After a long week, the light of the end of the tunnel has comfort food and a delicious beer floating in it. No restaurant can meet those needs more, for me, than Bunny’s Tavern in Urbana. My husband, a Philo native, introduced me to Bunny's early on in our relationship, and it’s been a place that I (a decade-long vegetarian) and family and friends can find common ground.
Since the polar vortex hit the Midwest, I’ve been craving Bunny's jalapeño poppers paired with a draft to warm me up. We stopped by Bunny’s after work to do just that. Though their lunch and dinner menu typically cater to carnivorous patrons, there’s a surprising amount of veggie-friendly fare if you’re counting calories (which you shouldn’t be, live a little).
We started out with apps. Even if you know you’re going to be putting yourself into a food coma, you just roll with it. The jalapeño poppers ($4.95) and fried mac and cheese ($4.50) come in abundance with sides of ranch. The poppers are a creamy, jalapeño-packed queso bite. They’re perfect. The mac and cheese bites were crispy, carby, and a mild partner to the poppers. Both paired nicely together, and with the Rigg’s Hefeweizen ($4.75).
For the main event, always go for the inside out grilled cheese sandwich (4.50). It’s my favorite one in town, and it seems like it would be messy enough to make that I don’t want to do it at home. The bread is coated and grilled with parmesan cheese on the outside, adding saltiness and texture to the classic. You have your choice of cheeses (American, Swiss, or Cheddar), and if you’re feeling adventurous, add tomato. I added a house salad ($3.50) to the mix, just to test it out. It wasn't anything fancy, but was crisp, and added a lighter touch to the meal.
My husband opted for the veggie burger ($5.50). Did you know Bunny’s has a veggie burger It’s delicious! If you like spice, I recommend getting the firecracker burger with the veggie patty, no bacon to keep it vegetarian. The legume/rice patty pairs fantastically with the sriracha-infused cheese and jalapeños. The entrees come with a side of regular Vitner’s potato chips, but for a small upcharge you can get additional options like fries or tater tots. Burger fixings are next to the bar area, so we tried to balance our food intake by adding a few garden options.
We ordered a ton of food, but our bill came in around $30 for two entrees, two apps, four beers, and a side. Bunny's offers additional meatless options including pizza, veggie spring rolls, and salads.
The ambiance as we dined was typical Bunny’s: packed with a large, local crowd enjoying the games on TV and conversation. The staff is always friendly, happy to chat for a moment, and give suggestions, like "make sure to try the spicy mayo." They were also incredibly accomodating to any questions and requests we made.
While some may read this article and think, “Wow, that’s a lot of cheese,” let me tell you: There is never too much cheese. I may not eat beef, or chicken, or gasp, bacon, but cheese is always on the menu. And at Bunny’s it’s exactly what I want.
119 W Water St
M-F 9 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Sa + Su 7 a.m. to 2 a.m.
Photos by Jordan Goebig