Hot, Fast, and Close to Home

March 26th, 2008

It’s Monday. You have class from 1-5 and then 6-9, so there is no time to cook dinner. What do you do? You quickly list off all the fast food places within a short drive/delivery distance and make your way to one of them. It could be the quick burger joint or maybe its the Chinese buffet, but whatever it is, it hits the spot but you know you’ll feel like absolute shit later. Thats the nature of the beast. So here’s where Keith and I head when in a food-time crunch. What do you like to grab?


1. Wendy’s

This is the clear cut favorite for me and there is a simple reason for that. I spent four years in the college town of Champaign-Urbana and there was not a single Wendy’s. Sure there were two abandoned Wendy’s but thats no good when it comes to ordering your Crispy Chicken Sandwich off the Value Menu. Can anybody explain to me how a Wendy’s cannot only not survive but thrive in a college town? I mean seriously…late night eating after boozing, late night munchies after being one toke over the line, late night hunger between one night stands (I guess thats not actually even a night, but whatever.) Now I’m here in Muncie, which by all accounts is on a much lower rung when it comes to college towns, except when it comes to Wendy’s, since they not only have one at the north end of campus but one at the south end of campus. A whole meal under $5, imagine that Chambana.

2. Jimmy John’s (pre-price hike)

I know prices are going up everywhere on everything, but Jimmy John’s beat everybody else to the punch by quite a few months. Even with the price hike, its still my favorite sub place. There are two located in Chambana and on nice days it was enjoyable to make the short walk to either and grab a sub. But the beauty of Jimmy John’s is they led the delivery revolution on college campuses. Other than pizza places most places don’t deliver, but not anymore. Just about any fast food eatery that wants to thrive on a college campus must have delivery. There are plenty of reasons college kids won’t go get their food and love it delivered: drunk, hungover, high, lazy, tired, just starting to drink. You get the point. Now Jimmy John’s can lead the way in absurd delivery charges with gas at $4 a gallon.

3. Niro’s Gyros

Another eatery from my undergraduate days. The first time I had it I was totally wasted so it undoubtedly tasted delicious. With foods like that there is always some skepticism about going back when you’re sober. Just looking at the gyros they don’t look particularly appetizing, but with enough tzatziki anything tastes great. And trust me, I do mean anything. Its the type of food that tastes awesome the first time down and maybe slightly better on the other occasions through the rest of the day.

And that’s my list. I generally don’t eat much in the way of fast food, not because I’m healthy or anything, but as a poor college student all the extra money goes towards beer.


1. El Famous

El FamousI don’t know when it was but somewhere along the line my dad said, “Hey you want a burrito”? I started with tacos and eventually got my usual “steak burrito no beans 3 green sauces.” Everyone in my family knows that order by heart … its sad. There is something magical about El Famous, there are usually as many hispanic folk as other folks, always a good sign when you’re judging a place’s authenticity. Either that or its pretty cheap, but I’ll stick with my assessment. But yeah, a burrito ALWAYS hits the spot, and even better – they’re open from like 8am until 1am/3am (weekdays / weekends). I am not joking, and this isn’t in a hustling downtown scene, no its the sleepy suburbs. Oh yeah the sauces are delicious and they give you these jalapeño soaked carrots and peppers that are unreal. Check out their awesome website, its design is only reviled by our own in terms of overall beauty and quality.

2. White Castle

Sliders? Whitey One Bites? Whatever you call them you really can’t complain about White Castles every 6 months or so. Lots of people will say, “Hey you can get them from the freezer section”, NOT THE SAME. The freezer doesn’t come with the little perfectly sized boxes that soak up tons of grease from the unbelievably small burger. They sort of taste the same, its close, the same way Coke Light is sort of like Diet Coke. But still no substitute for the occasional trip to White Castle, 90% of the time its pretty gross and umm … lets allude to after effects (ref: nickname sliders). But as soon as they’re taken away you start wondering how feasible a trip to West Virginia for White Castle is.

3. Jimmy John’s

Alright heres a confession, there are two Jimmy John’s within 60 minutes of where I live in DC. One is corporate focused and only open till 7pm with limited hours of the weekend. WTF mate! I’ve drawn up a comparison of the saturation of Jimmy John’s based on my previous addresses, take a look.

JJ Map 1

JJ Map 2Then again Jimmy John’s HQ is in Champaign. Its right in the booming business district … even I can’t say that with a straight face. There was a time when I think both Jesus and I could make a trip to Jimmy Johns, get a sandwich and get back for half of halftime on a Sunday … good times.

4. Five Guys

Great burgers and delicious fries, they even make a decent hot dog. This is something that is horrible for you but wow its delicious, wait is that a theme of this list? Seriously if you make it out to DC or the few other spots on the East coast, give this a chance, or at least gets some fries, that is unless you’re allergic to peanuts.

5. Chick-fil-a

Chick-Fil-A is a pretty solid lunch. It usually hits the spot and you can get like a billion different types of sauce. Its kind of strange but none of them are open on Sunday because its a day of rest. Either way, they pretty much do one thing, and they do it right and quickly. Sounds easy but plenty of other places fail at this same feat.

Tomorrow: Best of the National League

5 Responses to “Hot, Fast, and Close to Home”

  1. Rick

    Gonna side with Greg and I would have thought better of Keith. I mean for a man that is like myself and always ‘thinking Arbys’, how could you leave it off the list? Especially during those wonderful months of the pick 5 for $5.95. We’re talkin two sandwiches, curly fries, a jamocha shake, and perhaps some not so delicious mozzarella sticks for under $6!!!

  2. Nick

    Thank you on behalf of Greeks everywhere for actually using the word “tzatziki.” We’re all sick of hearing things like “white sauce,” “cucumber sauce,” “jiggy-jiggy sauce,” “you know, that stuff, like sour cream, but not” and the like.

    Keep writing, ‘cuz if I didn’t read blogs, I wouldn’t read much.

  3. Theresa

    The Chick-fil-a on Keith’s list won me over I think, except I always seem to want it on Sunday’s and then I get so annoyed that they’re closed. (Although I have to say I find it admirable). And I have to agree on the Five Guys. Pretty darn good…but very bad for you. Although overall, I probably go to Wendy’s the most when I’m being too lazy to cook and need something fast. I can’t eat anywhere else for as cheap. (And they have good non-burger stuff.)

    Gregory, can thank me for his knowledge of tzatziki. Damn what I wouldn’t give to be back in Athens having a real honest to god gyro.

  4. keith

    By me the Wendy’s Value Menu is all around 1.49 … its not like the classic .99 menu .. so the meal that used to be 5 and change is like 7 + and no longer the same value. But yeah good stuff.

    Rick I’m always thinking Arby’s, thats why we got drunk and had those matching tattoos made up. Arby’s was too good for this list obviously.

    Maybe some day we’ll do best marketing unit? And I can bring back the Raaaaanch Tooth.

  5. Becky

    Greg, you are not entirely correct- there are actually three closed, abandoned Wendy’s in Champaign-Urbana. Trust me- every Sunday after a good night of boozing it up I’d remember where I’d seen another Wendy’s that I had not checked. So, I would drive out there hoping to find one of those deliciously square burgers that Wendy’s makes so well. Hoping that maybe, just maybe, they were closed for remodeling and had re-opened only to have my hopes and dreams crushed with the sight of yet another empty, abandoned Wendy’s.

Leave a Reply

Proudly powered by WordPress. Theme developed with WordPress Theme Generator.
Copyright © CadaverBlender. All rights reserved.