Gracenotes Champaign: Za’s and Jupiter’s

By grace.g.yang ยท October 9, 2008
Under: Cheap Eats,Lunch,My Life

So, I’ve been in Champaign for all of 14 hours and I’ve already been to THREE restaurants (two of them were on my list and one was just for a quick breakfast). I started off my Champaign pizza adventure with Jupiter’s Pizza, a downtown bar (with pool tables and food). My brother, David, introduced me to Jupiter’s and we used to pick up the pizza bianco all the time. Our ritual during the holidays was to pick up a pizza bianco, pick up a movie at Hollywood Video, drive home and eat pizza and blueberries while watching a movie (FYI: it was AWESOMEZ). Since I’m only in Champaign for three nights (two days), I have to take advantage of the little time I have here, so I landed, checked into my hotel, and called Jupiter’s to place an order.

Wednesday night, 11:45 PM: Audrey picks me up and drives me to Jupiter’s

Surprisingly, I barely remembered how to get to Jupiter’s (located on Main Street in downtown Champaign) and we had to look it up on my blackberry. I’ve only been gone from Champaign for two years and a half years and I’ve already forgotten all of the street names! ANYWAY, we arrived at Jupiter’s and I popped into the bar to pick up our piping hot pizza’s.

My pizza bianco:

The pizza bianco comes with olive oil, mozzarella/provolone, onion, spinach, artichoke hearts, garlic, oregano, and basil. It’s all on a cracker thin crust that kind of resembles a hearty saltine and the combination is absolutely amazing. I’m not a fan on onions on pizza, but Jupiter’s cuts the onions into little pieces that aren’t stringy (which makes a difference when you’re eating pizza!).

Audrey ordered the barbeque chicken pizza with barbeque sauce, mozzarella/provolone, chicken, and onions. She wasn’t that hungry, but really enjoyed the pizza and ate about half of her personal pizza (they’re only 9 inches).

Jupiter’s is freaking awesome because 1. the pizza actually tastes really good and 2. they are FREAKING CHEAP AS HELL! A personal pizza is freaking $6.50 and on Wednesdays they have some deal (it’s not listed on the website but when I called in, the guy that took my order gave me $1.50 off EACH PIZZA!!). MAN I MISS CHAMPAIGN!

Thursday morning, 7:45 AM: Drive to Atlanta Bread (which looks EXACTLY like Panera bread) and order a honey wheat bagel and lite cream cheese. The lite cream cheese doesn’t taste like anything and I’m upset with myself that I wasted a meal on Atlanta Bread.

Thursday afternoon, 12:15 PM: Meet up with Audrey and walk to Za’s (which is now known as MiaZa’s but the food is exactly the same and the logos are all still Za’s). Order a custom pizza (with a whole wheat crust!) with pesto sauce, roma tomatoes, pineapples, jalapenos, and mushrooms.

Thursday afternoon, 12:20PM: Wait patiently for my pizza to come out of the scrolling oven. It looks delicious!!

Here’s the pizza:

The whole wheat crust kind of fell apart and I would’ve preferred a plain crust, but otherwise, it was absolutely great. The pesto at Za’s is better than pesto I’ve had from restaurants (and I’m pretty sure it just comes from a can). Audrey ordered a panini that she thoroughly enjoyed and I also had a side of tomato basil soup (which I would’ve liked more if it wasn’t cream based).

Tonight, I’m going to hit up custard cup and maybe hit up Tang Dynasty or Monical’s. It’s surprising how much freaking GOOD PIZZA IS IN CHAMPAIGN!!!

I’ll be back with another update of my Champaign adventures later tomorrow!

Reader Comments

That pizza bianco looks fabulous. I’m a sucker for thin crust and spinach!


Written By Megan Smith on October 9th, 2008 @ 8:56 pm

I wonder how much money I gave to Za’s in Champaign…

Written By brian on October 20th, 2008 @ 7:00 am


Are you a fellow Illini? I ran across this blog from SeriousEats and it’s great to see fellow Illini in NYC.

Written By Larry on November 18th, 2009 @ 12:50 pm

I-N-I! Not only did I go to UIUC, I also grew up in Champaign! Thanks for stopping by, Larry!

Written By grace.g.yang on November 18th, 2009 @ 12:54 pm

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