Smile Politely

Bunny’s Tavern is a C-U classic for a reason

My partner and I met some friends at Bunny’s last week, and we sat out on the patio. I’ve been to a Christmas work party there, grabbed drinks that turned into dinner with friends, and my grandma used to go every Wednesday night to get the BBQ bacon-wrapped shrimp special. There is a little something for everyone.

As soon as we sat down a server greeted us with menus and asked what we would like to drink. They did not have any drink specials, so I had a Riggs Hefeweizen draft which is always a solid choice.

We ordered two appetizers.

On a black bistro table outside at Bunny's Tavern in Urbana, there is a paper basket of five fried pickle spears. Photo by Tayler Neumann.

Photo by Tayler Neumann.

I tried the the fried pickles ($5.50). I love fried pickles with a capital L and was disappointed when they came out as pickle spears as I much prefer the chips. I was wrong to judge so quickly because they were delicious. Five spears, lightly battered and still packing a nice crunch, were served with ranch dressing on the side. They were so good I even ate one cold the next day.

On a black outdoor table at Bunny's Tavern, there is a basket lined with parchment paper and full of chicken wings, celery, and a cup of ranch. Photo by Tayler Neumann.

Photo by Tayler Neumann.

We tried one of the Wednesday night specials: the smoked wings ($4.95), and the five wings were fantastic. The smoky flavor was a good contrast to the fried and grilled items we ordered, and the sauce ratio was perfect. Served with a choice of bleu cheese or ranch (or both), as well as celery, they make a great starter to any dinner or a great late-night snack. Appetizers are served later than the rest of the menu at Bunny’s, so it’s a great place to find some food on a night out.

An overhead photo shows the fried shrimp basket from Bunny's with six jumbo fried shrimp, fries, coleslaw in a white styrofoam cup, and a little cup of sauce. Photo by Tayler Neumann.

Photo by Tayler Neumann.

Technically on the appetizer menu, the shrimp basket ($9.95) was a meal in itself. Six jumbo shrimp, split down the middle, were perfectly crispy and served with horseradish coleslaw (that was not spicy) and Bunny’s delicious house fries. This would be a great meal for someone who does not want a big plate but still wants fried food.

An overhead photo shows Bunny's breaded pork tenderloin sandwich with lettuce and fries. Photo by Tayler Neumann.

Photo by Tayler Neumann.

Pork tenderloins make me think of summer and this breaded pork tenderloin ($7.95) fulfilled that feeling. I like to run mine through the garden (lettuce, tomato, onion, and pickle) and then walk it through the fridge (mustard, mayo, and ketchup). The bun could hold all the toppings — and a patty that wasn’t too big but big enough to not get lost — was a dream combination. Served with chips or upgrade to fries for $1.95 or slaw for $2.95, this meal will leave you full and happy for just under $11.

Under the sides section of the menu is an option for Leah’s world famous loaded tots (four for $4.50).

In a white paper basket, there are four giant tots with a cup of sauce. Photo by Tayler Neumann.

Photo by Tayler Neumann.

I’m not sure who Leah is, but she came up with a great idea. This order was large tater tots stuffed with bacon, cheddar cheese, and chives, served with ranch dressing. My only complaint is that I think they could have been fried a tad longer to get the middle nice and hot. This would be a great add-on to any meal or a great starter.

An overhead photo shows Bunny's porker with a side of fries on an outdoor table at Bunny's. Photo by Tayler Neumann.

Photo by Tayler Neumann.

The Bunny’s porker ($9.50) was a quarter pound burger with cheddar cheese, seared pork belly, and BBQ sauce. The combination of sweet and savory with the added juice and flavor from the pork belly made the burger stand out. Definitely, a great comfort meal when you’re looking for something other than just a regular burger. Like with the pork tenderloin, it comes with chips, or you have the option to upgrade to fries or slaw.

An overhead photo shows the author's order at Bunny's Tavern in Urbana. Photo by Tayler Neumann.

Photo by Tayler Neumann.

Overall, Bunny’s is a casual place for great food, good beer, and an inviting atmosphere. They run consistent weekly lunch and dinner specials as well as plenty of live entertainment events. They recently expanded at the end of 2020 to add more dining and a room for events and private parties.

Bunny’s Tavern
119 W. Water St.
Su-Th 7 a.m. to midnight
F+Sa 7 a.m. to 1 a.m.

Top image by Tayler Neumann.

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