Smile Politely

Everyday Kitchen is a handsome place for drinks and dinner

In 2018, Lodgic’s Everyday Kitchen Restaurant opened in Champaign as part of Lodgic Everyday Community, a building with workspaces, childcare, a gym, a café, and a restaurant, as the flagship location for Moose International’s new community initiative. While many of Lodgic’s offerings require a membership, the café and restaurant do not; anyone can enjoy the on-site food and drink options. Over the last four years, I’ve visited the restaurant a few times, but the debut of Everyday Kitchen’s new fall menu last month inspired me to return for a review.

The exterior of Everyday Kitchen Restaurant in Champaign. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Serving Midwest modern comfort cuisine, the restaurant has plenty of parking in front, and the short walk to the double doors is an asset on these cold evenings. Even though I’d been before, I still appreciated the impression that the handsome decor had when we entered the restaurant.

Inside Everyday Kitchen, there is a handsome dining room with wooden tables, long dark curtains, and gold light fictures. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The warm wood panels, long beautiful curtains with Kelly Hieronymus’ designs, paintings by Nathan Westerman, and gorgeous lighting worked together to create a sophisticated setting.

Inside Everyday Kitchen, the bartender is mixing a drink and on the left, behind a decorative fire feature, there is a chef cooking in the kitchen. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

When my date and I arrived for dinner, the restaurant was half full, and staff were busy in all corners. Chefs cooked behind a fire feature; a bartender mixed a cocktail. Servers hurried across the restaurant, and a few times, people told us that they’d be with us soon. The host took us to a wooden table with pew-style seats. There was a pillow on each bench, and we both used a pillow to cushion our back.

From Triptych rotating brews to Blind Pig’s U of IPA, from pilsners to vanilla cream ale, Everyday Kitchen’s beer menu had something for any beer drinker. The menu also had three mocktails and a selection of craft cocktails.

I wanted to try a variety of Everyday Kitchen’s cocktails, and I started with a Tomfoolery ($11) cocktail.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The Tomfoolery had a strong boozy taste with citrus and juniper from the gin, and the aroma of the sage leaf added a nice touch. The bourbon tasted great with the gin, like a mash-up of an old fashioned and a dry gin martini. Though the drink’s description said it came with an orange peel, mine looked like a lemon peel was substituted.

My husband had the Double Bean Dream ($4.50) from Hand of Fate Brewery in Petersburg, Illinois.

On a wooden table, there is a glass pour of the Double Bean Dream by Hands of Fate Brewing. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The Double Bean Dream was a blonde cream ale with great flavors: creamy coffee, hazelnut, sweet vanilla, and hops. The double beans of vanilla and roasted coffee tasted delicious and not overly sweet.

Everyday Kitchen has an all-day menu which includes appetizers, handhelds, and salads in addition to a menu with burgers and entrees. The entrees are only available after 5 p.m. from Wednesday to Saturday night, but we were visiting on a Saturday night, so we tried two entrees in addition to an app and dessert.

I heard that the jalapeño tots were great, but when we tried to order them at 6:45 p.m., they were already sold out. They must be really good, but we were too late, so we pivoted to chicken wings ($10).

On a greenish-yellow plate there is an order of eight chicken wings prinkled with sesame seeds and microgreens. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

One order of the chicken wings appetizer included eight wings covered in a sticky sweet sauce sprinkled with sesame seeds and microgreens. The chicken was awesome: juicy and flavorful. Parts of the skin were so crispy crunchy, and I loved that. Jess liked the wings here, too. This plate of wings was a terrific way to start the meal. There was a slight habanero heat factor, but these wings were no challenge to eat: just wonderfully tasty.

Moving down the list, I ordered the Tan Bowler ($9) cocktail.

At Everyday Kitchen, there is a beautiful cocktail called Tan Bowler. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Made with cognac, bourbon, apricot liqueur, salted honey, and grapefruit, the Tan Bowler had a juicy flavor with a nice smooth finish. The drink was well balanced for the amount of alcohol and the splash of tart grapefruit, and I liked the how delicate and elegant the cocktail glass was.

