Six Carbondale restaurants you don’t want to miss

By Joe McLaughlin

New to campus or just looking to broaden your horizons? Here are six local restaurants you can’t graduate without trying:


Longbranch Cafe and Bakery


100 E. Jackson St.


Sunday-Saturday: 7:30 a.m.-9 p.m.

(Kitchen opens at 8 a.m.)

Heading into its 20th year of business, this European-style café has offerings geared toward vegetarians and vegans alike. The menu is inspired in part by regional agriculture, including local Dayempur Farms. The breakfast, lunch and dinner menu includes main courses like vegan migas, veggie burgers and vegetable Thai curry. This local favorite also has an extensive selection of baked goods and coffee drinks to satisfy any sweet tooth. Enjoy your meal inside on the deck outside.

Manager’s Suggestion: Even if you aren’t a vegetarian or vegan, General Manager Elaine Ramsayer recommends a plate of biscuits and “soysage” gravy. “I always get ‘em with this,” Ramsayer said.



Sabor de Mel

607 S. Illinois Ave.


Summer Hours (Through August 14th)

Tuesday and Thursday: 5-9 p.m.

Friday: 11 a.m -9 p.m.

Saturday: 11 a.m.- midnight

Sunday: Noon-8 p.m.

Regular Hours

Tuesday and Thursday: 11 p.m.-2 p.m., 5- 9 p.m.

Friday: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

Saturday: 11 a.m.-midnight

Sunday: Noon-8 p.m.

Monday: Closed

With food from the land of Samba, Carnival and the Pentacampeões soccer team, Sabor de Mel can give you a taste of Brazil. Everything on the menu is fresh and made from scratch, and on Tuesdays and Wednesdays they offer 10 percent off the main dish. Though Sabor de Mel has only been open for two and a half years, it has quickly become a local favorite with dishes like galinhada (chicken with rice) and tri-tip beef top sirloin.

Owner’s Suggestion: Owner Melba Gastal recommends the tri-tip platter, empanadas, Bauru sandwich, cheese balls and Frango à Passarinho (chicken marinated with lime and a little bit of salt and deep-fried with a lot of garlic).


Harbaugh’s Cafe

901 B S. Illinois Ave.


Monday – Saturday: 7 a.m.-2 p.m.

Sunday: 8 a.m.-2 p.m.

Since its grand opening in 2000, Harbaugh’s Cafe has established itself as a Carbondale institution. This family-owned-and-operated culinary staple prides itself on offering a menu that provides a fresh twist on traditional diner fare. Be on the lookout for the weekly specials, which are a closely-guarded secret and always changing. No matter the weekly special, you can always count on this diner to serve a tasty omelette, breakfast burrito or biscuits and gravy. Good news: after years of being cash-only, this semester Harbaugh’s is now accepting credit and debit cards.

Owner’s Suggestion: Owner Laura Harbaugh recommends the popular skillets, which include potatoes, melted cheese, two basted eggs and your choice of toppings. Another favorite dish is the classic Eggs Benedict, and for the sweet tooth, Harbaugh suggests the french toast.


Abbey La Tour | @LaTourAbbey


Pagliai’s Pizza

509 S. Illinois Ave.


Restaurant/Carryout Hours:

Monday-Friday: 11 a.m.-10 p.m.

Saturday-Sunday : 4-10 p.m.

Delivery Hours:

Monday-Friday: 11 a.m.-9:30 p.m.

Saturday-Sunday: 4-9:30 p.m.

This family-owned eatery has been serving pizza and other Italian favorites for nearly 50 years. Crafted from scratch using family recipes, Pagliai’s provides an atmosphere for the whole family, whether it’s your mom and dad or your Saluki clan. Local favorites include the Pagliai’s Special, a thin-crust pizza with sausage, beef, pepperoni, mushrooms and onions, and the Big Red, a thick-crust pizza with tomatoes and triple cheese. Pag’s now offers online and mobile ordering at

Owner’s Suggestion: Owner Melissa Parsons recommends the pizza by-the-slice lunch special. Why? It’s inexpensive, it’s quick and you can even get delivery during lunch hours. Additionally, Parsons recommends the spaghetti dinner for a hearty, authentic Italian meal.



209 S. Illinois St.


Tuesday-Friday: 7:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m.

Saturday: 7:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m.

Sunday-Monday: Closed

This eclectic eatery offers a little bit of everything to satisfy all tastebuds. No matter if you’re looking for a quick bite, something to satisfy your sweet tooth or a latte for an afternoon pick-me-up, you’ll see why Cristaudo’s has satisfied Salukis for 40 years. We recommend the Truck Stop Eggs, the pesto, provolone and tomato panini or the lavender mocha. Spend time in the spacious cafe with friends, peruse the gift shop and observe the masterful artwork created by local artists and artisans.

Owners’ Suggestion: Co-owners Rachel Cristaudo, Jennifer Rollinson, Leah Maciell and Nicholas Stewart  recommend the biscuits and gravy made with homemade scones and local pulled pork, the original Tempeh Reuben on a homemade marble rye roll and the hand-rolled, hand-cut and hand-iced original pink cookies.


Fat Patties

611B S. Illinois Ave

Burgers and More

Monday-Thursday: 10:30 a.m.-9 p.m.

Friday-Saturday: 10:30 a.m.-midnight

Sunday: Noon-6 p.m.

Takeout Hours

Monday, Wednesday and Thursday: 10:30 a.m.-8:45 p.m.

Friday-Saturday: 10:30 a.m.-11:45 p.m.

Sunday: Noon-5:45 p.m.

Tuesday: Closed

Delivery Hours

Monday, Wednesday and Thursday: 10:30 a.m.-8:45 p.m.

Friday-Saturday: 10:30 a.m.-11:45 p.m.

Sunday: Noon-5:45 p.m.

Tuesday: Closed

During its over nine years in business, Fat Patties has changed the Carbondale burger game. Using grass-fed beef and pastured pork from the local Lick Creek Pork & Beef, local bison from Bison Bluff Farms and in-season produce from the region, Fat Patties is committed to bringing you the highest quality, freshest meal you can get between a bun. You can’t go wrong with a Lick Creek Burger or the spicy Matty Plummer, and don’t forget to get fries with that.

Owner’s Recommendation: Owner Lance Jack said the best thing you can get off the menu is whatever you create. What makes Fat Patties unique is the ability to create your own masterpiece, he said. Want a single, double or triple burger? Loads of cheese? Piles of toppings? Go for it let your imagination run wild.

These are only a few of the many options that await you in Carbondale. Despite the massive construction projects you may see when you’re out and about, everyone is open for business go out and support the unique local businesses that only this town can offer.

Staff writer Joe McLaughlin can be reached at or on Twitter at @jmcl_de.

To stay up to date with all your southern Illinois news, follow the Daily Egyptian on Facebook and Twitter.