Daily Egyptian

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 www.ourpags.com.

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 jmclaughlin@dailyegyptian.com or on Twitter at @jmcl_de.

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4 Responses to “Six Carbondale restaurants you don’t want to miss”

  1. Soo on August 15th, 2017 12:02 am

    Not of these are good they are the worst restaurant in the town .

  2. D. Loveless on August 15th, 2017 1:10 am

    You forgot New Kahalas! They are the best restaurant in town! I’m honestly surprised they didn’t make the list. They have amazing food and staff, serving large portions for the best prices. They are open late and even deliver. All their food is made to order with fresh ingredients. They consistently make 100% on all their inspections. It’s a shame that more people don’t go there. They are currently part of a group collecting crushed cans for a local homeless man. They are just overall a great restaurant that deserves more praise for how amazing they really are.

  3. Jenny on September 5th, 2017 3:32 pm

    A fair beginning of a proper list, but I suspect you aren’t as familiar with Carbondale as some. Why stop at six? You forgot:

    7. El Greco’s!!!! They made delicious authentic Gyros in Carbondale well before the rest of the nation even knew Gyros existed! And their fried mushrooms are so delicious, it’s hard not to scarf the whole bag in no time! Can’t get that just anywhere!

    8. Italian Village, for goodness sake, the oldest restaurant in Carbondale, with a history a mile long to prove it!

    9. Quattros Deep Pan Pizza!!!!! How the freak can you forget Quattros!? They are a Carbondale staple! Been around for ages!! And the pizza is delicious!!!

    10. Aban’s Kitchen, with it’s delicious authentic Yemenese cuisine, and it’s special section for eating on floor cushions. One of my favorite places to eat regularly! The service is sooo polite and they don’t even look at you weird for not pronouncing things right!

    11. Keep going up the road there to Thai Taste for some great curry, which is supposed to be good for your noggin. Thai food is one of the big eating trends, in case you missed it.

    12. Further up and around the corner, another Carbondale staple: Tres Hombres! Tres has been around since I was a tot! Delicious Mexican style food! Huge burritos!

    13. The Flame has some of the most delicious meals I have ever tasted, a nice place to take your date or your Mom and Dad, and they know how to mix drinks!

    14. The Global Gourmet is right next to Longbranch! If you’ve never been there, you are missing out on some gourmet food! Had a charming romantic six course service à la russe style dinner there around Valentine’s Day! Not their usual fare, but you have to go there to find out what they have planned.

    15. The Newell House: an adorable cafe with a charming ambiance and an equally charming menu that has something for everyone, and has The Grotto just underneath it, where students can catch the best local musicians up close and personal, in a cozier venue than a standard bar, and look brilliant for knowing about it!

    16. Pita Alley at the Murdale Shopping Center is a cozy little Mediterranean restaurant. A great place to meet up for a healthy, delicious Mediterranean luncheon!

    17. Kaya sushi restaurant, there where McDonald’s used to be, just down from Harbaugh’s cafe, so I don’t know why you don’t know about them! Not a chain! Had sushi, and soup there several times with my family! Authentic food done right, every time.

    18. Because grown-ups Impress their dates by taking them to Hunan Village! The classiest Chinese restaurant I have ever been in, and we have it right here in Carbondale! The food is authentic, and prepared and plated with excellence! The service is fantastic! The decor is imperial!

    Did I forget a favorite?
    Thanks for mentioning New Kahala, though. Good people, and it’s has great Chinese take-out!

  4. Jenny on September 5th, 2017 4:00 pm

    … I have to admit, I have never eaten Longbranch’s Thai. I don’t remember it on the menu. Pretty good omelettes, though. and great coffee!

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