When I saw Everyday Kitchen’s new fall menu, I knew I wanted to try the build-your-own burger option. Diners choose a bun, the number of burger patties, condiments, and extra (upcharge) toppings. I was impressed to see that the choices included a vegan pretzel bun and an impossible burger.

I ordered a burger on a brioche roll with housemade cheese sauce and grilled onions ($12).

On a gray speckled plate, there is a burger drowning in housemade cheese sauce with a side of fries. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The burger had great plate appeal with the drippy cheese sauce. When I ordered cheese sauce, I wanted to see sauce drip — and this delivered. The burger was well done which was disappointing since my server asked how I wanted it cooked (medium rare). I know it’s hard to cook a thin patty like this to order, so why even ask? That said, the flavor was good with a smoky char like backyard grilled burgers have and an epic amount of cheese. The grilled onions were awesome, and the brioche bun soft and fresh. The seasoned fries were fantastic and served with a large side of ketchup.

My husband ordered the espresso and herb rubbed prime rib with savory au jus, horseradish cream, and a Brie and new potato tart ($22). Not exactly the most photogenic dish, the prime rib dinner was portioned for a king: ten ounces of prime rib were served beside the largest side of pastry I’ve ever seen in my life.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The edge of the meat was where the espresso-herb rub was, a little crust of flavor, and the interior was tender. The beef tasted delicious, but it didn’t have the coffee impact that we expected. The from-scratch horseradish cream was seriously exceptional. The sauce was thick and perfectly spicy though it was difficult to pour from the tiny pitcher; I wish it was served as a dollop on the side or in a little bowl. Determined, we still scraped every last bit of the horseradish sauce with a knife. Bites of prime rib with the espresso exterior and a smear of horseradish were the best bites. 

New potatoes, caramelized onions, and cheese were on a buttery, flaky pastry. I liked how the potatoes were soft even though they were cut quite thick. The cheese was centered with softened onions, and altogether, the side was yummy and impressive. I thought it was an interesting side, much more intriguing than a side of mashed potatoes or a dinner roll. I would eat this phyllo potato pizza anyday.

Next, I ordered the Before The Leaves Fall ($9) cocktail which seemed appropriate because it was October — and because I was still thirsty.

On a wooden table, there is a tall skinny glass with a light brown drink . Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Made with rye, cinnamon-apple shrub, and pimento dram served with a dried apple garnish, this cocktail tasted just like apple cider which actually turned me off. I like a little more interest in a cocktail, and this beverage felt one note. All it was was just a lot of fall cinnamon-apple sweetness. My husband liked it, though, and drank it down easily.

In a pretty glass, there is a Fireside cocktail with a white stick. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

I ordered a final drink: the Fireside cocktail ($11) made with Herradura Reposado tequila, mezcal, vermouth, and bitters. It was excellent. I liked all the boozy flavors, especially the intense smokiness of the mezcal. The mezcal’s super smoky flavor went perfectly with the vanilla and agave notes in the top shelf tequila. On theme for a beverage named Fireside, the garnish of a speared Luxardo cherry felt like an homage to a campfire roasting stick, which I thought was cute. 

For dessert, we ordered the tiramisu ($8).

On a white plate, there is a slice of tiramisu topped with a lemon. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

I was a little surprised to see a lemon slice atop the tiramisu dessert, but our server assured us it was how it came. She joked that the lemon dessert didn’t even come with a lemon garnish, just the tiramisu did. 

A twist on the classic dessert, Everyday Kitchen’s tiramisu was a lighter version with a sweet Kahlúa flavor. The cream and soft cakey layers had a nice boozy sweetness with a hint of espresso. If coffee desserts are usually too strong or bitter in your opinion, this tiramisu is for you; but if you’re looking for strong espresso flavor, this is not it. It was a fine dessert, but I would probably order a different one next time.

Everyday Kitchen’s new fall menu offers some good entrees, and the beautiful ambiance definitely makes EK a chic place to linger over modern cocktails and tasty wings.

On a wooden table at Everyday Kitchen, there are two cocktails from the fall menu. Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Make a reservation here, or if you’re not dining in, you can still order curbside pickup

Everyday Kitchen
1807 S Neil Street
W-F 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sa 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Su 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.

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