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Jurassic Grill: a casual campus burger spot

The pandemic has certainly changed the restaurant business, including and especially when it comes to takeout orders. We are fortunate in Champaign-Urbana to have a wide variety of places that have adapted to getting food orders to customers, whether it’s curbside pickup or contactless delivery. I have been able to try new-to-me restaurants, and one that rose to the top of the list was Jurassic Grill. I kept seeing it when I would place an online order, and finally, it was time try Jurassic Grill.

When it comes to campus eateries, I tend to only do pickup or delivery, making special exceptions when I can actually go to the restaurant and dine in (pandemic notwithstanding). Jurassic Grill is located in the heart of Campustown on Green Street between Fourth and Fifth Streets. If you can easily walk or bike there, ordering takeout is a breeze. For most townies, online ordering is the better bet.

Jurassic Grill’s menu is not overly complex and its fare is straightforward: burgers, hot dogs, fries. They’ve paired it with a catchy dinosaur theme.

On Green Street in Campustown, the exterior of Jurassic Grill has a big window with an illuminated OPEN sign. Photo by Zoe Valentine.

Photo by Zoe Valentine.

Ordering with my spouse, we got the following: the brontosaurus burger (which is under their double patty burgers subsection), an herbivorous burger (under the vegetarian subsection), a side of regular fries, and a side of bacon cheese fries. They have a variety of other types of fries, as well. All of their menu items are a la carte — including sauces on the side.

Our order arrived in a relatively timely manner although the fries were on their way to cold. We didn’t have high expectations on that; it’s almost impossible to think you’ll get hot fries when someone else is bringing food to you, but the burgers were still nice and warm.

On a white plate held by a white person's hand, there is a styrofoam square container with cheese fries and beside it on the plate is a cheeseburger with bacon slices showing. Photo by Zoe Valentine.

Photo by Zoe Valentine.

The brontosaurus burger ($8.99) had two quarter pound beef patties, cheese, bacon, black forest ham, and a fried egg. A real meal on a bun with three different kinds of meat! We ordered this burger with the usual condiments you might expect plus tomatoes, pickles, and grilled onions.

All of the meats and the egg were on the brontosaurus burger, but the tomato slice was very thin and the pickle slices weren’t much better. Are Jurassic Grill’s profit margins so thin that they will go extinct if they give the proper amount of condiments? We pulled out ketchup, mustard, mayonnaise, and pickles from our fridge and doctored the burgers to our liking. This burger was good after fixing it, and it was pretty satisfying.

On tin foil, there is a black bean burger with the slightest amount of toppings. Photo by Zoe Valentine.

Photo by Zoe Valentine.

The herbivorous burger I ordered ($5.49) just said “Choose as many toppings as you want!” and there was no indication of what kind of vegetarian patty I would be getting. That is kind of a bummer since there actually is a variety of veggies and spices one might receive. I asked for ketchup, mustard, mayo, and grilled onions on mine.

When I removed the top bun to my veggie burger so I could take a photo, I was disappointed to see that the only topping that had been given were the grilled onions — and they were done well and were tasty! But my veggie burger was overcooked, and there was the scantest amount of ketchup, mustard, and mayo on the bun. My burger patty turned out to be a black bean patty that had been mixed with quite a bit of peppery (likely Cajun) seasoning. It was not overly flavorful, but the burger was decent.

On a white plate held by a white person's hand, there is a burger beside a paper cup of fries. Photo by Zoe Valentine.

Photo by Zoe Valentine.

The regular fries ($2.49) were, in this writer’s opinion, nothing to write home about. They were fine as a vehicle for dipping sauce (in my case, ranch), and I finished them.

In a small square styrofoam container held by a white hand in front of a light blue fleece blanket, there are fries topped with orange cheese and bacon crumbles. Photo by Zoe Valentine.

Photo by Zoe Valentine.

Despite the generous bacon and cheese toppings, we didn’t finish the bacon cheese fries ($4.69). It could have been the temperature, or it could have been the quality of the cheese which was the typical neon orange cheese sauce you’d expect from a fast casual place. My husband found a staple in the fries container which sealed the deal on whether he could finish them.

All told, this food can best be described as good drunk food: if you’re out late on campus and you have a hankering for a burger and fries that won’t break the bank, Jurassic Grill is the place to go. The burger restaurant is open until 3 a.m. most days.

For us, it wasn’t my favorite, but fortunately, we are not short on good burger places around town.

Jurassic Grill
404 E. Green Street
M-Sa 11 a.m. to 3 a.m.
Su 11 a.m. to midnight

Top photo by Zoe Valentine. 

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