As the nation's very first chapter of Spoon University, we at Spoon NU like to think that we know a thing or two about food. Luckily for Northwestern University, we've compiled a comprehensive guide to all things food and drink so that you can "Go 'Cats" without going hungry.
Between all the classes, homework, parties and (sometimes) sleeping at Northwestern, a Wildcat's gotta eat. We've thought of many scenarios that you might face as a NU student, and the eateries that match perfectly - so next time you've got 'diner's block,' remember this list and find a new favorite.
1. You’re craving something sweet: Andy’s Frozen Custard
Andy’s, O, Andy’s, how we love thee! Your neon sign is a beacon of light for all who seek a dairy treat. Your creamy custard blended Concretes are deep enough to bury the sorrows of the toughest finals weeks.
In all seriousness, Andy’s is the gem of Evanston. The famous custard is made in-house every hour (!), so you know it’s fresh, and the topping list is extensive, so you know it’s sinful.
Location: 719 Church Street, about a 10-minute walk from the Arch.
2. You’ve got the 2 a.m. munchies: Fran’s Café
When it comes to convenience, Fran’s gets the trophy. No one wants to walk for miles in the middle of the night, so the on-campus location at 1835 Hinman means south campus people only have to venture outside for 5 minutes before being enveloped in the warm smell of melting cheese between the hours of 7 p.m. and 2 a.m.
Fran’s is seasoned in every late-night craving, from burgers and quesadillas to the best milkshakes in town. The staff members at Fran’s are some of the friendliest people you’ll meet, so be sure to introduce yourself! Head over to Fran’s during the week after a night out or to get some studying done while still trying to be social – the selection surely won’t disappoint.
Location: 1835 Hinman (as of 2016), or Willard Hall (after renovations).
3. You're "doing it for the Insta:" Peeled Juice Bar
Thank Morty for Peeled Juice Bar's abundance of natural light and aesthetically-pleasing wooden tables - it's almost like the place is begging you to snap a closeup shot of your perfectly-prepared açaí bowl. You could forgo the bowls and order one of the cleverly-named, superfood-packed smoothies instead (Berry Bonds, anyone?), but that wouldn't make for a pretty picture, now, would it?Head over on a Sunday morning to detox from last night's mistakes and show off how #healthy you are as you 'gram your Little Miss Sunshine bowl. Be prepared to wait in line with lots of other Northwestern girls wearing yoga pants and a few Evanston moms who just got out of Pure Barre next door.
Location: 940 Church St. or SPAC (Henry Crown Sports Pavilion), each about a 10-minute walk from the Arch.
4. You're craving greasy food: Cheesie's Pub & Grub
Behold the ultimate place to make all your greasy food dreams come true: Cheesie’s Pub & Grub. Conveniently being one of the very few places open past midnight in Evanston - except Sunday through Wednesday when it’s open until 9 p.m. - it’s catered to your late night cravings, but it also means that huge lines can form at those late hours.
If you’re looking for a fun twist on a classic grilled cheese and don’t want to spend too much, go for "The Mac" and enjoy your favorite childhood noodles between two thick slices of bread.
Location: 622 Davis Street, about a 15-minute walk from the Arch.
5. You need to grab lunch for under $10 between classes: Tech Express
Sometimes hunger calls in between classes, and if you happen to be on the north side of campus, Tech Express could be your saving grace. Alternatively, grab some Starbucks coffee or a treat to reward yourself for actually finding your way through the labyrinth that is Tech (non-STEM majors beware: the hallways are never-ending).The little cafe's menu changes daily, but some crowd favorites are the Bacon Avocado Grilled Cheese and the breakfast sandwiches. If you're not in the mood for a full-blown meal, Tech Express has plenty of small snacks and coffee to get you through your next class.
Location: Tech (straight back from the main entrance).
6. Your parents are visiting and they're footing the bill: The Stained Glass
As Northwestern students, we have seriously lucked out with the number of budget-friendly food options in Evanston. Nonetheless, when the ‘rents come to visit, The Stained Glass is the place to be. You can’t go wrong ordering from their menu of upscale American food, and the ambiance kills.
To accompany your baked artichoke and “Tuna, Tuna, Tuna,” get a wine sampler trio and wash away that ever-lingering taste of Franzia from last weekend. Be sure to make a reservation so that you and your parents can bathe in the luxury and swankiness that dining halls just can’t offer.
Location: 1735 Benson Ave, about a 15-minute walk from the Arch.
7. You're trying to be healthy: Whole Foods salad bar
If you’re tired of the salad bar at the dining hall but still want to keep your health streak going, the salad bar at Whole Foods will show you what a gourmet salad bar should look like. It’s loaded with a rainbow of fresh greens and various vegetables along with prepared toppings like marinated tofu, chicken salad, multiple quinoa and couscous salads and more.
