Best Chambana restaurants and bars

The camera never lies
Champaign
This thread needs to be bumped. Going through this thead--JW's comments and JP's stories make me laugh till I cry.

More memories, anyone?
I remember this cute girl with red hair that I took a picture of, she screamed and asked for security, that some creep was taking pictures of her!:laugh:
 
The paign born and raised
Top 5 Restaurants in the Paign-

5- Escobars
4- Buttitas
3- Biaggis
2- Pasha's
1- Jim Gould

Top 5 bars in the Paign-

5- Radio Maria
4- Jupiters
3- 7 Saints
2- Cowboy Monkey
1- Guidos

Honorable Mention Bar and Grill

- Billy Barooz

None of the campus bars make the list cause they all suck, they might have some nastalgia for people who went to school here but they're garbage for the most part.
 
Houston, Texas
Anyone remember hanging out in the spring 1986 at O'Malley's?

Does anyone have the history of O'Malley's ownership?

Sad day when she was torn down....:(:chief:
I hung out there fall of '86 through spring of '89 for Quarter beers on Mondays (and Sundays, too, I believe).
 
Bump...

My friends (all Iowa fans) and I came to Champaign for the Iowa game on February 7th (stayed Friday-Monday), and we had an absolute blast. We stayed at the Hyatt, and though I've experienced Campustown several times, this was my first time going out downtown. We only got to go to Cowboy Monkey, Blind Pig, Guido's (briefly) and ate dinner on Saturday at Destihl. My food and beer at Destihl was nothing short of amazing, and Blind Pig was as awesome as advertised! I really want to go back during the summer sometime.

My friends were really impressed with Champaign as a whole; that town is really growing fast!
 
Bump...

My friends (all Iowa fans) and I came to Champaign for the Iowa game on February 7th (stayed Friday-Monday), and we had an absolute blast. We stayed at the Hyatt, and though I've experienced Campustown several times, this was my first time going out downtown. We only got to go to Cowboy Monkey, Blind Pig, Guido's (briefly) and ate dinner on Saturday at Destihl. My food and beer at Destihl was nothing short of amazing, and Blind Pig was as awesome as advertised! I really want to go back during the summer sometime.

My friends were really impressed with Champaign as a whole; that town is really growing fast!
I love Destihl. Good choice.
 
Revised X-Men Universe
Bump...

My friends (all Iowa fans) and I came to Champaign for the Iowa game on February 7th (stayed Friday-Monday), and we had an absolute blast. We stayed at the Hyatt, and though I've experienced Campustown several times, this was my first time going out downtown. We only got to go to Cowboy Monkey, Blind Pig, Guido's (briefly) and ate dinner on Saturday at Destihl. My food and beer at Destihl was nothing short of amazing, and Blind Pig was as awesome as advertised! I really want to go back during the summer sometime.

My friends were really impressed with Champaign as a whole; that town is really growing fast!
Downtown Champaign has really become a thing. Really good food and drinks now.
 
Quite a reversal from my time at UI in the mid 70's. Downtown Champaign was a ****hole. City workers, train passengers, Christie Clinic folks, and the perverts hanging around the Art Theater. Great to see what it has become. Love to see the new restaurants sprouting up. Hope the community realizes what they have and support them.
 
LOL, my aunt is a U of I grad who stuck around the area after graduating. I showed her this picture, and she had ZERO idea what she was looking at (for those agreeing with her, this is the intersection where the Hyatt is):



She was shocked to learn downtown had that much of a rebound. I'm visiting next weekend with friends (figured we'd just be day drinking in Iowa City anyway, why not roadtrip somewhere??); I'm pumped to enjoy the Cowboy Monkey/Blind Pig outdoor area for once, as it's always cold when we visit! Any suggestions for Saturday night dinner?
 
Miga, Destihl, and Big Grove are all in that picture and all very good. :thumb:
Had DESTIHL last time, it was so good. Thinkin' we might try Big Grove this year! All I really care about is making it to Blind Pig to have a beer in the beer garden and checking out Barrelhouse 34!

P.S. I know the idea of a pedmall is terrifying to Champaign folks given the history, but with that one alley that is entirely beer gardens (from Blind Pig's down to Quality's) perpendicular to the alley in front of Cowboy Monkey, I think it'd be SO sweet if they blocked off the rest of Taylor all the way to Radio Maria and made that the "center" of downtown. I'm biased because I'm from Iowa City, and the pedmall is so successful, but I really think it'd be neat!!
 
