Picture this: your last exam of the day is finished. While every other student plans on leaving at the stroke of 12:45, you drag your feet. Why bother rushing? Practice doesn’t start until four, and as an unlicensed underclassman, you’re stuck at school until practice begins. It’s not like you plan on doing any homework during the break, and while crashing at Skyline for an hour sounds tempting, it’s bound to be overrun by other SUA students in the same situation. Besides, is it really a good idea to eat a three-way before running hills? Have no fear! Here, in no particular order, is a list of the best places to eat after school within walking distance of SUA… other than Skyline.
1. Cafe DeSales
Cafe DeSales is located on DeSales corner (2885 Woodburn Avenue), less than half a mile away from SUA. They boast an extensive coffee menu, serving both hot and cold drinks, as well as breakfast sandwiches, paninis, and salads. If you’re looking for a lighter snack, the cafe also sells a variety of prepackaged granola bars, yogurt, and candy bars at the counter. Cafe DeSales is on the pricier side, as a sandwich costs around $7 and their coffee ranges from $1 to $4.75. However, the environment of this small coffee shop is hard to beat; customers are greeted by chalkboard menus, soft lighting, floor-to-ceiling windows, and vibrant paint, creating an artsy, bohemian vibe. Whether you’re looking to grab a coffee before school, work on homework over a latte, or simply hang out with friends before practice, Cafe DeSales is the place to go.
2. O Pie O
O Pie O is situated caddy-corner to Cafe DeSales at 1527 Madison Road. While this quaint pie shop has a rustic, IKEA-esque interior and a well-kept outdoor patio, their limited food options are expensive. A regular grilled cheese costs $11, and if you’re planning on purchasing an additional slice of (delicious!) pie, a drink, and leaving a respectable tip, your meal will total around $20. That being said, their pies, albeit expensive, are absolutely delicious. O Pie O is known for their honey vinegar pie, which sounds strange but is their best seller. Lemon bar pie and dark chocolate pie are always available, along with a variety of savory pies such as Quiche Lorraine and Empanadas. They have other pies that rotate every month, and in the spirit of St. Patrick’s Day, their March specialty is Shepherd’s Pie. If you decide to head to O Pie O, skip the “real food” and head straight for a signature pie. Also, keep in mind that O Pie O is technically a Bar + Kitchen, so be prepared for some mid-afternoon Prosecco-sippers.
3. Taco Casa
If you’ve ever looked beyond Skyline, seen Taco Casa, and written it off as a sketchy, low end taco shop, you’re not alone. However, Taco Casa offers a variety of tasty Tex-Mex dishes at relatively low costs. Their menu includes burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, and, of course, the award-winning taco salad, all of which are under $10. They also have a make-your-own taco menu, with fillings such as chicken, chorizo, cheese, lettuce, and onions. Caitlyn Clements ‘21, a Taco Casa survivor, says that the food “looks and smells interesting, but surprisingly tastes delicious… and you get your order really fast.” In fact, Taco Casa even catered for Kairos in January. Is their taco salad really the world’s best, though? That remains up for debate, but when it comes to delicious, convenient, low-cost Americanized Mexican food, Taco Casa is hard to beat.
4. Urbana Cafe
Urbana is a coffee shop chain local to Cincinnati, and their newest location happens to be on Woodburn Avenue, only two blocks away from SUA north toward DeSales Corner. Their menu consists mainly of expensive coffee (anywhere from $3 to $5 a cup), but they also offer a limited selection of baked goods such as scones, tarts, croissants, and breads, ranging anywhere from $3 to $5 as well. While Urbana is not pet friendly inside, they always have a water bowl outside during the summer and dog treats available for purchase at the register in case you plan on bringing your furry friend. Urbana’s Walnut Hills location is small and minimalistic, which is meant to encourage connection with others rather than with technology. Their mantra? “Bring a friend, come hungry, and leave the computer home.