You are about to be let in on one of the best kept dining secrets in the area. I still wouldn’t know about this place had it not been brought to my attention as an option for a review from Smile Politely.
VFW Post 630 It is hidden away in plain sight on East Main Street in Urbana. It has excellent food, a huge variety on the menu, and is extremely budget friendly.
The restaurant is a quaint kitchen and dining area in the back of the VFW Post 630. When arriving at the location, enter in the back (south) door and place your order at the cash register. Bring an appetite — and cash as the restaurant is cash only. Water and tea are available in the back, or order from the bar in the front should one want a libation. Take some time while waiting for your food to look at the plaques and learn some history about the brave people that served our country.
I’m always on the lookout for a good deal. If there is a ten-for-$10, get-the-11th-item-free sale at a grocery store, you can bet your ass I’m leaving there with 11 items — even if I don’t need them. A mango will probably go bad before I eat it, but if they’re part of the ten-for-$10, in the cart it goes! Fortunately, the VFW has great deals all the time, and you don’t have to order ten menu items to get great value.
We started with fried green beans with ranch dressing ($4.50). Tell your doctor you had green beans for dinner, and omit the fried and ranch dressing detail. I’ve never had fried green beans, which is partly why they appealed to me. I’ll be having them again. The beans were plump, juicy, and had a great fresh green bean flavor and snap. The coating was the perfect amount to complement the bean without taking it over. I enjoyed the beans on their own and with the ranch dressing. It was a perfect appetizer to share and left us plenty of room to enjoy our entrees. There is nothing worse than getting a monster appetizer and regretting ordering an entrée and taking most of it home.
My wife ordered the fried fish sandwich ($9) which came with slaw and choice of a side. She chose fries for that classic fish and chips lunch. Diners can choose from cod or tilapia. She went with the cod, served on a brioche bun with tartar sauce. The fish had a nice mild flavor and the batter, like the green beans, was the perfect amount to enhance the flavor of the fish without taking it over. The tartar sauce was excellent, and the brioche bun was perfectly soft and a great accompaniment to the fish. I look forward to eating it again and trying the tilapia option soon.
The fries were outstanding. Seasoned well, the fries were super crisp on the outside and light and fluffy inside. I don’t know if they were double fried, but they sure seemed like it. Regardless how they fried them, the results were excellent. I didn’t even use ketchup, which I typically don’t use when the fries are top notch.
I had the single cheeseburger ($6) that comes with one side. I chose slaw as my side as I knew I was going to bogart some of my wife’s fries! For you kids out there, bogart means selfishly appropriate or keep. It’s a great 80’s era word (yes, I’m old). Cheese options are American, Swiss, provolone, and pepper jack. I opted for the pepper jack as my wife doesn’t like spicy, ensuring no bogarting on her part. I think she still took a bite. The burger had great flavor and that classic flat top grill crust. The cheese was generous and melted just enough to wrap the burger in a nice warm hug. The burger had the same great brioche bun that was for the fish sandwich. A double cheeseburger was only a buck more, too. Rookie move on my part. Proving I do learn from my mistakes, I’ll get the double next time.
The slaw was great and offered a nice freshness contrast from the wonderful savory flavors. I find a lot of places tend to over dress their slaw, and this can lead to turning the slaw into mush and losing its texture. Not here, the dressing to slaw ration was spot on.
We got all this wonderful food for $17 plus tip. One of the best bargains in the area. I look forward to visiting again and trying some more of their 20+ menu options. Do your stomach — and wallet — a favor and visit VFW Post 630 for a wonderful meal.
Please note the hours below as they are limited, and remember to bring cash.
VFW Post 630
1303 E Main St
T 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. + 5 to 8 p.m.
F 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
F 5 to 8 p.m. on band nights