Pekara Bakery & Bistro (Champaign, IL)

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This weekend I hopped in the car and took the too-long trip to visit my boyfriend, Kyle. We spent most of the weekend just relaxing, doing homework, and catching up with friends (I somehow got convinced to watch the “Breaking Bad” finale, even though I’ve only seen the first 2 episodes of season 1…) However, we took a quick break during the day on Saturday and decided to hit up a local bakery and cafe downtown.

Location and Atmosphere

I really love downtown Champaign. The whole reason we decided to get lunch was because there is an amazing bookstore (Jane Addams) nearby. Pekara is located on a street of interesting shops (book and vintage stores) and bars often with live music. The atmosphere of Pekara is extremely laid-back. You order at the counter and grab a number, get your food in around 5 minutes, and bus the table yourself.

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There are a some tables inside, but it was too gorgeous out, so we sat at one of the tables on the sidewalk and watched. There’s more seating in the back in one of my favorite alley ways in Champaign (yes – I have a favorite) laced with hanging light-bulbs. Because they sell coffee and delicious pastries (I for some reason didn’t get one…foolish), it’s a great place to study at one of the few comfy chairs in the back. Small, but cozy.

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not so patiently waiting for my lunch

Unfortunately, our lunch was not that great because there were two employees outside the whole time bitching about another worker. Definitely didn’t set a relaxing mood, but it was entertaining to listen to random gossip. (Someone here “isn’t taking their job seriously enough and constantly showing up late” and the woman talking is pisssssed.)

Food

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Kyle ordered a Cuban sandwich and I decided to eat a strawberry, bacon, walnut spinach salad. Overall, the food was disappointing. We were pretty sure Kyle’s sandwich was supposed to come with chips, but it was served as just the sandwich. However, the Cuban was delicious! (One of the best things about Kyle is he always shares his food – if you can grab a bite fast enough. That kid eats quick.) Their bread was fantastic.

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don’t interrupt this man while he tries to eat

My salad was rather plain and I didn’t like the dressing at all. I would have preferred candied walnuts, goat cheese, and a fruit vinaigrette. All in all, I wish we would have used our money (around $15 total) and just bought some of their delicious looking pastries and a loaf of bread. With the money we spent, I think we could have made better sandwiches and salads at home.

Overall

Service: 5/5

Food: 2/5

Value: 2/5

Atmosphere: 2.5/5

Cost: $

If you’re planning to visit, it’s probably best to just grab a pastry and coffee. However, with so many delicious restaurants in the area (and a cupcake place just around the corner), I’ll probably go somewhere else next time. I’ve been here before and enjoyed a crepe, so perhaps it was just a bad order. But all in all, neither of us where too impressed. However, when you’re eating with your best friend, it ends up still being a pretty good meal. *cue awsssssss*

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Not in Champaign, but I miss this day

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