaraderie and relaxation that tempts you to hang around after your meal. The chairs and tables are not fancy and the decor is very simple but the place has a big heart. Several times throughout our meal I heard people yell out, “Hey Sam” or “See ya Sam!’. That’s what keeps me going back again and again. That and the killer french toast, but I’ll tell you about that in a bit.
Once our meal arrived I saw Angie go immediately for the french toast, which is exactly what I did. We decided that Sam’s french toast is a hybrid of pancake and french toast. The batter they use is so deliciously sweet and cinnamony and when they throw the bread on the griddle, it forms a buttery golden crust on the outside. The edges are crisp and the middle and inside are pillowy soft. I highly, highly recommend the french toast! It is safe to say that it is hands down the best french toast I have ever had. Angie whole heatedly agrees! Our eggs while not completely set were edible and my bacon was hot and chewy just how I like it. The other hit of breakfast were the American fries. They had a golden brown crust on the outside and inside the potatoes were fluffy and fresh with just the right amount of seasoning! Yum!!
We made our way to the counter to pay our tab and we were surprised to hear they ONLY ACCEPT CASH. Once again this establishment showed their big heart by allowing us to leave the restaurant to get cash from the ATM around the corner. Unheard of right! Not at Sam’s Cafe. We returned right away to pay our bill. The waitress rung us up promptly and gave us a smile and a friendly farewell.
All in all, it was another successful breakfast trip to Sam’s and this time I got to share it with a friend. Hopefully in the near future there will be another girl’s breakfast to write about!
115 N Walnut St, Champaign, IL
Price Rating: $