I love Downtown Urbana. There are dozens of local businesses to support, all within walking distance. You truly can make an entire day of it. Many local restaurants and bars with live music are in Downtown Urbana. There are clothing, furniture, grocery, and footwear stores. There is even an art gallery.
When the weather permits, I really like to walk around Downtown Urbana taking in the laid-back vibe and admiring the historic buildings and architecture. Oh yeah — and find a place to eat. So when I heard our niece was visiting for the day, I thought it the perfect excuse to walk around Downtown Urbana and pick up some lunch for her, myself, and my wife. Where could I go where I could get both sweet and savory dishes that pack well for a lunch to go? The answer was Rick’s Bakery and Café.
Rick’s Bakery and Café has been around for 10 years. Rick’s began on Philo Road in Urbana before relocating to their current location at 124 W Main in Downtown Urbana. They are family-owned and make cakes, pastries, and breads from scratch daily.
You can tell the freshness by the great aromas and taste of all their products of which I’ve had many. But Rick’s is much more than just a bakery, they have many wonderful savory items that are made fresh daily.
Burritos are available starting at 11 a.m. at Rick’s Bakery.
My niece and wife both wanted chicken burritos ($6) for their lunch. These burritos were made to order. When I opened these at home, the first thing that struck me was how large they were and generously stuffed with chicken, beans, rice, lettuce, cilantro, tomato, and sour cream. You can choose your salsa (served on the side). We had a salsa verde that was outstanding. It had a nice tangy flavor, and the heat was nicely balanced.
The tortillas were nice and warm from being cooked on the flat top. The chicken was really good, but the star of this burrito were the beans and rice. The flavor of the beans was off-the-charts great, and rice was cooked perfectly. I would be extremely happy just eating the beans and rice in a bowl by themselves, but putting them in a burrito really elevated the entire dish.
I had two tamales ($2 each): one chicken and one mole. Their mole and vegetarian tamales are both vegan and gluten-free. First, can we talk about value? $2? There was a gentleman who ordered six tamales while I was there, and I don’t blame him one bit. These tamales were wonderful and served in the traditional corn husk. Both tamales had great flavor and texture. You can tell a lot of effort went to making the masa and mole. The mole was dark and rich. The chicken had the same great flavor of the chicken burrito. I would have ordered more, but I had cake to eat!
Next up, I had a corn empanada ($3). This was also vegan. This empanada was a wonderful bite of food with crisp dough on the outside and nice and moist on the inside. The filling was corn, onion, and to my pleasant surprise, poblano peppers. If you have never tried a poblano pepper, this would be a great way to start. They are much more flavorful than a regular bell pepper and don’t have the heat of a jalapeño pepper. The onions added a nice balance of sweet, and the corn flavor popped. It is hard go wrong with all these ingredients wrapped in a nice pillowy dough.
When I go to a steakhouse, I always order steak. In keeping with that theme, I pretty much figured it’s a rule I must get some baked goods from a bakery. Not that I need to rationalize it (but maybe I do).
First up on the baked goods was tres leches cake ($3.50/slice). It was a sponge cake soaked in three kinds of milk with fruit in the middle. Need I say more? Ok, I’ll say more. The cake I had came with strawberries and had a wonderful cream in the bottom of the container. The sponge was light and airy with a wonder vanilla flavor. The frosting was very good with the perfect amount of sweetness. The strawberries were outstanding and really made the cake what it is. The sponge held up to the cream it was sitting in, and I really enjoyed dipping every bite into that cream and sopping it all up. What didn’t get sopped up, got drank, and it was better than drinking the milk left in your bowl after eating your favorite cereal (Cap-n-Crunch with crunchberries for me).
We ended with New York cheesecake ($3.50/slice). This cake was made with cream cheese with a graham cracker crust. Typically, I get some type of fruit or topping with my cheesecake, but Rick’s does such an outstanding job, I really enjoyed having just the cake. It really was quite incredible. It had a nice layer of denseness right across the top and back of the cake and yummy soft cheese in the middle. The crust was great, and I could tell this was made from scratch by the superior flavors and textures. It was an excellent way to finish off lunch.
You can get Rick’s cakes by the slice as we did, or if you want to impress your family, friends, or co-workers, you can order whole cakes.
If you want bread, pastries, or cakes, Rick’s has it. If you want wonderful savory dishes, Rick’s has it. If you need specialty items or whole cakes that will wow everyone, Rick’s has you covered. Their items are all high quality and a great value. Plus, you’ll support a locally-owned family business.
You can carry out as we did or dine in at one of the tables in the bakery. If the weather permits, do yourself a favor and walk around Downtown Urbana. Be sure to listen for the clock tower chimes at the top of the hour; it is one of life’s simple pleasures.
Rick’s Bakery and Café
124 W Main Street
T-Sa 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.