Last month I decided to step out of my normal routine and try something new to me: Strawberry Fields. Walking in, the very first thing I noticed was how bright and cozy the cafe was. There’s an entire wall of windows that let in lots of light and a cute little seating area filled with people who were enjoying lunch and working from their computers. I could tell right away it was a place I would enjoy sitting down to stay a while.

Strawberry Fields has multiple food cases filled with hot food, deli food, and baked goods. As I stood there awkwardly trying to take it all in, someone behind the counter walked up to ask if I had been there before. When I said no, they instantly started explaining how everything worked and everything they had to offer. Their willingness to explain the foods they offer definitely eased my anxiety over trying a new restaurant.

One thing that was mentioned is that you can try a sample of many of the items in the deli case. The prices of the deli items seemed to be pretty reasonable. Most of the items were priced by container ($3.99 for a small; $6.49 for a medium; and $11.99 for a large). While $11.99 may seem a little steep, it was larger than your typical large container, so you could definitely fit lots of food in it. There were also individually priced items, including falafel for $0.75, spinach or potato samosas for $1.99, and even a pre-made falafel wrap for $2.99. I also loved that all of the vegetarian items in the deli case were tagged accordingly. There is something so fulfilling about not having to ask someone to point out which items are vegetarian.

I love a good sandwich, so from the moment I saw the sign for made-to-order sandwiches that can be fully customizable for only $6.99, I knew that was the route I would take for my first meal. They had four different bread options (French baguette, seeded French baguette, whole wheat, and flatbread), and three vegetarian protein options (veggie burger, quinoa burger, and BBQ Tofu from the deli case). They then offer a wide variety of toppings (tomato, lettuce, cucumber, pickle, hummus, and onion) all of which are complementary, but for an additional cost of $0.75 each you can add avocado, goat cheese, or a spicy tomato spread.

I decided on the quinoa burger flatbread with lettuce, onion, cucumber, and hummus. The sandwich came out fresh and hot and looked so cute on the plate. The hummus added a really nice amount of flavor to sandwich. However, I may have to splurge next time and try the spicy tomato spread to really give it a good kick. Along with my flatbread, I choose a vegan vanilla cupcake (because I can’t pass up a fresh vegan cupcake). I’ve had and made many a vegan cupcake in my life and this was definitely up there as very good. It had a way of being sweet without being too sweet, with the right amount of vanilla flavor. It was definitely the perfect item to round out my meal after my quinoa burger flatbread.

On my second visit to Strawberry Fields, I was up early getting my veggies from the farmers' market and decided to stop in for breakfast. I was glad to see they still have their food case items available for purchase, which meant I could get a vegan cupcake for later. But they also offer hot breakfast foods cooked-to-order for $9.99. There are three different omelette flavors, a Middle Eastern platter, and a foule platter (fava bean stew). I decided to go for the mushroom and caramelized onion omelette.

What was served to me was definitely not what most would classify an omelette (it was more of a veggie scramble) but it was packed with veggies and lots of flavor. It did have a very generous amount of pepper (which is one of my favorite spices), so if you’re not a big fan of pepper, you may need to ask for them to go light on it. The platter was served with pita bread on the side and a choice of tea or coffee. I am an avid tea drinker, so it was nice to see all the different flavors of tea Strawberry Fields offers. One thing worth noting: The signage says their breakfast is served from 8 to 11 a.m. but it doesn’t actually open until 9 a.m.

Veggie burgers are one of my favorite foods. So on my most recent visit, I decided to try another one of their made to order sandwiches ($6.99) using the california veggie burger. I ordered my veggie burger on whole wheat bread, with lettuce, cucumber, hummus, and avocado ($0.75). I could tell the veggie burger itself had a really great flavor, but it was cooked more than I prefer which gave it a very strong char flavor. I did, however, enjoy the multitude of fresh veggies that are included free of charge on the burgers.

Overall, Strawberry Fields has a nice variety of vegetarian options, many of which can be grab-and-go for when you need a quick meal. If you prefer to sit and people watch (like me!), they offer that as well with their sunshine filled seating area. So the next time you’re looking for a low-key atmosphere with freshly made vegetarian food, I recommend giving Strawberry Fields  a try.

Strawberry Fields Cafe
306 W Springfield Ave
Urbana
M-Sa 9 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Su 10 a.m. to 6 p.m

Photos by Siarah Flanagan