Summer is well and truly here. Summers in C-U are for leisurely afternoons and taking full advantage of our town's wealth of outdoor seating. Since I haven’t been to Aroma Cafe since they moved into the space shared with Cowboy Monkey — and now that it is warm enough to sit outside to eat, my partner and I decided to take the dog for a stroll and have a sunny outdoor lunch at Aroma Cafe in Downtown Champaign.


There were a number of tempting options on the menu, so it took me a few minutes to decide on what to order. I eventually settled on the breakfast sandwich ($6.60).

Photo by Rafay Khan.

Breakfast food is appropriate any time of day after all (thanks, Ron Swanson). The sandwich consisted of egg and cheese, grilled on panini bread. I knew it was fresh when it showed up steaming hot. The bread was perfectly crispy and golden-brown. The sandwich would have been a wonderful option for breakfast or lunch, and it came with the option to add avocado, ham, sausage, or bacon for an additional $1.50, although it was delicious as is, too. The sandwich also came with an optional side of hash browns or a banana, and I opted for the hash browns. They were fresh and crispy, giving me the hearty, comforting feeling that typically accompanies a potato side.

Photo by Rafay Khan.

To complement my lunch, I also got a small cold brew coffee ($3.65 for a 12 ounce pour). The coffee carried a natural sweetness and provided the perfect caffeine hit for a warm summer day. It wasn’t overly assertive, and considering the time of day, I found it to be more refreshing than a warm coffee may have been. It was the ideal pick-me-up I needed to go back to work motivated.

Photo by Rafay Khan.

On the other hand, my partner did not shy away from a hot drink despite the weather and opted for an Americano ($3.30 for a 16 ounce cup). The espresso drink was smooth and relatively mild, ideal for a mid-day pick-me-up. The coffee was very comforting and certainly an item I would enjoy the next time I visit.

Photo by Rafay Khan.

Of course, I couldn’t visit a café and not sample a sweet treat, and so I opted for a slice of carrot cake ($3). The cake was deliciously moist and had the perfect level of density. Crunch from the walnuts in the cake really added an ideal textural element to every bite. Perhaps best of all, the cream cheese frosting was delightfully rich but not overly sweet — a rare balance to achieve. In fact, it had the perfect level of sugar to complement the spices in the cake.

The outdoor seating really allowed us to soak in the warm summer day while enjoying our lunch, and we found the whole meal to be very affordable. We thoroughly enjoyed our trip to Aroma Cafe and likely will be back there pretty soon, maybe this time for breakfast, or to sample some of their other lunch options.

Aroma Cafe
6 Taylor St,
Champaign
M-F 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Sa-Su 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Top image by Rafay Khan.