The charming Courier Cafe would be a main staple of my diet should I have chosen to live within the beautiful and quiet streets of Urbana. The website claims, "it's amicable staff will continue to please its loyal clientele for years to come" and it would be absolutely absurd of me to disagree. My visit took place just as the afternoon lunch rush was coming to a close. I was seated quickly and my waitress was probably the most friendly I have ever had. She was quite knowledgeable and answered my questions about which items were vegan or could be made vegan.
The Cafe itself has an exceptionally long history in Urbana. The property itself was allegedly home to the first ever property built in this part of Illinois. The current building served as the site of the Courier Newspaper which became a weekly circulation leader in 1890s. After it suffered the wrath of a fire that almost destroyed it in the 1950s, the newspaper finally succumbed to the pressures of competing with the News-Gazette in 1979. Finally in 1980, the building became this timeless and whimsical little establishment, The Courier Cafe.
The menu allows you the ability to create your own concoction, which as I have articulated previously can be a challenge, but never a hardship. I ultimately decided upon a half sandwich/half soup combo. The soup of the day was veggie chili. It was everything I adore in chili-it was not too spicy, but did have a slight kick. It consisted of kidney beans, onion, tomato, and carrots.
While I was finishing the savory chili, my entree was delivered. I had settled on the Italian Grilled Artichoke Bagel. The minute she set the platter on the table, I could smell the basil permeating emanating from the artichokes. The combination of artichoke and basil was one I had never tried in combination prior to this, and it was unquestionably spectacular. The entree was larger than I had expected with olives, artichokes, tomato, a pickle, onions, and carrots tumbling off the half slice of bagel. It was a mountain of enticing and gratifying fare to say the least.
I whole-heartedly recommend the Courier Cafe, not only for its distinct and wistful dining environment, but also because of the exceptionally pleasant staff and the ridiculously fulfilling foodstuffs.
One of the ingredients of the bagel is honey, so I suggest that you order this item with a pita instead.
General Disclaimer: The foods featured in this article are vegan to the best of the author's knowledge. If you follow the vegan diet strictly, always ask before trying the recommended dishes.
The Courier Cafe is located at 111 N Race St. Urbana, Ill. 61801