The Off Campus “Meal Plan”

After reading an article shared about Ricobene’s Steak Sandwich (here’s the article) I thought students ought to know about a few other popular spots near campus.

I am originally from Massachusetts and have lived in Bridgeport for three years.  During my three years I have eaten everywhere in the neighborhood, here are my favorites:

Bakery—Impallaria

If you don’t think Impallaria is the coolest bakery in town then you’re wrong, dead wrong.  Impallaria has been serving up fresh Italian baked goods since 1950 and the experience shows in how worth the guilt the treats are. While they are famous for their chocolate cake donut I am a frequent éclair and cannoli guy.  The cannoli selection is more limited than the all time world’s best cannoli of Mike’s Pastry in North End Boston, but the ricotta levels are on point.  Also, throw out what you know about éclairs before you walk in.  This monster is a quarter pound of custard.  At only a few bucks beware of your waistline.  Located at 30th and Wallace it’s a great weekend stroll (especially if you walk there by 29th because Bridgeport’s charming neighborhood vibe from our campus’s pseudo-urban feel).

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Mexican/Fast Food–Carbon  

Authentic? Eh.  Crave-worthy? YES!  Weather you order from their website, GrubHub, over the phone, or walk in you’re gonna have a good time.  If you like steak and elote don’t waste your time with anything other than the Stelote Burrito—it’s exactly what it sounds like.  Need some savory spice in your life?  Get roasted red pepper sauce with everything and put it on everything. 26th and Princeton if you’re going in person.

Italian—I’m torn here

Want a cool date spot close by? Go to Franco’s.  Being from Boston this is exactly what I expect from an Italian restaurant: small, the grandmother’s recipes are made by her grandsons and served by her granddaughters; all while she watches from her chair in the corner.  Take a date, take a friend, its ten minutes from the res halls at 31st and Princeton.  Lastly, get the gnocchi, that is all.

Want a lot of food right now?  Order from Mangia Fresca.  This place is actually owned by the cousins of the Impallaria owners.

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Coffee

A lot of people like Bridgeport Coffee.  They roast their own beans which makes then a bit more in line with current coffee trends, but forget about the story behind your beans and focus on what’s important: taste.  Drop what you’re doing and go to Jackalope.  Jackalope coffee has a great atmosphere of chaos and the coffee is stellar no matter what your get.  Like it hot? Agave Latte.  Like it Cold?  They have Stumptown Cold Brew Coffee on tap—yes tap.  It’s on 32nd between Halsted and Emerald.  Here is a photo of one my lattes with a foam teddy bear.  These guys and gals don’t mess around with coffee.

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Ice Cream and Ice

While there are not many options, we don’t need many.  If you want ice cream go get some with a side of doo wop from Scoop’s.  The owners are the same as Mangia Fresca so you can always pair your Butter Pecan ice cream with some decent espresso.  31st and Wallace, cash only.

Can’t handle the Ice Cream? That’s fine!  Grab an Italian Ice from Ferro’s just across the highway on 31st.  It’s also a grill/greasy-spoon so you can get cheese fries on the side.  This is also a cash only establishment.

Late Night

Even been craving burgers and fries at 4 am?  Me too, its fine, no need to admit it out load. Maxwell Street Depot is 24 Hours a day and cheap.  The fries come unsalted, but do not fret!  If you need some sodium to feel warm and fuzzy about your spuds they have it on the windowsill to add as you desire.  Only catch is you have to bring cash.  The walk is short here from dorms as it is at 31st and Canal.

I hope this helps you in all your dining endeavors.  May your food journeys be plenty and delicious.

Max Wiese, Applied Mathematics

Tired of winter? So are we…

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With all of this talk of more cold weather ahead, our students are turning their attention to the day they will once again reap the benefits of a Chicago summer. First-year mechanical engineering student, Kevin Hupp, reflects on the warmer days to come:

One advantage of attending IIT is that we are very close to downtown Chicago, and the city provides many things to do both day and at night.  A less advertised, and closer attraction to IIT is Lake Michigan and the 31st St. Beach – JUST ONE MILE FROM IIT!

