Sometimes, getting through the day feels like a fight to survive. As broke college students, we need to fight even harder. Finding a filling, delicious meal for an affordable price to get you through the day or to satisfy a craving can be tough, especially when generally confined to campus. Fortunately, it’s possible to save some money and locate delicious and affordable spots to grab a bite to eat around campus.

Qdoba Mexican Grill

While Chipotle junkies might disagree, Qdoba gets you the best bang for your buck. For only $8 you can get a filling and healthy meal, packed with proteins and nutrients all bundled up into a delicious burrito or burrito bowl. The plus-side of Qdoba is the free guacamole and queso, which will put you out an extra $3-$5 if ordered at Chipotle. Additionally, the food is arguably on the same scale of tastiness as Chipotle, and it’s centrally located on campus in the Illini Union basement.

Location: 1401 W. Green St., Urbana

Little Caesars

Yes, Little Caesars is another chain and we will get to some smaller businesses soon. But nobody can deny Little Caesars isn’t one of the most affordable businesses around. Located right outside the western edge of campus, Little Caesars is here to provide you with an entire large pizza for only $5. If you have a big appetite and eat the whole pizza, you are getting a larger portion than almost any sit-down restaurant. And if you eat a modest amount of pizza, split one with your friends for only $2.50. While most may argue there are better pizza options out there, Little Caesars is hands-down your best option if you’re concerned with saving money. With great flavor and a constantly expanding menu, you will have no problem fueling your appetite for a great price.

Location: 703 S. Neil St., Champaign

Ko Fusion

Champaign-Urbana’s most popular sushi place lets you choose your own spending price and has a big menu of mouthwatering Asian food that you will certainly enjoy. While there is also a fancier downtown Champaign location, the campus Ko Fusion features $1 sushi every day, giving you the option to spend more or less based on price and how hungry you are. Stop in for a small lunch or a large dinner and pick your own price. This is also a great date option for those who want romance on the cheap. They also offer a variety of soups and stir-fry options, creating a very enjoyable eating experience for a price that will not break the bank. 

Location: 701 S. Gregory St., Urbana

Manolo’s Pizza & Empanadas

A personal favorite, Manolo’s offers some of the best East Coast-style pizza around and a large variety of exquisite empanadas. Three empanadas will only put you out around $7, and while a single one isn’t a massive portion, the foreign cuisine mixed with an unbelievable flavor is entirely worth it. Manolo’s can fill you up for around $10 or even less, and your cravings will thank you for it. Make sure to check out the brownie empanada for dessert — thank me later.

Location: 1115 W. Oregon St., Urbana

Merry Ann’s Diner

Located just around the corner from Ko Fusion, Merry Ann’s Diner brings an affordable, classic dining experience to the University for only around $5. They offer tasty choices from breakfast through dinner, and all for a great price, this includes eggs, hash browns, bacon (or sausage) and pancakes (or toast). They also have another location directly east of State Farm Center on Neil Street for the west-siders. Make sure to drop by this Illini-favorite and enjoy scrumptious food options at one of the most affordable, overall, restaurants in the area.

Location: 701 S. Gregory St., Urbana

About The Author

Ben Tschetter

I'm a walking rock encyclopedia, so that tends to translate into many of my writings. Champaign born and raised. I also enjoy good comedy shows and photography, and I provide the latter for buzz and Daily Illini.

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