Last week we popped down to Champaign for a couple of days, me to vacation and Laima to work the Illinois Marathon expo. I took the kids to some museums, the Arboretum, and the Public Library (which is fantastic), spent some time by the hotel pool, and managed to get out for some decent craft beer and pizza.
For lunch Friday, we headed over to Destihl Restaurant and Brew Works, me for the craft beer and the kids for the root beer floats they were promised for dessert (unfortunately, Destihl does not brew their own root beer like many brewpubs are doing nowadays). The kids menu in general is pretty good, with a huge fruit bowl as a side option. Always nice when fruits and veggies are offered to the kids. For lunch I ordered the Shredded Brussels Sprouts Salad, which sounded unusual and tasty: sun-dried cherries, mandarin oranges, red bell peppers, candied applewood-smoked bacon, red onion, maple and jalapeño bacon dressing. My beer flight consisted of the Juicy Juicy Mango IPA, Black Angel Stout, and the Roadblock Red Ale.I initially didn't think the beers were all that great (especially the IPA, which wasn't particularly redolent of mango), but the beers became more lively once tasted with the food. Those three definitely are food beers, which is a good thing, but had I just tasted them on their own I might have been disappointed.
Beautiful decor, plenty of seating, and free parking next door in the parking garage with validation - nice package. Beers were decent, food was good, service well-meaning but not polished. Definitely worth a visit when in Champaign.
For dinner we went to check out Vinny's East Coast Pizzeria, located in what looks like a former bank building, complete with working drive-up window. Nothing fancy, but a menu that seems endless, though as with all pizzerias it seems, veggies are given short shrift. We ordered pizzas and calzones and enjoyed it all. There's a lot more to the menu than those two, but why go off on a tangent? Great crust, a variety of sauce options, plenty of ingredients to make your dream meat pizza. Being close to the campus, I'm sure this is a student favorite.
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