Sun Singer Wine & Spirits

Sun Singer Wine & Spirits
1115 W. Windsor Road, Champaign
217-351-1115
http://www.sunsingerwines.com

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sun_singer_signSun Singer on Windsor Road in Champaign is a retail wine and spirits store, combined with a deli, bar, and a restaurant. They sell craft beers, hundreds of different spirits, and over a thousand wines. Betsy and I have had drinks at Sun Singer once or twice, but have never gotten around to going there for lunch. We’re glad we finally did—we’ve been missing out all this time.

Our intent with this blog was to highlight food around the area, but as an ex-restaurant manager (long ago) I still pay lots of attention to cleanliness, décor, bathrooms, etc. This place is spot on. The bathrooms were spotless (they even have a unisex bathroom, which is way cool), and the restaurant itself was clean as can be. The tables and chairs were sturdy (nothing worse than a wobbly table at lunch) and all-in-all the dining experience was made better for me because of all of this.

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I ordered a Reuben sandwich with French fries. It was delicious. The toasted marbled rye bread wasn’t hard as a rock, but firm enough that the bottom wasn’t soggy. It had the perfect amount of meat and sauerkraut and cheese and dressing. I loved the shoestring French fries and my sandwich came with just the right amount of them. I hate nothing more than finishing up lunch and then having a half-pound of fries left over.

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Betsy got the smoked salmon club (sans bacon). I think her words were something along the lines of “best sandwich she’s ever had” or some such. She also got a cup of mushroom and brie bisque soup and said it was “delicious.”

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I have to admit that the bill was slightly pricey—it was over $30 (not including tip). Well worth it, of course, but more than I’d want to spend on a daily basis for lunch. Overall a definite thumbs up. We’ll be back.

Oh, another testament to how cool this place is–a year or so ago I was commenting on Twitter about how a certain liquor retailer was out of Lagavulin (16 year Scotch). Sun Singer contacted me within minutes and said they had a bottle in stock and would hold it for me. If that’s not smart service, I don’t know what is!

Food: 5stars
Atmosphere: 5stars
Service: 5stars

Dos Reales Mexican Restaurant

Dos Reales
1407 N. Prospect, Champaign
217-351-6879

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dos_reales_signDos Reales, often just referred to as “Dos,” is a Mexican restaurant on North Prospect in Champaign, and has been around our area for quite a long time. While other similar Mexican restaurants have come and gone (Mas Amigos, for example), Dos has weathered the test of time.

They serve standard Mexican-American food, and their six-page (six!) menu offers up just about every combination under the sun: tacos, tortas, burritos, chimichangas, fajitas, quesadillas, steak dishes, chicken dishes seafood dishes, etc.  It’s a bit excessive, and could probably be whittled down to a page or two and folks would be just as happy with their available choices. There’s also a reason I eat out at restaurants and don’t run them.

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Like other Mexican restaurants they start you off with freshly made chips and salsa. Well, one of the bowls has salsa in it, but I think the other one is just chopped tomatoes as it is plain red and I see no other ingredients of any kind. We usually mix them together and add some green El Yucateco to it to spice it up.

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Betsy and I have tried many of their various offerings over the years, and have always come away happy and with a full stomach. I enjoy their burritos and quesadillas, and of course one can’t go wrong with lunch fajitas, which while I don’t have scientific numbers to back this up, appears by casual glance to be one of their more popular dishes. Chicken or steak slices are grilled with tomatoes, peppers, and onions, and served with small tortillas on the side, and the diner then builds their own fajitas. Fun and delicious, I guess.

While the menu seems similar to many of the other restaurants of the same genre we’ve visited over the years, we really have no complaints. The food is good, comes out of the kitchen quickly, and is always very hot. I wish their salsa was spicier, and that they had homemade hot sauces instead of just stuff from the grocery store, but I also realize that most of the world doesn’t necessarily like everything to be ridiculously spicy like I do. All-in-all I have really nothing but good things to say about Dos Reales, and I don’t think most local lunch diners will be disappointed with their fare.

Food: 5stars
Atmosphere: 5stars
Service: 5stars