Last edited:
aka "Captain Oblivious"
Cynthiana, Kentucky
Had DESTIHL last time, it was so good. Thinkin' we might try Big Grove this year! All I really care about is making it to Blind Pig to have a beer in the beer garden and checking out Barrelhouse 34!

P.S. I know the idea of a pedmall is terrifying to Champaign folks given the history, but with that one alley that is entirely beer gardens (from Blind Pig's down to Quality's) perpendicular to the alley in front of Cowboy Monkey, I think it'd be SO sweet if they blocked off the rest of Taylor all the way to Radio Maria and made that the "center" of downtown. I'm biased because I'm from Iowa City, and the pedmall is so successful, but I really think it'd be neat!!
Not sure that section of Taylor would be anything special. The bank uses that as the exit to their drive thru and parking lot. If you really want to create something exciting there, use the western part of that parking lot and open up the side of Cowboy Monkey. There is also an empty store front that faces Main Street and borders that parking lot that some enterprising fellow could turn into a hot spot.
 
Not sure that section of Taylor would be anything special. The bank uses that as the exit to their drive thru and parking lot. If you really want to create something exciting there, use the western part of that parking lot and open up the side of Cowboy Monkey. There is also an empty store front that faces Main Street and borders that parking lot that some enterprising fellow could turn into a hot spot.
Yeah, anything well done would be cool!

What's the story with the Taylor St. Alley, anyway? Was it just a random stretch of the pedmall they decided to keep? Again, I'm biased, but that's the coolest part of downtown, IMO. More would be awesome!

Most studies are showing younger people want that kind of thing in an urban core again. I know Peoria is pumping millions into renovating its Warehouse District (especially wider sidewalks and more outdoor seating), and it's going great so far! Nice to see places in Downstate still thriving.
 
aka "Captain Oblivious"
Cynthiana, Kentucky
What's the story with the Taylor St. Alley, anyway? Was it just a random stretch of the pedmall they decided to keep? Again, I'm biased, but that's the coolest part of downtown, IMO. More would be awesome!
I am pretty sure that they closed Taylor when they closed Neil for the ped mall and when they reopened Neil it was easier and cheaper to leave Taylor as is. Agreed that it is really cool, and blind pig brewery has really added to the area with their new beer garden and north entrance onto Taylor.

There was some momentum to turn the parking lot north of big grove into a huge plaza / pedestrian area that could be used for outdoor concerts, picnics, winter ice skating, farmers markets, etc... but some business owners got it squashed.
 
I am pretty sure that they closed Taylor when they closed Neil for the ped mall and when they reopened Neil it was easier and cheaper to leave Taylor as is. Agreed that it is really cool, and blind pig brewery has really added to the area with their new beer garden and north entrance onto Taylor.

There was some momentum to turn the parking lot north of big grove into a huge plaza / pedestrian area that could be used for outdoor concerts, picnics, winter ice skating, farmers markets, etc... but some business owners got it squashed.
It was just my mom and me (on our way to Indy), but we went to DESTIHL for dinner, a beer in Blind Pig's beer garden while we waited for a table and then one drink at Barrelhouse 34 to check out the rooftop patio. My mom used to spend some nights in Champaign in the '90s, and she couldn't believe how different it was! The whole area was bumpin', and it has developed a very impressive atmosphere.

My prediction (to which my mom agreed) is that someone will eventually buy that bank out to move locations and turn that while area into something, connecting the Cowboy Monkey ped mall area to the Barrelhouse 34/Radio Maria area ... probably wishful thinking, but man would that be cool!!
 
aka "Captain Oblivious"
Cynthiana, Kentucky
Maize is outstanding. Small place, limited seating, long lines at busy times but well worth it. Get some of their guac, trust me on this.
 
Anyone eating at Watson's Shack & Rail? We're coming over in two weeks for the Iowa game, and we were thinking about trying it one of the nights for dinner (pretty sold on Black Dog for the other).
The Nashville Hot chicken was super spicy HOT. I like spicy but this was painful. Would have loved to have a gallon of cold milk available as I was eating it (and an extra shirt as I sweated out mine). The sides were top notch and someone else at the table had the "regular" fried chicken and loved it. Fun place but will forgo the Nashville Hot next time.
 
Was going to make a similar thread, but then I saw this one exists.

So how about Garcia's, guys? That used to be one of my all-time favorites. But the last time I went to their current location, they were understaffed very, very badly on a game day. The pizza was great, as usual (Gutbuster!), but the place was dirty and the food took about 45 minutes. We left the place full, but a little shocked and sad. It sure was a far cry from the Garcia's on Wright street.