Red Herring

  • Vegan Vegan
    ( 7 reviews )

1209 W Oregon St (at basement), Urbana, Illinois, USA, 61801

This long-established vegetarian turned vegan restaurant in 2014. Daily specials. Laid back, college atmosphere in the basement of a moldering old church building on campus. Hosts live music and open mic. Open Mon-Fri 9:00am-2:30pm, Wed 5:00pm-8:00pm, Thu 8:00pm-11:00pm.

Categories: Vegan, American, International, Organic, Take-out

7 Reviews

First Review by RonCann

Love - Edit

Great menu options, very tasty food.

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Perfect lunch stop - Edit

Wish I'd been vegan while I went here; I would have lived in this little cafe! Very chill atmosphere, lots of seating, good-sized menu with lots of varying options. I had the falafal pita and the cole-slaw, and it was delicious, reasonably priced, and relatively quick considering I came in during the lunch rush. It wasn't super clear what the beverage options were (not written on the menu), so I had a La Croix, which is great, but I would have gone for hot tea if I'd known whether or not it was an option. They're closed for the rest of this coming week, so I'm glad I got to try it, and if I'd had luckier timing I would have come and tried a lot more over the next few days!

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Good atmosphere - Edit

We came here on a Tuesday just before the lunch rush. There were a ton of choices, but the employee at the counter was happy to help us decide what to order. You can take it to go or eat it there, and we decided to eat it there. The service was fast, but while we waited, all we could hear were pots and pans clanging. That, however, was the only bad thing about our experience, because the food was really good. I took part of my hummus and curry sandwich to go, and when I accidentally spilled water on it, it still tasted really good! Basically, aside from the noisy kitchen, everything about this place is solid.

Pros: Inexpensive, Good atmosphere

Cons: Loud

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Stopped here for lunch on the road - Edit

I had the chili cheeze nachos and they were amazing! They had a little kick to them which I liked. My parents had the avocado olive sandwich which they said that they would order again. The pricing is about the same as Panera, they have a pick two combo

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loooove it - Edit

Love everything about it and everything I've tried. Wish it were open on weekends and for more dinners! Anything with the curry sauce is delicious but you really can't go wrong here.

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Love the new menu! - Edit

I've lived in the CU area for 7 years and have seen the Red Herring go through a few rounds of management. I have thoroughly enjoyed all of my meals and visits under the newest leadership.

As someone who eats a vegan diet, I sincerely appreciate their innovative dishes and commitment to variety. There are a few staples I always look forward to ordering, like the falafel or BBQ seitan, but I almost always end up getting one of their specials, which are always delicious.

Red Herring and the Channing Murray Foundation also provide a vegan-style atmosphere committed to community and social justice -- the location and vibe of the Red Herring really embodies what they are doing with their food.

The only areas of criticism I have are that music performances aren't always appropriate for the lunch hour because people are trying to meet over lunch, or study between classes. I understand music is a big part of their venue, but perhaps save it for dinner events. Also, some portion sizes are pretty small for the price, but I'm usually okay with it because staff seem to be paid a living wage, and put a lot of time and love into their food. I'd rather spend a few extra dollars for what Red Herring serves than get a cheap, basic meal somewhere else.

Keep up the great work, Red Herring -- you are an asset to campus and our community!

Pros: Campus location great for vegan lunch!, Fantastic variety of delicious dishes, Community-supportive atmosphere

Cons: Some portions small for price, Live music during lunch too loud

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Funky but chic - Edit

The Red Herring has been serving vegetarian food since 1976. The building it is housed in is a 100+ year old Unitarian church arts & crafts building on the national registry of historic buildings. It is a non-profit organization.

The food is lacto-ovo with many vegan options. Expertly prepared by hand every day from as many local ingredients as are seasonally available. They are now serving dinner on Friday and Saturday from 6-9PM as well as lunches from 11Am-3PM. The second Saturday of every month is a special chef's table dinner utilizing ingredients purchased that day from the local farmer's market almost entirely.

Pros: made from scratch , local food, very affordable

Cons: service can be slow at peak lunch time

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