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Springfield’s cheap eats: The guide to eating frugally while at UIS

Having been in Springfield almost two years, I can remember vividly those endless nights eating out with my friends from school and the Governor’s office. Late nights following the legislative session, celebrating weddings and birthdays, and studying, food has always been a great excuse to get together and catch up on our lives. Had I known I was going to encounter such mind-blowing, delicious tasting treats, I would have prepared myself better! As I got ready to think of what to write about for the Guide, I thought, what better way to introduce new students to this town than through food? Here are some of my personal favorite restaurants – which also happen to be some of the cheapest places to grab some grub.

Mexican

La Fiesta (2830 Stevenson Dr., Springfield, IL 62703)

Close to campus, this eatery has something no other Mexican restaurant in the local area has – which is excellent food at a more than reasonable cost. You can get one of their delicious lunch specials 11 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Mon. through Sat. for $5.25. With endless chips and salsa to snack on before your entrée arrives, your friends and you will have plenty to talk over while you wait for your food. For the 21 and over crowd, Tuesdays and Thursdays are half-price margaritas; frozen varieties at $1.99, and $4.99 jumbo margaritas Fridays.

Thai/Vietnamese

Little Saigon (1531 Wabash Ave., Springfield, IL 62704)

If you’re a fan of noodles, rice or spicy curry sauce, Little Saigon is the place to go. Dishes start at a modest $7.25, with a lunch special from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mon. through Sat. at $6.55. Don’t be frightened by the price tag – your meal comes out in a large portion, which can be your lunch the following day. Friendly waiter staff and a relaxed atmosphere make the experience special. Try out the Panang Curry or the General Tso’s Chicken if you want a kick in your palette. For vegetarians, the spicy dish or basil fried rice will please taste buds.

Coffee

Andiamo (204 S. 6th St., Springfield, IL 62701)

This little café is truly a gem in downtown Springfield with a very urban-edge ambiance. Ideal for brunch or lunch, their southwest omelette is a modest $6.50 and their paninis start at $7.50.  Best part about Andiamo is that if you bring in an empty mug, you can fill your coffee up for just $1. That’s a real steal for all college students studying, working and in need of caffeine.

Bakery

Incredibly Delicious (925 S. 7th St., Springfield, IL 62703)

The best desserts in town are here – and they are, in fact, incredibly delicious. A bakery located inside a quaint building, Incredibly Delicious features made from scratch sandwiches and soups, danishes, croissants, cakes and more. This local favorite has every type of dessert you have been craving for and dreaming about. You can get a great lunch and dessert under $10 here.  I highly recommend their apple danishes – a perfect dessert to satisfy a sweet tooth.

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