Downtown Dining Review

Grace Christiansen

This year brings many exciting changes to Lawrence — not the least of which are the new Bon Appetit catering services. But even with the prospect of delicious dining being a constant, all Lawrentians must admit that sometimes the bubble grows tight and you just want to get off campus for a meal. The following are some of our favorite restaurants around on College Avenue:
Sal’s Pizza
Sal’s offers New York-style pizza in Appleton. A variety of fresh pizzas are displayed, and when you pick, your slice is put in the oven and served piping hot. Sal’s is quick, delicious, inexpensive and open until 3 a.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Essentially, you cannot go wrong. We recommend the BBQ chicken pizza.
Sirocco’s Mediterranean Tapas
Following the wind it was named for, Sirocco’s serves tapas and entrees from Lebanon, Greece, Italy and Spain. This restaurant has a lively atmosphere and is an excellent choice for a longer dinner with friends. Depending on how you order, Sirocco’s can either be predictably expensive or shockingly cheap. We suggest that you go with friends and stay a while.
Taste of Thai
Taste of Thai is as close as you can get to Lawrence without actually being on the campus, but once inside, you feel as though you have left the bubble. The proximity makes it an excellent choice for cold winter nights. It serves traditional Thai food with allowances for the Midwestern palate. The lunch specials are a great deal and the sweet sticky rice with mango is delightful.
Hunan 1
Hunan 1 offers decently priced Chinese-American fare just a block farther down the Ave. than Taste of Thai. General Tso’s chicken with lo mien and a pork egg roll or crab Rangoon is more than enough for two people or two meals. Hunan 1 is great for an American-Chinese food fix and has many choices, big servings and a brand-new Lawrence special.
Victoria’s Italian Cuisine
Italian food that is perfect for a first date or a simple night out with friends or family, Victoria’s is a casual place where formal still fits in. With so many sauces — meat, seafood and vegetable varieties — and several types of pasta, a plate will serve two people or provide leftovers — lots of leftovers. Victoria’s also has the freshest salads and wonderful garlic bread and rolls, which all come with a meal.
Erbert & Gerbert’s:
Erb’s and Gerb’s, just one of its familiar nicknames, is a favorite not-campus-dining lunch choice. It is also great for the before- or after-convocation lunch rush. A great health choice, especially late at night, Erb’s and Gerb’s is open until 2 a.m. Their subs are made with a range of toppings, including avocado spread. A similar restaurant, farther down the Ave., is Jimmy John’s.Katsu-Ya
Katsu-Ya offers two dramatically different dining experiences in one restaurant, plus an atmospheric bar that features happy hour sushi specials. Choose to see showy chefs grill up hibachi meals right in front of you or choose the more serene sushi room, which features a grill-your-own yakiniku barbeque and anime on flat-screen TVs.
Harmony Café
Harmony is a charming non-profit caf***e acute*** and community center that is only a block from campus. Delicious food and drink paired with a strong community and beautiful space make this a favorite among Lawrentians looking to “break the bubble” to study, socialize or listen to live music.
Good Company
Good Company offers American pub favorites with some Italian and Mexican offerings in a quirky and diverse atmosphere. Choose to dine in their rustic bar complete with Packer memorabilia, the main room that evokes the French Quarter or an upstairs library that showcases the owner’s book collection.