Covering the Land of Lincoln

Here are some C-U Black-owned restaurants to support this Juneteenth : SPlog : Smile Politely

There are many ways to celebrate Juneteenth in Champaign-Urbana, and supporting Black-owned restaurants and bakeries with our orders (and patience for waiting times) is one awesome way. When we buy food from Black-owned businesses, we support individuals in our community who excel at creating delicious menus. This intentional celebration of Black chefs and bakers is something that we can do this weekend — and all year.

Check out the curated business directory by Buy Black Chambana. The organization has a catalog of CU Black-owned businesses which includes restaurants, bakeries, retail shops, beauty, services, and miscellaneous. In 2020, Buy Black Chambana launched the 217 Black Restaurant Weekend, and last year, 12 restaurants and bakeries participated.

This year, there is no official event, but here is an alphabetical list of Black-owned restaurants and bakeries in Champaign-Urbana with current hours and information for those who want to support Black chefs and bakers this Juneteenth and beyond.

Photo from Brien’s Bistro’s Facebook page.

Brien’s Bistro

This food truck features tasty menu items like a yum yum chicken slider for only $3. There’s also pulled chicken and pulled pork sandwiches, a meatball sub, hot dogs, loaded macaroni topped with pulled meat and goldfish crackers, coleslaw, and chips. On the menu, you can also find nachos with macaroni on top! The food truck usually posts on the day of where the truck will be, so keep an eye on Brien’s Bistro’s Facebook page.

This Weekend: Find the truck Friday, June 17th at Brookens Administration Center in Urbana from 11 am to 2 pm for lunch, and on Sunday, the truck will be in Mahomet on Juneteenth for dinner service at The Main Scoop from 4 to 7 pm

Caribbean grill

Caribbean Grill is currently closed for the summer, but starting in September when the brick-and-mortar store reopens, find amazing Caribbean cuisine like jerk chicken, rice ‘n peas, and plantains at the Champaign restaurant. Check out Paul’s review from last month, Patrick’s Restaurant Week lunch, or Rebecca’s 2020 interview with owner Mike Harden to learn more about Caribbean Grill.

Caribbean grill
2135 S Neil St
closed for summer

On a brown table at Riggs, there is a burger with dripping cheese beside fries in a white parchment paper lined red-and-white paper boat.  In the background on the wooden Riggs table, there is a mostly full pint of beer.  Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

C&C Kitchen

C&C Kitchen is a food truck with consistently good food, and my favorite bite from C&C Kitchen is the burger topped with beer cheese made with beer brewed by Riggs. The truck’s menu offers creative Southern cuisine and rotates to include different dishes like burgers, catfish, chicken, shrimp & bacon fries, and more. Later this month, find the truck at Riggs on June 25th from noon to 8 pm Be sure to follow the truck on Facebook for updates on where to find the truck.

Inside the CBPB Popcorn Shop, there is a wooden stand holding bags of specialty popcorn.  Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

CBPB Popcorn Shop

This Champaign popcorn shop offers lots of popcorn flavors and a lot of chocolate-dipped items. The popcorn flavors available include both sweet and savory in a variety of sizes. I love the cheesy bacon popcorn and caramel cinnabomb popcorn. My favorite chocolate-dipped item is a tie between the chocolate-dipped Twinkie and the chocolate-dipped Oreos. Read Matt’s interview with the owner Isis Griffin here. Call 217-607-5397 to place your order or stop in the store to see what’s available that day.

Cool Bliss Pop Bliss Popcorn Shop
1506 S Neil St
T-Sat 11 am to 6 pm

Outside in Champaign, Illinois, there is a red food truck with photos of food, a bitmoji of the chef, and the truck's name Photo by Remington Rock.

Come Get This Food Truck

Find this truck usually on Fridays at Starcrest Cleaners in Champaign. The truck specializes in cheesesteaks, horseshoe sandwiches, and Polish sausages of all kinds. Check out Madeline’s review of the truck’s yummy cheesesteak and the Chicago dog and Remington’s 2019 review of the spicy dog, chicken Philly, Baby BOO-BOO burger, and the horseshoe, all with fries. Follow the truck on Facebook and watch for updates on where to get this food.

