Photo by Mary Kroeck
It’s not always easy to stay awake in class without a balanced breakfast or hearty lunch. For those taking evening classes, finding a place to grab a bite around campus can also be a challenge. However, there are some neat places in the area to eat, drink and not break your wallet.
The Local Pizzeria, 3352 W. Foster Ave.
Black and white photographs cover the walls of this rustic, chic eatery that’s a quick 0.5 mile walk from campus. This BYOB Italian restaurant offers thin crust pizza by the slice, fresh salads and paninis at great prices. Around lunch time, you can get a slice of pizza, side of soup or salad and a can of pop or bottle of water for less than $7. They also offer free WI-FI and are open until 10 p.m. every day of the week. The veggie pizza, offered by the slice, is delicious; it’s covered in mushrooms, onions and fresh greens. This is definitely a great local alternative to its neighboring eatery — Subway. Delivery is also available.
Beijo De Chocolat, 3334 W. Foster Ave.
Just a few steps away from The Local Pizzeria is Beijo De Chocolat, the closest coffee shop to the campus. Though their treats are a little on the pricey end (a single piece of chocolate is nearly two dollars), one piece can be supremely satisfying. These award-winning chocolates are nicely paired with a cozy and welcoming atmosphere, making the price well worth it. Some of their specialties include the Strawberry Rose, a heart-shaped dark chocolate filled with strawberry ganache and topped with rose petals and the Hunka Hunka Burning Love. The latter chocolate is inspired by The King of Rock ‘n’ Roll and consists of dark chocolate with caramelized bacon and peanut butter topped with banana chips. There are also peanut butter cups and a wide variety of other milk and white chocolate treats to choose from. Though the hours of this place make a visit more of a great mid-day outing (after Labor Day Beijo is open 7 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday), grabbing a bag of Beijo Boo Boos – about six pieces of slightly imperfect chocolates that still taste incredible for less than half the cost – and sharing them with friends makes for a lovely afternoon for chocolate lovers. Yes, there’s also free WI-FI.
Outdoor Café, 3257 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.
The name of this place is a little deceiving. A 0.6 mile walk from campus, Outdoor Café is actually an indoor restaurant with upscale patio furniture on the inside as its décor. Offering sandwiches, bubble teas and deserts (especially for the amount of food they serve), a full meal runs around $10. Outdoor Café is also a great place to take a study break with friends or grab a bite and read a book solo. They have a bookshelf full of games like Apples to Apples and Jenga. There’s also free WI-FI. The only downside is there’s generally a limited amount of staff on hand so if there’s a crowd, it may take a while to get your order. If you’re patient, it’s worth it. Outdoor Café is also open 11 a.m. – 12 a.m., seven days a week.
May Flower, 5249 N. Pulaski Rd.
It may not be the prettiest looking place to grab a bite, but with a few tables and chairs and some delicious food on the inside May Flower can be a great option for lunch or dinner. Open from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. every weekday, May Flower offers all of your typical Chinese cuisine – egg rolls, chop suey, soups, egg foo young and more – with most items running under $10. They also offer delivery. The chicken lo mein is exactly what you would expect – chicken and tons of veggies over pan fried noodles. It’s about a mile from campus, but the filling, fresh portions can really hit the spot, especially on a chilly day.
Bryn Mawr Breakfast Club, 3401 W. Bryn Mawr
Even though this local favorite will have to eventually move, due to the impending NEIU eminent domain lawsuit, for the time being The Bryn Mawr Breakfast Club is less than a 10-minute walk from campus. This restaurant is one of the only places to get brunch around campus, making it a North Park community staple and a favorite of many at NEIU. Offering various kinds of French toast and pancakes as well as omelettes, skillets, tacos, burgers and more; there’s pretty much something for everyone on their menu. Most dishes cost around $10.
Our Staff Also Suggests:
Merla’s Kitchen. 5207 N. Kimball Ave.
Chosen by: Rut Ortiz, Editor in Chief
“I love the chicken stir fry with white rice – I loved it because it tasted hot and fresh off of the stove. Reminded me of a home cooked meal which is awesome after a long day at school.”
Midori Japanese Restaurant, 3310 W. Bryn Mawr Ave.
Chosen by: Alejandra Franco, Sports Editor
“The service is always great, and the sushi is always fresh!! It can get a bit pricey, but once you try the different sushi, you’ll understand why.”
Two Asian Brothers, 3222 W. Foster Ave.
Chosen by: Robin Bridges, Social Media Manager
“I’d say it’s more of a family favorite. My daughter loves the wings. My parents love the fried rice and noodle salad. And my brother and I love the bubble tea.”
*Please note all distances are calculated from the main campus address, 5500 North St. Louis Ave.