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9 places to dine near Drake University

Thousands of students head to the Drake University campus as classes get set to commence for the fall semester. And they're all going to get hungry.

Here, a look at nine restaurants in the Drake neighborhood that serve up everything from diner fare and sushi to breakfast and pizza.

Dig in.


1315 31st. St.

This clubby sushi bar also serves Thai fare as well in a sleek and very blue setting. Yes, there are rolls and nigiri. Yes, there are sushi boats for large orders of sushi. Yes, there are Asian fusion dishes such as coconut shrimp, Mongolian beef and chicken or beef in a black bean sauce. Try the yaki udon, a Japanese noodle dish, or the pork chop marinated in a special sauce.

Mars Café

2318 University Ave.

This independent coffee shop with a space theme serves up breakfast and lunch dishes such as sandwiches, salad, soups and more. Do try the peanut butter and banana sandwich with just a touch of honey. For breakfast, the Space Cowboy French toast with a poached egg and To The Moon French toast are just some of the items that make the menu.

Hoshi Sushi

2314 University Ave.

Look for sushi and Japanese entrees at this Dogtown neighborhood restaurant swaddled in red. The minimalist interior mimics the approach here. Try the tempura and teriyaki dishes, or order up one of the 40-plus specialty rolls including the Drake with tuna, crab, mango and cream cheese that’s deep fried.

Jethro’s BBQ

3100 Forest Ave.

The legend of Jethro all started at Drake University, where the wood-fired smoker churns out pulled pork and chicken, smoked sausages, shaved turkey, brisket and those baby back ribs. Head here on Saturdays and Sundays for brunch with four-egg omelets, biscuits and gravy or the Jethro breakfast with a tenderloin topped with hash browns, three eggs and more.

Drake Diner

1111 25th St.

It’s almost as if you never visited Drake University if you skip out on the Drake Diner. Hearty American fare makes up the menu from morning until late at night. Grab chicken and waffles or chicken fried steak and eggs from the breakfast all day menu, the Maytag burger or the rarebit open-faced burger with a spicy cheddar cheese sauce or one of the blue-plate specials such as meatloaf or hand-carved roast beef or turkey served from 5 to 10 p.m.

University Library Café

3506 University Ave.

You can always tell your parents that you’re studying at the library instead of going to this neighborhood bar. The nachos here are legendary, but do try one of the burgers or some sandwiches such as the French dip, pulled chicken sandwich or Reuben. The restaurant also serves breakfast, so start the day with a Texas melt with bacon, eggs and cheese on Texas toast or breakfast nachos topped with eggs, bacon, sausage, onions and peppers.

Bordy’s at Drake

3018 Forest Ave.

This little brother to the south-side's Bordenaro’s appeals to the heart of every college student with its pizzas, pastas and sandwiches. Order the Bordy’s special with sausage, pepperoni, beef, capicola, mushrooms, onions, green peppers and black olives. Pizzas can be ordered as a pie or by the slice.


1205 25th St.


Gyros, baba ganoush, hummus, shawarma and all things Greek and Mediterranean make the menu at this tiny counter-service restaurant in the middle of the Drake neighborhood.

REVIEW: Hats off to the Gazali's superlatives

Woody’s Smoke Shack

2511 Cottage Grove


Cheryl and woody Wasson dish out their award-winning barbecue including championship baby back ribs. Beef brisket, pulled pork, smoked ham, pulled chicken, smoked turkeys and pork loin are just some of the other proteins to make the menu, but do be sure to order a side of corn bread.

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