Jupiter's at The Crossing really has something for everyone. Jupiter’s has been serving up pizza, drinks, and billiards downtown for years. Their highly customizable pizzas and stellar daily specials were so successful that a second, much larger, location became a reality some years ago. 

Think up-scale sports bar with good food, and entertainment for the whole family. Have a seat on the main floor for the standard experience; booths and tables are packed in with lots of TVs viewable from every angle, and a handful of pool tables on the east side. Head downstairs and find more seating and pool tables in addition to a couple dozen arcade games. Looking for a place to host your next party? The third floor is ideal for work retreats, birthday parties, and wedding receptions. Each floor hosts its own fully stocked bar and you can order food anywhere.

My husband and I had a truly family-style experience by taking our two-and-a-half-year-old son and my parents with us for dinner. It was surprisingly quiet for a Sunday, so we got full access to all the games we wanted. Swipe cards can be purchased using cash or credit at machines located near the arcade area. When you’re done, swipe it on the prize terminal to see how many points you accumulated and awaken your inner child (or hand it off to your actual child) by selecting a small plastic dog, dinosaur stencil, Avengers ring, or other fun little prizes.

We took a break from the games when our food arrived, and in retrospect, we may have gone a little overboard trying to test the limits of the menu. We ordered both boneless BBQ wings and bone-in buffalo wings, lobster artichoke dip, an Italian club grinder with fries, and two pizzas: Special K and the Pizza Bianco.

The pizza is what Jupiter’s is known for and it really never disappoints. The Special K ($9) had a unique and complex flavor that was both tangy and creamy. A cream sauce and two types of cheese are dotted with sun dried tomatoes, sausage, spinach, basil, and oregano (we skipped the mushrooms); it was a really delightfully balanced bite. The Pizza Bianco ($8) is another popular choice. It was a bit lighter due to it’s olive oil base. Topped with mozzarella, provolone, spinach, artichoke, onions, garlic, oregano, and basil, it had a strength of flavor for being a seemingly healthier pizza choice. It was salty and a touch juicy from the spinach and artichoke with a burst of crisp onion flavor to round it out.

The surprise favorite was the lobster artichoke dip ($8). It’s hard to find good seafood in a landlocked area such as ours, but this dip had full lobster flavor. It was extremely creamy with just a bit of spice. The saltiness of the artichoke cut through the heaviness of the cream and lobster. Paired with a crispy tortilla chip, it was a truly tasty bite. It was a dip so nice I ate it twice, because I took some home and ate it again the next day.

Both orders of wings came out perfectly cooked and sauced. The boneless BBQ wings ($14) have a thick, crunchy breading that stands up even when coated in their sweet, brown sugary sauce. The chicken inside was tender. The bone-in buffalo wings ($14) are probably in my husband's top 3 wings in C-U. They are coated in a very fine breading to hold the buttery heat of the buffalo sauce. We got the medium heat and the sting stays with you for a bit. Both wings were just about perfect with paired with a little ranch dressing.

Let me talk about this Italian Grinder ($8.50 w/ fries). The bread came out warm and was soft in the middle and toasted along the edges. Oregano and melty cheese was nestled in among genoa salami, pepperoni, and ham. The sandwich came with lettuce, mayo, and tomato which completed the picture and created a really lovely hot sandwich that was comforting with just a hint of zing.

And last but certainly not least: The fries. These fries were great. I was not expecting such a wonderfully light, airy middle with a stunningly crisp, golden brown, crunchy outside. Other restaurants take note — this is how you do french fries.

I tend to think of Jupiter’s as a weekend sort of hang, but with their daily food/drink specials, free wi-fi, and lively atmosphere, you could really go at any point on any day of the week. The Italian grinder and fries would make a fantastic lunch if you can get away from the office. They really work to cater to all people, with lots of solid options for vegetarians and even a gluten free pizza crust. If you haven’t been to Jupiter’s lately, these dark, dismal winter months are the ideal time to remind yourself how much you love pizza and arcade games.

Jupiter’s at The Crossing
2511 Village Green Place
Champaign
11 a.m. to late night, daily 

Photos by Sarah Meilike