The more time I spend here in Champaign-Urbana, the more I grow to love it. We are so fortunate to have most everything the big city has right at our fingertips. We have University of Illinois sports, the Krannert Art Museum, The Virginia Theatre, and luckily for me, a thriving food scene that shows no signs of slowing down. Those are just a few of the exciting things we have to offer here in our little micro-polis.
When I was younger I couldn’t wait to move away and have a life-changing adventure, but every time I left, I always ended up right back here. It’s a good thing I did or I would’ve missed out on all of the exciting opportunities that have come my way lately.
I was asked to write a guest article for Visit Champaign County Official Visitors Guide, and if that weren’t exciting enough, I was also given the chance to take pictures for the article. I’d gotten a few pictures from my old blog posts, but I still had a few restaurants to photograph. This last Tuesday was so beautiful. The sky could not have gotten any more blue and the breeze was crisp and fresh. Downtown Champaign was bursting with happiness and warm laughter. It was the perfect day to just park my car and wander around taking pictures for my upcoming article. After getting the shots I needed of the restaurant exteriors, I hopped back into my car and headed for Downtown Urbana to get the rest of my food shots.
As I pulled up to my last restaurant stop, I saw that the afternoon was starting to give in to the golden light of evening. I had just enough light to get some great final shots of the exterior before I headed in for dinner. I didn’t know it yet, but I was about to rediscover this place that I’ve frequented for years in a whole new way.
I walked through the aged wooden doors of Courier Cafe and was greeted right away, as always. I was seated at a booth near the large front windows and settled in for my hearty meal. I already knew what I was going to order and I was famished. The friendly waitress took my order right away, after serving me a greatly appreciated glass of ice cold water. I mentioned the article briefly and that they’ve been mentioned as a top local hangout. She was genuinely excited and we began to talk all about the history behind the building and the treasures inside.
When you enter Courier Cafe and survey the main dining room you can see antiques displayed everywhere. The building itself is an antique! Before she left to place my order, I was directed to the back of the menu. The story and the history of the building is printed there, as well as having descriptions of the many beautiful antiques. I leaned against the back of the heavy wooden booth and happily began to read and learn more about this amazing restaurant.
My food was quickly delivered to the table and I looked down to gaze upon the deliciousness that is The Courier Burger. They use what looks to be a kaiser roll and in between is a juicy charbroiled burger patty topped with crispy thick cut bacon and a thick slice of gooey cheddar cheese. Enough said right?!
Now it was on to the task of ordering dessert. I chose a hand-dipped vanilla fudge ice cream sundae with whipped cream and nuts. It was presented before me in all of it’s glory, topped with a glossy red cherry. I picked up my long slender spoon and immediately dug in. I took the little ramakin that was filled with fudge and drowned the rest of my sundae in sweet richness.
After I had devoured every last bite of the juicy burger and almost ate my whole dessert, it was time to think about heading home. After paying my very reasonable bill I stayed for a few minutes and chatted a little more with the waitress. She was great! I thanked everyone and was soon on my way back home to bathe the kids and get them in bed.
At the end of the evening, I sat back with a glass of wine and contemplated over how amazing my day had been. The weather had been perfection, taking pictures downtown was so enjoyable and to wrap it all up, I had another delicious meal at one of my favorite local spots. Days like these make me feel blessed to be alive and thankful that my life is so full of happiness….and amazing food! I went to bed completely content and excited for another blessed day here in C-U.
111 North Race Street