I love breakfast, especially when there are plenty of options to choose from. Coupling that with a nice sunny day, supporting local businesses and small farms, the Urbana’s Market at the Square every Saturday is where all my breakfast dreams come true. I love enjoying the free yoga at the parks in Urbana and hopping over to the Farmer’s Market for some breakfast after. When I got the idea to review to the breakfast options at the Market, I rallied all my breakfast loving friends, and we brought in our own silverware, reusable water bottles and Pyrex for leftovers and turned up at the market at 9:30 a.m.
We wanted to try at least one of the breakfast options at all the vendors but quickly realized that it was impossible to try everything given the variety of options and the number of trucks and stalls, so we decided to try out some hot favorites and some new options that we never tried before. Even though we were a little apprehensive that 9:30 AM might be too early for a weekend breakfast, we saw that there was a decent crowd at all the food trucks and the delicious wafting smells got us ready to eat in no time.
Our first stop was Pandamonium Doughnuts because it looked like they were already selling out. By the time we got to cashier we only had two choices left and chose to get the birthday cake doughnuts ($3 each). The doughnuts were soft, cake-style and crumbly with a well-balanced glaze that had hints of vanilla and a confetti style crumble on top. A lot of my friends like Pandamonium because the shop has a fun take on regular doughnut flavors. I’m not a huge fan of cake doughnuts, but really liked this one because of the flavors mingling to form a solid sweet breakfast treat.
Our next stop was Piato To Go food truck. There was a quick moving line and it had plenty of breakfast and lunch options with a great variety for both vegetarians and meat eaters. We chose the Chihuahua ($6), a breakfast boat filled with paprika spiced potatoes, black beans, fresh salsa, corn, Chihuahua cheese and a fried egg on top. All the ingredients mixed well together, the potatoes were well seasoned and brought a lot of flavor to the dish, the salsa was freshly made but not spicy. It is rare that potatoes can be the highlight in a breakfast dish so if you love potatoes, this dish is definitely worth trying. We easily emptied the container out and had no leftovers.
We dug into the blueberry lemon Danish ($3.50) from the Central Illinois Bakehouse, a food stall run by two welcoming ladies who were taking the time to explain the scrumptious looking baked goods to the throng of visitors, and recommended the lemon blueberry Danish to me. The Danish was flaky, crusty and crunchy with a burst of sharp citrus flavors and a generous sprinkling of blueberries that made it amazing if you liked tart flavors. The creaminess of the lemon custard was complimented by the acidity of the berries.
The Betsy’s Bistro had burgers, wraps and a specials menu with a breakfast sandwich called the Monte Cristo ($5). It came with French toast slices, fried egg, and ham with a side of homemade BBQ chips and maple syrup. Everyone loved the crunchy and even flavored chips, the maple syrup got on the chips and made them even better.
Our table was now covered by a myriad of options, but the MVP was the salted honey pie ($3) from Oh Honey Pie, a brightly colored food truck serving sweet and savory pies. The honey pie was complex with richly dense sweetness and a dash of salt that melted away into brown sugar-based flavors and a very honey after taste. While most of us very doubtful about trying the pie, one bite convinced us all that it was delicious. We also tried the piña colada pie ($3) with creamy pineapple custard, sweet shaved coconut shreds, and a maraschino cherry. Some of us liked this pie more than the honey pie which we were told is their best seller. The bacon and asparagus quiche was pretty good but was served cold. We packed this away for left over and it heated up really well in a microwave at home.
The hungry chief burrito, French toast bites, and tots from Cracked were great. The burrito ($5) came with eggs, smoked chorizo, hash browns, green peppers, onions, and pepper jack cheese with an option to add guacamole for extra charge. It was very savory, and filling and we could not finish all of it. The guac made it delicious and we added some hot sauce to add some kick to it. The French toast bites ($4) were deep fried with soft centers, the cinnamon and eggy flavor of the bread appealed to all of us. The crisp exterior with a soft, fluffy and chewy interior made it even better. They were well seasoned and can be eaten by themselves, but we added syrup to contrast them with some sweet notes. The tots ($3.75) were crunchy, salty and went great with ketchup. The parmesan truffle tots ($4.75) had a whole new element of savory flavors, if you are looking to enhance their already delicious standard tots.
Our hankering for more savory options led us to devour the margherita pizza from Dragon Fire Pizza. When we tried this the last, we all wondered why breakfast pizza was not more of a thing. The crust has a nice crispy edge and satisfying chewiness. The fresh mozzarella and tomatoes had a really nice taste to them, subtle but flavorful with the smoky oven fire taste without any burned or charred flavor to it.
We loved the variety of options and wished we could try more, but our tummies and Pyrex were full. We walked around for an hour shopping for produce and checking out various goods, and we went home happy with the pricing of the options, the large number of choices, great ambiance of being outdoors with great weather, music, and friends.
Urbana’s Market at the Square
Corner of Illinois and Vine
Sa (May to October) 7 a.m. to noon
Photos by Rashmi Tenneti