Downtown lunch hotspots attract students with discounted, delicious meals

As the day drags on and stomachs grumble, one question never seems to disappear: Where to go for lunch? When Taylor Place options seem repetitive and lackluster, venturing out to find new options in the downtown area can be intriguing but intimidating. To draw students out of the comfort of campus, the food not only has to be good, but also cheap. Many close downtown restaurants seem to fit the bill. Here are our top picks for off-campus lunchtime deals:

(Evie Carpenter/DD)

Carly’s Bistro

128 E. Roosevelt St.

A short walk from the downtown campus, Carly’s Bistro offers gourmet food at café prices. Carly’s offers an array of original sandwiches, soups and salads.

This bistro is a great late night choice for students, closing at 2 a.m. on Thursday through Saturday and midnight on Sunday through Wednesday, but is a great lunch option as well.

Carly’s provides a regular discount to students. Although this discount cannot be used on the first visit, this is a great option for returning customers. Students can show their student ID and get a dollar off coupon for the next visit. This can be repeated every time as long as a student ID is shown each time.

(Windsor Smith/DD)

The Hero Factory

114 W. Adams St.

The Hero Factory is a New York-style deli open for breakfast and lunch. Situated on the corner of Adams and First streets, the view has great people-watching opportunities for those who enjoy dining alone. Local police officers also frequent the deli, offering a friendly face.

As the name suggests, the Hero Factory offers heroes, not regular sandwiches. These stuffed foot-long subs are under $8 and could easily suffice for two meals.

The giant portions are not the only generous deal provided. The Hero Factory provides a 10 percent discount for students as well.

(Alexis Macklin/DD)


111 W. Monroe St.

Zpizza is the home of ready-to-order pizzas and pizza by the slice. These are not standard pepperoni and sausage options, though you can get your fix of both of those too. At Zpizza, you can find anything from Thai to Mexican food inspired pies.

The pizzeria also offers salads, sandwiches and pastas. And with gluten-free and vegan options available, there is something for any diet. All of these dishes are quickly made and are great options for students on the run.

Students can receive 20 percent off their purchase when they show their Sun Card.

(Alexis Macklin/DD)

A Touch of Yogurt

2 N. Central Ave.

A Touch of Yogurt is steps away from the light rail stop on Washington Street and First Avenue. Close to both Zpizza and The Hero Factory, this fro-yo shop can provide a refreshing dessert after a filling lunch.

If the idea of a sweet treat wasn’t enough, A Touch of Yogurt has a 15 percent discount for students. The flavors change daily, so a new option is constantly available and can be topped with fresh fruit and candies. The monthly special for January is a hot fudge brownie sundae for $4.

(Evie Carpenter/DD)

Tammie Coe Cakes & MJ Bread

610 E. Roosevelt St.

On Roosevelt Street, Tammie Coe Cakes and MJ Bread have a diverse array of desserts, fresh baked breads, sandwiches and salads.

Luckily, a student discount of 10 percent is available for their indulgent desserts.

Tammie Coe is famous for their decorative cakes and moist, decadent cupcakes, but the sandwiches, iced teas and coffee drinks are also delicious. A loaf of fresh baked MJ bread would be a delectable investment for students to make quick, not-so-normal sandwiches in their dorm room.

Obviously downtown is full of great lunch options beyond what we’ve mentioned here. Let us know where you like to get your cheap lunchtime eats in a comment below!

Alexis Macklin, Amelia Goe and Cydney McFarland contributed to this story.

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