This Weekend: You can get this great food only today, Thursday, June 17th for lunch from 11 am to 2 pm at Circle K gas station at First and Green Street. The truck has been booked for private events the rest of the weekend.

Dis N Dat BBQ

Have you tried Dis N Dat BBQ in Rantoul? The menu includes a Chicago-style chopped steakburger, deep-fried pork chops, beef brisket sandwich, ribs, pulled pork, rib tips, wings, Polish sausage, Italian beef, sub sandwiches, pot roast, and nachos. The sides menu has classics like honey cornbread, baked macaroni, slaw, black-eyed peas, potato salad, and loaded baked beans from Grandma’s recipe of beef, onions, bell peppers, and dat sauce. There’s a soul food special on Saturdays, too, which includes a build-your-own plate with a choice of meat and two sides. You can call 217-979-1338 to place an order or order online here.

Dis N’ Dat BBQ
112E Congress
TF 3 to 8 pm
Sat noon to 5 pm

Mama Meta’s Canteen

This new restaurant in Champaign serves African-inspired, American-infused food made with high quality ingredients sourced from Central Illinois farmers. Owned by Lauren Mulowayi, this family-run business is named after the chef’s mother-in-law Annie Meta who taught her how to cook Congolese cuisine. Mulowayi’s husband was born in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and together, the couple settled in Champaign-Urbana with his family. Mama Meta’s Canteen operates as to-go only and you can put your order in online. Check out my recent review of the awesome Congolese cuisine. You definitely want to order the samosas with the sweet chili sauce and the chicken mayo which was just incredible.

This Weekend: Put your order in for lunch today, Thursday July 16th from 11:30 am to 4:30 pm

Mama Meta’s Canteen
2302 W John St
Th 11:30 am to 4:30 pm

On a white plate, there are several fried green tomatoes with a perfectly golden exterior flecked with freshly chopped parsley.  Photo by Jessica Hammie.Photo by Jessica Hammie.

Neil St Blues

Neil St. Blues is a Downtown Champaign restaurant serving Southern-style cuisine, and the food is always delicious. The menu includes cheese curds, fried green tomatoes, fried pickles, frog legs, Cajun gumbo, sweet corn and crab bisque, jambalaya, Creole pasta, smoked ribs, shrimp n’ grits, chicken and waffles, fried chicken, fried catfish, fried jumbo Shrimp, burgers, po boys, a double-stacked saucy chicken sandwich, and vegan dishes like vegan jambalaya, oyster mushroom po boy, and a BBQ jackfruit sandwich. Order online to pick up or enjoy your meal at the restaurant.

This Weekend: There is a buffet brunch at the restaurant this Sunday to celebrate Juneteenth plus a Motown jazz concert with a dinner buffet in the evening on Sunday, June 19th starting at 5:30 pm

Neil St Blues
301 N Neil St
T-Th 11 am to 9 pm
F+Sat 11 am to 10 pm
Su 11 am to 7 pm

On a butcher block counter, there is a vanilla bundt cake with cream cheese frosting stripes from Nothing Bundt Cakes in Champaign.  Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Nothing Bundt Cakes

In North Champaign, the Nothing Bundt Cakes bakery sells bundt cakes of many flavors in five sizes: bite-sized bundtinis, individually sized bundtlets, eight inch bundt cakes, ten inch bundt cakes, and tiered bundt cake towers. The flavors are all delicious, but my favorite flavor is chocolate chocolate. Call 217-888-2253, email the bakery to place an order in advance, or stop by the cake shop to pick out a cake in person. All cakes can be customized with decorations, ribbons, and celebratory messages, too.

