There comes a time in every student’s collegiate career when the culinary safety net of the dining hall or Greek house kitchen is unceremoniously pulled out from underneath. Suddenly the fledgling, often broke young adult winds up isolated in an off-campus apartment, peering into a desolate fridge. These are the moments when one comes to truly appreciate the genius that is GrubHub. GrubHub isn’t just a convenient way to order food digitally at virtually any time of day or night — it’s a lifestyle. Once you realize the joy of being able to order food from the comfort of your bed at noon without the shame that accompanies having to speak directly to a human over the phone, the act of GrubHubbing can become quite addictive.
Still, so many resign themselves to the same Evanston standbys, like Cheesies and Sarpino’s. As daring explorers of the galaxy of gustatory options that is GrubHub, my roommate and I decided to compile a list of some of the perhaps lesser-known Evanston-area gems in order to impart our food-delivery wisdom upon a larger audience. The following is a list of the best GrubHub has to offer — all of which we have tried, in order to provide the most trustworthy data possible — organized by purpose and ranked by a function of quality, price and delivery expediency. Happy ordering!
Best for Drunchies:
Delivery: $2.50 (& pickup)
I returned home late one weekend night to find leftover Jet’s Pizza from my roommate’s order sitting on our kitchen table and quickly knew I would never resort to Papa John’s or Sarpino’s ever again. Something about Jet’s puts it above and beyond these options for late-night grub: the sauce is sweet, the cheese is perfectly pizza-ish, and the thin crust and square pie shape make for optimum ease-of-devouring. You can also order sauces for your pizza that beat Sarpino’s offerings any day. I recommend the cheese sticks, too — they’re divine. Plus, Jet’s really “jets” to your front door, meaning you won’t be stuck waiting for much-needed sustenance at 3 a.m. Oh, and there’s no minimum. It doesn’t get any better than this.
Greek Fire Grill
Delivery: $4 (& pickup)
You’ve probably heard of Greek Fire Grill, but if you’ve surpassed it in favor of what you expect to be more satisfying drunken fare, you’ve made a huge mistake. First of all, there’s no minimum, so if all you want is a $2.60 hotdog, you’ve got it. Secondly, where else can you order spanakopita and gyros alongside spicy bacon cheddar fries and a Philly cheesesteak? Perfect for those weird tipsy cravings. Lastly, they delivery so quickly, and somehow everything on the menu is incredible (regardless of your sobriety).
Mustard’s Last Stand
Delivery: $4 (& pickup)
You’ve already culminated an entire evening of bad decisions by succumbing to inebriated GrubHubbing, so why not take it to the next level by ordering your food from a place called “Mustard’s Last Stand”? Honestly though, this is more like the best decision you’ll make all weekend. Mustard’s is your go-to spot for state fair fare like corndogs, bratwursts, nachos, corn tamales, burgers and hot dogs. While it’s only open until 9 p.m., they’re speedy, cheap and reliably fried to perfection.
Best for Dinner:
Delivery: $3.25 (and pickup)
Leona’s has a few locations in the Chicago area, but every meal tastes like it was made fresh by mom. That’s because it’s a family business whose values — authentic, delicious Italian food made with love — shine through in their food. What makes Leona’s awesome is the amount of food you get for your money: most entrées are enormous, and come with a “Lenacake” dessert, side salad and a hunk of bread. From pasta to pizza to burgers, Leona’s has it all, and it’s all delicious.
Wings Over Evanston
Delivery: $0.75 (& pickup)
Track Your Grub
There are several things Wings Over Evanston has going for it that make it a GrubHub gem. Besides the obvious (wings, fried things, unbeatable sauces), there’s also this question: do those delivery guys have wings? They get the food to you so quickly, they must fly through the streets of Evanston! (Sorry.) In all seriousness, never underestimate the value of choosing Wings Over the next time you just need some tasty food, stat. For the especially enthusiastic (or hungry), there is even the “Track Your Grub” option, which alerts you via text as to your food’s exact whereabouts.
Blind Faith’s got your back on those (all too frequent) nights where you’re definitely not down to cook, but don’t feel like assaulting your body with the pervasively greasy fare served by most delivery places. Plus, if you’re vegetarian or vegan, it might just be the only option, anyway. The vaguely New Age, Asian-influenced menu consists primarily of vegetarian versions of favorite dishes like enchiladas and General Tso’s, along with more veggie-focused things like the Stuffed Avocado with Quinoa. Everything is so delicious, you definitely won’t miss the meat. Make sure to try the veggie burger, sweet potato fries and vegan peanut butter chocolate cake!
JT’s Bar & Grill
Delivery: $4 (and pickup)
JT’s claim to fame is its exhaustive menu, combined with the fact that it serves breakfast all day. The breakfast “skillets” beat Clarke’s version any day, and the array of fry varieties is almost dizzying. Perplexingly, they even have a considerable number of Mexican food options (we’re not complaining!). We thought it couldn’t get any better than JT’s ultra-welcoming interior, but it’s a great GrubHub choice for its reliably fast delivery, reasonable prices and solid portion sizes.
Best for Desserts:
Delivery: $3.50 – $4.50
If you thought you’d never taste the glory of a crêpe again after the Norris closure, think again: this Parisian gem of Evanston makes incredible ones and, miraculously, will deliver them straight to your door. Does anything closer to magic exist in this town? Go simple with a sugar or Nutella and banana crepe, or walk on the bougie side with the Mediterranéene (carmelized figs, Chantilly, Madeira sauce) or the Suzette (caramelized citrus sugar, flambée with Grand Marnier). Crepes are filling yet reasonable at around $6 a pop; because there’s no minimum, this can be a wonderfully cheap, fancy dessert.
When’s the last time you pulled a batch of awesome, freshly baked cookies from the oven? How about from a pizza box? Just-8 delivers pizza, but we recommend them for its incredible cookies, which it delivers in groups of four inside pizza boxes. There are the “Oatmeal Kisses” cookies (oatmeal dough, butterscotch chips, crushed Oreos and Hershey’s Kisses), the “White Lightning” (sugar dough, chocolate chips, walnuts, mini marshmallows and chocolate-covered caramels) and five more equally mind-blowing varieties. You can even create your own cookie! They’re all huge and arrive warm from the oven.