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As a lifelong resident of the Chicagoland area, visiting Lake Michigan has always been a part of my summer time activities, and nothing has changed that in my time here at IIT.  Throughout the first few weeks of the fall semester, while the Chicago August weather has recently been reaching record highs, Lake Michigan becomes an oasis with a balmy wind and ice cold water.

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As the weather begins to cool off, jogging and biking along the lake is perfect break from studying.  Also as an added bonus, the lake front trails are almost exactly a mile from campus, so no need to worry about keeping track of the distance on your way to or from.  Need a bike?  Even if you don’t have a bike with you on campus, the cost of renting a Divvy bike from either of the two stations located on IIT’s campus is only $7 for a whole day.  As you travel up the trails along the lakefront you might pass sights such as the Burnham Harbor, four popular Chicago museums, Navy Pier, North Avenue Beach, and maybe even the Lincoln Park Zoo if your legs will take you that far.

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When the weather starts to get cold here in Chicago, the activity by the lake comes to a temporary halt.  The occasional fitness crazed individual may be seen making a jog to the lake front, but for the most part, the residents here at IIT stay in the comfort of their heated residence halls and enjoy indoor activities. As we enter March, the countdown has begun to the dog days of summer and the mass exodus of Chicagoans to summertime on Lake Michigan (cue Kanye’s “Homecoming”).

Kevin Hupp ’17

Robotics Club at Illinois Tech

As a high school student, I was a participant in the FIRST Robotics Competition (FRC). FIRST was the best part of my high school career, and it solidified my choice to follow a path in a STEM career and inspired me to give back to the organization. Without my participation in FRC, I would not be at Illinois Tech, and definitely would not be on this career path.

In high school, I had the time of my life working with my fellow students on a team where our goal was to build a robot in six weeks. In addition to the engineering and science-related skills I gained as a part of my high school team, I also gained a lot of leadership, presentation, and public relations skills during the time I served as my team’s captain.

 

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My high school robotics team – FRC NeoBots 2903 from Arlington, Washington

 

When it was time for me to decide on a college, aside from finances and programs available, one of the defining factors of my decision to attend Illinois Tech had to do with the opportunity to pursue my passion for robotics during my collegiate career. While many universities have collegiate robotics teams, I was excited to learn that Illinois Tech’s team has a threefold purpose:

  • building awesome robotic projects
  • creating an exciting and hands-on learning environment for all students regardless of academic background
  • giving back to the local community through volunteer service and philanthropic projects benefiting FIRST Robotics, the very organization that had helped shaped me as a person

Illinois Tech Robotics is also a leader in local and national FIRST activities, and many of it’s members have achieved great things at IIT and beyond.

When I arrived at Illinois Tech, I was beyond excited to join the team, and was amazed to find out how much fun it would be. I’ve gotten to work alongside many very talented students, staff, and faculty at the university, and I’ve made some great friends along the way. Even though I chose to major in Physics Education instead of an engineering discipline, I’ve still been able to continue my learning in the field of robotics and get a ton of hands-on application to some of the things I’ve learned in class.  I’ve also been able to compete in robotics competitions in a ton of cool locations (I took a trip to California for a competition last year!), as well as volunteer at FIRST events around the Midwest. More important than the cool robots or service hours earned are the awesome people I’ve had the chance to work with. There’s nothing quite like scrambling to get a part of your robot working when you have a match in 10 minutes or going out to dinner with a bunch of your best friends after an exhausting 45 hours of volunteering over three days.

This year, I’m excited to continue my involvement in Illinois Tech Robotics. I’ve gotten the opportunity to help with major event planning for hundreds of students through the volunteer work we do with FIRST. I’ve also had the chance to coordinate volunteer efforts and social media for the state of Illinois with FIRST as well as help coach my own high school robotics team in a nearby neighborhood that allows students in the city to have the same great experiences with the program that I had as a high school student. If I hadn’t gone to Illinois Tech and gotten involved in our campus community, none of these awesome opportunities would have been available to me, and I wouldn’t have the experience I have now as an educator and leader that will benefit me greatly in my future.

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Illinois Tech Robotics at the 2012 Jerry Sanders Design Competition

-Kori Bowns, Illinois Tech Class of 2015

 

Check out IL FIRST here!