Smile Politely

Drive-through Urbana’s Windy City Express for your fast food cravings

Windy City Express in Urbana's sign on a cloudy blue day. The sign also has the fast food restaurant's phone number and below it a list of the popular dishes. Photo by Carl Busch.
Carl Busch

There are certain people I know who won’t steer me wrong when it comes to food. Two at the top are truck drivers and my son. When there is a restaurant that turns hardworking, grown-ass truck drivers into giddy school children, I must check it out. These guys would go on and on about Windy City Express and how they had the best chicken fingers in town.

When I asked my son if he would like to assist me with a Windy City Express review, his eyes lit up with a big grin. So, on a cold windy day in C-U, I headed to Windy City Express and picked up dinner to eat at home. What we experienced was a wide variety of food, excellently prepared with generous portions.

Carl Busch

My son ordered the aforementioned jumbo chicken fingers (five for $10.99 including choice of sauce and fries). The quantities range from from three to ten pieces. When they say jumbo, they really mean it. These chicken fingers were enormous! Five was plenty for my son to make two meals out of it. These chicken fingers were as close to traditional fried chicken I have tasted. The batter was light and crisp, and the chicken incredibly moist. The chicken can be ordered with lemon pepper seasoning, too. He chose the honey mustard sauce, which was excellent. The fries that came with the chicken had an excellent taste and fried nicely: crisp on the outside, light and fluffy inside.

Carl Busch

When there is so much good options on the menu, I sometimes struggle with decisions making. Do I want and Italian Beef or and Italian sausage? Why not both? I got the beef and sausage combo ($9.99 sandwich only) with sweet peppers, cheese, and jus on the side. Had I been eating there, I would have had it dipped, but I was concerned about it getting soggy on the way home. Like my son’s chicken, this sandwich made two meals.

The sausage was excellent with a great mix of spices with that classic fennel flavor being the shining star. The beef was just as good and dripped with flavor. The bread substantially held up to all the ingredients and had great flavor when dipped in the jus. Hot peppers are an option if you want it spicier.

Carl Busch

My wife ordered the gyro salad ($10.49 with gyro sauce). This salad was a very large portion and included gyro meat, lettuce, cheese, banana peppers, green peppers, cucumbers, pickles, and onion. Please note it also includes jalapeño and sport peppers, which I absolutely loved, but if you don’t want spicy, ask them to hold the hot stuff. We loved this salad. It’s basically a low carb gyro. The meat was seasoned well, the sauce was excellent, and they are very generous with the meat and vegetables. We loved the uniqueness that the pickles and banana peppers brought to this salad.

Carl Busch

While ordering, one item caught my eye. I wasn’t planning on getting a pizza puff ($3.99 each), but I have never had a pizza puff before — and I have heard how great they are — so I went for it. How could I go wrong with pizza ingredients in a pastry? It was a nice treat that we all split as an appetizer. The inside was tasty saucy and cheesy goodness enveloped by a wonderful, golden-brown fried pastry.

I have always used Windy City’s drive through, but for purposes of this review, I wanted to check out the inside and place my order.

Carl Busch

The inside dining area is very nice with lots of room, comfortable chairs, and tables. Next time, I look forward to dining in and trying more of their wonderful food. Windy City may be in the fast-food category, but don’t be fooled, their food quality was top notch, and the portions were huge.

Carl Busch

There is a reason their drive-though is busy every time I drive by.

Windy City Express
410 N. Race St
M-Sa 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
Su 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.

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