How to: Eat in Eau Claire

Is Kwik Trip a restaurant?

Sam Johnson

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How to: Holiday shop
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I+know+it%E2%80%99s+the+season+of+giving%2C+but+I%E2%80%99m+broke.

I know it’s the season of giving, but I’m broke.

Meal plan food can get old, home cooking takes time and my kitchen is too small and messy for groups, so I go out more than I’d like to admit.

Eau Claire is home to plenty of food options, so this week I’m going to explore the burgers, burritos and beyond that can be found in Eau Claire.

Breakfast

Tired of Hilltop eggs? Here are a few places to enjoy the most important meal of the day.

I’ve been trying to go to Altoona Family Restaurant for months now, but I rarely wake up before 10 a.m., so there’s always a long wait when I arrive. I’m assuming that’s a good sign since people rarely wait in line for bad food.

The Nucleus is an Eau Claire classic on Water Street. Their omelets are good, plus they have vegan options, but the prices may send you down the street to Kwik Trip.

Chick-a-dees is my go-to for breakfast. Their food is really good and pretty cheap, plus I’ve never had to wait. They close at 2 p.m., though, so you might have to set an alarm.

I’ve never been to Galloway Grille, but I’ve heard good things about their food and bottomless mimosas.

If you’re more interested in a liquid breakfast, Do-Dodge-Inn opens at 6 a.m. every day, a concept I find both hilarious and troublesome. They also technically serve food, with a heavy emphasis on the word technically.

Lunch

As good as teriyaki bowls at Davies are, sometimes it can’t hurt to mix things up.

Eau Claire Cheese and Deli, despite being in a building the size of a Smart car, is home to some of the best sandwiches I’ve had in Eau Claire.

This year has also brought new advancements in Eau Claire’s fast food arsenal. 

Panda Express and Hy-Vee’s Hy-Chi are the newest food options on Clairemont. Both are great choices for American Chinese food.

There’s a Chipotle near campus at last, so students without cars can finally enjoy burritos the size of a small child and pay extra for guac.

Speaking of burritos, El Patio gives chipotle a run for its money in the size and flavor departments. Unfortunately, it also shares Chipotle’s guac — sold separately.

Dinner

Eau Claire, like many Wisconsin towns, is home to an endless supply of bars and pubs. 

Dooley’s is a UW-Eau Claire favorite. Their food won’t impress, but it won’t disappoint or bankrupt you either.

Cowboy Jacks, Northern Tap House and Milwaukee Burger are what I call “parent picks.” They cost more than most college students are willing to spend, so they’re a great choice for when families come to town and pick up the bill.

That may sound greedy, but I doubt your parents are interested in the two for $2.50 deal at McDonald’s, so it’s mutually beneficial.

All three also have reasonable happy hour and weekly deals, so take advantage of those if you can.

Ale House is an underrated bar and grill with all-you-can-eat tacos on Tuesday and fish on Friday. 

Late-night bites

Whether you’re in the midst of an all-night study session or stumbling home from Water Street, you might need something to snack on. Here are some late-night options.

Buzzy’s Pizza is one choice for after the bar closes. Their pizza isn’t fantastic, but it’s edible, which is good enough when everywhere else is closed.

Gyro King is open late and serves a wide spread of options. Gyros (obviously), sandwiches, pizzas, french fries and chicken tenders are available until 3 a.m.

One thing I’ve learned since moving to Eau Claire is how beloved Kwik Trip is in Wisconsin; the Kwik Trip on Water Street is nearly as packed as The Pickle on Saturdays.

Johnson can be reached at [email protected]