Whether it’s breakfast time or 2 a.m. after a long night out at the bars, Merry Ann’s is the perfect place to get the comfort food you crave. With three convenient locations (two in Champaign and one in Urbana) and an extensive and inexpensive menu, this 24-hour diner is more than deserving of the titles Best Breakfast Food and Best Drunk Food.
The original location on Neil St. in Champaign was opened in 1983 by Anastase Pomonis, who named the restaurant after his wife, Merry Ann Pomonis, who passed away from breast cancer in the same year. Its checker-tiled floor and jukebox give the restaurant a quaint, homey atmosphere that many students desire when they’re feeling especially homesick. Customers visit Merry Ann’s at any hour of the day, making it the ideal place to relax and read the news, hang out with friends or even partake in a late-night study session.
When asked if the restaurant gets a lot of business from inebriated customers coming in for a late-night feast, Julia Price, who has worked at Merry Ann’s for nearly three years simply responded: “Oh, yes,” chuckling at the thought.
“That’s why we have a bush out there, so if they ever get sick…” she trailed off, leaving the rest to the imagination.
Merry Ann’s is especially popular with intoxicated folks late at night, because it’s open 24/7, 365 days a year (except the Urbana location, which is closed for Christmas due the lack of students on campus).
According to Price, the most popular food items on the menu are the #4, a meal featuring ribeye steak and the #5—the famous Diner Stack. This dish is comprised of a heaping pile of hashbrowns, cheese, hamburger or sausage patties and eggs smothered in sausage gravy. At night, milkshakes offered in four different flavors are the most ordered items.
The menu features a wide variety of options, including classic breakfasts such as omelets and pancakes, and lunch or dinner options like sandwiches, burgers, hot dogs and salads. À la carte items like french fries and soup can also be purchased if you need a little extra something on the side. Traditional diner desserts like pie, ice cream and root beer floats are also popular.
Merry Ann’s welcomes anyone (at any level of sobriety) to come in and enjoy the wonderful food and atmosphere it has to offer. Refueling there after a long night is worth a spot on any C-U bucket list.