Nothing Bundt Cakes
408 W Town Center Blvd
MF 9 am to 6 pm
Sat 9 am to 5 pm

On a butcher block counter, there is a takeout order of burger and fries, pulled pork sandwich and fries, cornbread, and coleselaw from Sooie Bros. Bar B Que Joint.  Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Sooie Bros. Bar B Que Joint

The newest place in CU serving barbecue is Sooie Bros. Bar B Que Joint, and the restaurant uses local spicemaker JAPatt for their fry seasoning. Find ribs, wings, burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, chicken, collard greens, macaroni, and more. I like the sandwiches, and I really love the cornbread. The restaurant has been adjusting its menu and hours, so follow Sooie Bros Bar B Que Joint on Facebook for the most accurate information. The restaurant is takeout only. Call 217-552-1305 for pick up orders to reduce your wait time, or just order in person and enjoy the nice waiting area inside.

Sooie Bros. Bar B Que Joint
1201 N Market Ave
T-Sat 11 am to 8 pm
Sun noon to 6 pm

On a white plate, there are sauce up Zambian fried chicken wings from Stango Cuisine in Urbana, Illinois.  Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Stango Cuisine

Stango Cuisine in the Lincoln Square Mall serves amazing food in their Urbana restaurant and at both farmers’ markets. The restaurant holds the honor of the first Zambian restaurant in Champaign-Urbana, and the Zambian-spiced fried chicken wings are incredible. The chicken is marinated in a house blend of seasonings before frying, and the skin is always crispy even under the thick red sauce. Big tastes of garlic and ginger dominate Stango’s wing sauce in the best way. You can also order dishes like handmade beef and vegetable pies, chicken curry with nshima, plantains, Emma’s platter, beignets, and more. Order online or dine in at the Urbana restaurant.

Stango Cuisine
140 Lincoln Square
T-Sat 11 am to 7:45 pm
Su 11 am to 2:45 pm

On a white plate, there is a fried chicken wing with orange cheesy macaroni under the skin.  Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

The Tier Bird

Famous for stuffing sides inside fried chicken wings, The Stuft Bird makes really great fried chicken. The Big Chuck made it into my list of foods to try this June, and I would recommend anything on the small menu as Chef Lawrence Davis is a fried chicken expert. The macaroni stuffed wings are my favorite, but there are also plain Jane wings. Sometimes other stuffing options are available. Be sure to add Tweet’s sauce, the house sauce with a real tangy-sweet heat, to your order, too. Check out the menu here. You can order online in advance or order at the silver truck at the corner of University and Fourth Street in Champaign.

The Tier Bird
104 N Fourth St
W-Sat 11 am to 8 pm
Su 11 am to 6 pm

From above, a pulled pork sandwich in a perfect bun sits in a white paper boat with fries and a thick drizzle of barbeque sauce.  Photo by Alyssa Buckley.Photo by Alyssa Buckley.

Wood N’Hog

This barbecue restaurant has two locations: one in Urbana off University Avenue and one in Downtown Champaign on North Walnut. Wood N’ Hog’s menu includes rib tips, jerk tips, turkey tips, slabs of ribs, hot links, fish, pulled pork sandwiches, pulled chicken sandwiches, hand-breaded fried chicken, and lots of amazing sides. There are daily specials and even a “My Girlfriend is Not Hungry” menu item which adds extra fries and two extra chicken wings to your order. The food at Wood N’ Hog is very affordable and so freaking delicious. I love the fried chicken drumsticks, the pulled pork sandwich, the fried okra, baked beans, and the terrific mixed sauce (half hot/half mild). If you don’t want your fries sauced up, ask for sauce on the side, but I am obsessed with the saucy fries that come with every order. Call in your order (217-367-1018 for Urbana and 217-607-0120 for Champaign) or eat at either location in person.

Wood N’Hog
500N Walnut
M-Sat 11 am to 4 pm

101 W University Ave
Su-Th 11 am to 9 pm
F+Sat 11 am to 10 pm

You can also support these Black-owned home bakeries: Brittany’s Sweet Spot, Niece’s Pieces, and Sugga Shaii’s Sweets which all offer made-to-order desserts.

Top image by Alyssa Buckley.

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