If you’re a townie and you ask another townie where to get a great cup of coffee, they will inevitably mention Cafe Kopi. It’s somewhat of a staple here in our community. It offers peace and calm away from the crazy busyness of campus and the corporate coldness of Starbucks. A while back when I told my friends I had never been there, they were shocked. The looks of confusion on their faces were enough to finally push me into going.

On this particular visit my mom and I decided to try some items off the lunch menu. The menu is comprised of salads, sandwiches, paninis and desserts. They have lots of wonderful vegetarian options. I had a terrible time choosing because everything sounded so scrumptious.

We also had to try a coffee, of course. I learned that their beans are roasted locally and they offer their own special Cafe Kopi blend. The display case was full of fresh items from local bakery Pekara and there is also a newly added grab and go case. It offers pre-packaged Kopi snacks and sandwiches for the customer in a hurry.

All of the people watching was starting to make me hungry, so I was thrilled when lunch arrived promptly at our table. The food was a bright rainbow of fresh colorful vegetables mixed with the sweet smells of fresh bread. I chose the chicken salad on a bed of baby greens served with french bread ($7) and a 20 ounce raspberry Italian Soda
($3.18). My drink was fruity and refreshing, just like an Italian sodashould be. My salad was adorned with crunchy sprouts, sliced almonds,vibrant red sliced tomatoes and bright green cucumbers crescents. In thecenter was a small scoop of the succulent chicken salad. The chickensalad itself was surprisingly light. It wasn’t overwhelmed with theheavy taste of mayo, which I find is the problem with most chickensalads. In this one I could taste all of the components and the chickenwas juicy and flavorful. The veggies were seasoned nicely and the babygreens were crisp and fresh.

I am officially hooked on this place. The food is not only delicious, it’s also beautiful, fresh and healthy. I think I ate, and enjoyed, more veggies in that one sitting than I do in a normal week. Another plus is the food is not nap-inducing. When I finished my meal I felt satisfied without feeling overly stuffed or guilty. I’ll come back not only for the amazing food, but for the environment and comfort of the interior.

The homey atmosphere seems to encourage creativity and spark togetherness — both things the world could use more of. Seriously, If you haven’t already, you need to stop by to relax and have a delicious lunch and tasty beverage at Cafe Kopi. You won’t regret it.

Cafe Kopi is located at 109 N Walnut Street, Champaign, and is open daily 7 a.m. to midnight. 

All photos by Rebecca Wells.