Even better, since you pay by weight, how much you want to spend is completely up to you.
#SpoonTip: If you’re trying to save up, resist those heavier veggies; otherwise, go wild and be the kid at the salad bar you’ve always wanted to be.
Location: 1640 Chicago Ave., about a 5-minute walk from the Arch.
8. You're craving authentic Latin American: La Cocinita
Most students who come to Northwestern haven't tried true Venezuelan food yet, but once they do they can't stop coming back. La Cocinita offers an incredible variety of unique flavors, but their specialty is the arepa (a pita-like sandwich made of cornmeal and filled with chicken, steak, or any other manner of savory options).Be sure to try the Reina Pepiada (above right), an arepa filled with chicken, guasacaca (Venezuelan guacamole), tomatoes and pickled cabbage. If you're feeling adventurous, definitely give their house-made horchata a try - the creamy, cinnamon-y rice drink is a great way to start the meal.
Location: 1625 Chicago Ave, about a 5-minute walk from the Arch.
9. You're craving a slice: Blaze Pizza
Blaze is the apple of many Northwestern students' eye. Maybe it's the build-your-own style, the speedy cooking process (180 seconds or less), or the gluten-free and dairy-free options. Or, perhaps it's the price tag: $8.45 to build your own pie. There's truly nothing more satisfying than creating the pizza of your dreams for less than $10. Any way you toss it, Blaze is a great option for a quick and filling dinner that's close to campus.
Location: 1737 Sherman Ave, about a 7-minute walk from the Arch.
10. You're craving a slice...of pie: Hoosier Mama Pie Company
There’s no other restaurant like Hoosier Mama around campus, or maybe anywhere, that serves pies so flavor-packed that they can convert any critic into a pie-lover. Hoosier Mama offers a daily rotating menu of both savory and sweet pies, such as the classic Chicken Pot Pie or Apple Pie
If you’re feeling more adventurous, go for the “Fat Elvis.” This bad boy has a graham cracker peanut pretzel crust topped with bananas and peanut butter and chocolate fillings - a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup on steroids.
Location: 749 North Chicago Avenue, about a 30-minute walk from the Arch or a quick intercampus shuttle ride (just two stops and all you need is your wildcard).
11. You're trying to watch the game: Bat 17
Screw the game - go for the burgers. Sure, there are TVs everywhere you look and massive sports paraphernalia covering the walls, but the food is the real MVP. Bat 17’s menu is pages long and you really can’t go wrong. The burgers come in endless combinations with your choice of sweet potato waffle fries, or…just get the waffle fries. Bat 17 has such a fun sports bar vibe and the burgers are the icing on the cake.
#SpoonTip: If you eat in the original/smaller side, brunch is served all day and the French toast gives the burgers a run for their money.
Location: 1709 Benson Ave, about a 15-minute walk from the Arch.
12. You or your friends don't eat meat: Lyfe Kitchen
With a whole range of vegetarian and vegan options, Lyfe Kitchen is a veggie-lover's paradise. Lyfe offers everything from flavorful flatbreads to their to-die-for veggie burger, making it the perfect place for both a light lunch or a hearty dinner. Don’t leave without trying their garlic parmesan sweet potato fries.
There’s also a handful of meat dishes if you or any of your meat-loving friends are craving that extra protein. And don’t forget their refreshing Lyfe waters and smoothies, perfect for when the weather gets warm.Location: 1603 Orrington Ave, about a 10-minute walk from the Arch.
13. You’re cramming for exams and the library is full: Sherbucks, Peets Coffee & Tea or Coffee Lab
Nothing says finals quite like guzzling coffee while writing a research paper - God bless Evanston and its abundance of coffee shops. Northwestern students are extremely loyal to their spot of choice. For those on North Campus, Coffee Lab is the go-to spot for studying or just hanging out. #SpoonTip: watch out for Coffee Lab's notoriously spotty wifi - but the delicious lattes are worth it.
Starbucks on Sherman Avenue, also known as Sherbucks, is more convenient from South Campus and is always a happening spot, particularly during midterms - so, always.
Peet’s is the constant rival of Sherbucks, also located near South Campus. Peet’s is a much quieter and homier option, but space is limited and so are outlets. No matter your coffee shop preferences, there is undoubtedly an Evanston coffee shop you will defend to your death.Location: Basically everywhere; try them all and find your café-soul-mate.
14. You're looking to explore an incredible city: Anywhere in Chicago
As Northwestern students, we are an inquisitive, adventurous and bold student body. Whenever you find yourself with a few free hours - even better, a free Saturday - take the time to explore the Windy City. From salad vending machines to endless ice cream shops, foodie paradise awaits just steps away from a Red Line stop.
So, Wildcats, go forth and enjoy all the delectable food that Evanston and Chicago have to offer.