“Where should we go for lunch?”
This is a common question that presents itself to the high school students of Central and today the top ten fast food restaurants will be graded by none other than Central high school students. This list has been organized by the average price for a meal at the said location. To keep things nice and simple we will assume a meal is a drink a main course and a side, that is if it’s offered. Another element we are taking into account is the driving distance from Central to the stores location which means we are assuming you have a car to get you from place to place. Lastly we take into account both junior and senior opinions of the foods quality at Central. By the end of the list I hope that you will be able to answer the age old question with ease.
- Little Caesars
The notorious tiny man on the pizza commercials serves up a mean pizza….depending on the day. The main reason Little Caesars isn’t closer to the top is because of how inconsistent their food is. If you order your pizza on the spot and they don’t already have it sitting in an oven then it tastes great. On the other hand if it was made earlier in the day you can expect a pizza that looks like the crust was run over by a tractor and was left out in the sun to dry. It typically doesn’t taste fresh but in a pinch it will do just fine for your pocketbook since they offer a five dollar meal where you get four slices of pizza and soda to go with. While the food is mainly below standards it’s quick since it’s only one mile away and it’s easy which gives you more time to talk to your friends and have fun.
“Eat Fresh” is this franchise’s motto and it doesn’t point their food in a very accurate light. If your are getting a sub that includes deli meat and veggies it is still a stretch to say it’s “fresh”. That being said if your meal includes a sandwich that needs to be heated up you can kiss that diet you were planning on starting goodbye. Subway cons people into believing they’re eating healthy when in reality they’re not. Also their subs aren’t exactly a five dollar, foot long deal anymore. Typically they are now closer to $6.25 which makes the quality a lot more important since it’s more expensive than expected. At the end of your 1.7 mile drive back to Central your Meatball Marinara looks like the sweaty cousin of Jimmy John’s but still doesn’t taste half bad which is why Subway isn’t at number ten but is still close to it.
- Taco Bell
Taco Bell is a personal favorite but it still has its flaws as its tacos tend to remind their customers of a dirty diaper. Something important to keep in mind is their pricing. They offer some really good deals for their horse meat, I mean tacos, which will cost an average of five dollars for more than one thing off the menu. Sometimes the drive thru gets clogged up from that one over zealous customer and makes the wait time take quite a while…which is something high school students don’t have time for. While Taco Bell is convenient and not too far (either 1.8 or 2 miles away depending on which one you go to) the food is meh, but again, good for the bank account.
The infamous burger shop that fixes your meal in a disgusting amount of time is rolling in at number seven. The golden arches that everyone shames serve up a substandard meal for only about five dollars and leaves you hating yourself once you’re done eating it. This iconic burger joint represents everything wrong with the american diet and has your stomach saying “Ba-da-ba-ba-ba…..I give up”, but we can’t help but to devour it. The only reason McDonald’s isn’t at the bottom is because it is insanely addicting and everyone secretly loves it. You would be better off running the 1.8 or 1.6 miles to get there to compensate the garbage you are about to consume.
Why is Chipotle and Pancheros not closer to the top of this list you may ask. Well let’s remind everyone that they had an E. Coli problem not too long ago….that literally killed people. Everyone knows that McDonald’s will most likely shave 15 years off your life if you eat too much too often, but that takes years. The E. Coli killed people within weeks or even days. Unfortunately for Pancheros they got lumped with Chipotle because it is basically the exact same thing except Pancheros is cheaper ($6.50 vs. $7.25 on average). On the other hand Chipotle is closer (1.6 miles vs. 2.2 miles), but more expensive so it really depends on what you’re looking for. The food quality is actually very good considering it may kill you. With a combination of burritos, tacos, and bowls of your favorite ingredients makes the lunch experience worth your while .
- Steak & Shake
The second pick over McDonald’s has Steak & Shake at number five. Let’s face it people the only reason we go to Steak & Shake is because we’re sick of eating at McDonald’s and need a break. Luckily for us Steak & Shake offers more of a variety when it comes to meals since they offer multiple different styles of burgers and shakes beyond our wildest dreams. That being said the wait there is less than desirable and sometimes their sanitation practices are questionable. The store isn’t super close (about two miles away) and their meals average about four dollars. In all seriousness Steak & Shake is a very popular and pretty good place to eat and spend time with your friends.
Another great substitute for McDonald’s leaves Wendy’s leading the burger charge at the fourth spot on this list. Their burgers taste pretty good for fast food standards, but what really sells this stores product and jacks it up closer to the top of the list is the meal for four dollars. You can order the Jr.Bacon Burger, four chicken nuggets, a drink, and fries all for only four dollars! If you’re a high school student looking to save some money and still have a fabulous meal Wendy’s is the place for you. The best part about Wendy’s though might be their frosties. They are very popular (and some people say dipping your fries in them tastes pretty good too). If you ever want to eat at a cheap fast food place just visit this establishment (only about 1.8 or 2.3 miles away depending on which one you go to) and walk away satisfied with your purchase.
Oh Meatheads. We still remember the day when you first opened up and your food was legendary. Ladies and gentleman this is the king of fast food burgers in Champaign and it reigns supreme over the land. Their thick burgers for about $6.50 can fill you up and leave not needing a meal for the rest of the day. We’re not quite sure whether that’s healthy or not, but by George Foreman (the grill that is) we do love it. This meal is placed at the higher end of the spectrum price wise but who cares!? It’s delicious and they even offer a free drink to high school students, so bring your ID’s with you! Another great thing about Meatheads is that they also offer shakes that don’t taste half bad for a burger joint and their fries are to die for. They don’t just fill your container with fries. They fill your container and the bottom of the bag with delectable treats that will leave you wondering why you ever went to McDonald’s at all.
- Niro’s Gyros
Niro’s Gyros: ugly shack on the outside, but a culinary paradise on the inside. At first glance Niro’s Gyros looks like a run down haunted house and smells like a retirement home on the inside, but actually serves up a mean meal that rivals that of fair food. Their food tastes heavenly and is an extremely satisfying meal that will make you glad you went to this sketchy restaurant. Their food is a little bit more pricey (averaging about $6) and isn’t too far away at about 1.8 miles makes it an ideal location for a fantastic meal. Not very many people have heard of this restaurant, but those who have know of its amazing quality and highly recommend it.
- DP Dough
The last restaurant on our list. We’ve been through sweaty subs and dirty taco diapers to lead us to this moment. I proudly present DP Dough. Their food is an inside out pizza (calzone) that is warm and cheesy and even customizable if you don’t like their recommendations. You can get a drink and calzone for $6.50 and it is quite a helping. Even the most competitive eaters find it hard to consume the entire calzone in one sitting. By the end of the day you still won’t need any food because DP Dough will most likely still be in your system. The taste of this food speaks to your soul and will have you wanting more every day (which may not be the best diet choice even for a high school student). Needless to say DP Dough takes the crown over all fast food restaurants in Champaign.
This list, of course, was created by a small population of Central students and is open to criticism. I hope this introduced some new places for you and our friends to try and that you have a wider variety of places to eat because of it. If you disagree with this list feel free to leave a comment as to what you would like to see in the top ten.