The bar area at Cafe Paradiso. BILL LACKEY/STAFF

A little taste of paradise in Urbana

In the mood for some great Italian food? A visit to historic downtown Urbana may be just what you’re looking for.

The Cafe Paradiso building has had many owners since the 1930s, yet most have upheld the proud line rich in tradition by implementing a form of the original name, “Paradise Lunch.”

In 2007, Patrick and Patsy Thackery opened their family restaurant with the intent of continuing the revitalization of the historic downtown by presenting the district its first dining menu of Italian cuisine.

Inside this classic Italian setting is seating for 50 guests. Upon request and availability, you can choose the “Rowdy Nook” that seats six visitors with limited interruption. The owners warmly ask for your presence, “Whether it’s a fun time out with friends, a family event, or a romantic evening, come as you are or dress for that special occasion.”

The Cafe Paradiso menu has quality spirits, lunch and dinner lists. The gluten-free pastas and “Daily Specials” address customer concerns for healthy meals and tight budgets.


  • Coca-Cola products, coffee or Pelegrino (Italian water) — $2
  • Italian soda (in many flavors) — $4
  • After-dinner drinks — $5.50 to $6
  • Beers, imports or microbrews — $2.75 to $7.50
  • Lighter styles, white or red wines — $5.50 to $30


  • Zuppa (Soup): “Soup-of-the-Day” or Roasted Tomato Soup — $3/$5.
  • Insalati (Salad): Side Salad — $3; Italian Chef Salad — $10. The “house” dressing is a Rafano (a mild horseradish and basil dressing).


  • Sandwiches (with chips): Italian Grilled Cheese — $8; Sicilian Meatloaf — $8; Paninis — $9.
  • From The Oven (with salad): Gourmet Pizza — $8; “Tony Cheese” (Mac ‘n’ Cheese) — $8; Calzone — $9.
  • Pastas (with Italian bread and soup or salad): “Create Your Own Pasta Lunch” — $8; Mushroom Ravioli — $12.


  • Antipasti (Appetizers): Mussels in White Wine Sauce — $12; Antipasti Plate (imported Italian meats, cheeses, & relishes) — $15.
  • “Daily Specials” (with Italian bread and soup, or salad): Monday, Lasagna; Tuesday, Spaghetti with Two Meatballs; Friday and Saturday, specials change weekly.
  • Entrees (with Italian bread and soup, or salad): Paradiso Baked Lasagna — $14 (with Italian Sausage — $17); Borsetti (spicy Italian Sausage in a pasta purse with sauce) — $18; Lobster Ravioli — $20; Flatiron Steak — $21; Trout (locally raised) — $21. Meals can be split for an additional $2.
  • Dolei (Dessert): Vanilla Bean Ice Cream — $2; Cheesecake — $5; Tiramisu — $5.


  • Monday to Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
  • Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.


  • Reservations are always strongly encouraged at Cafe Paradiso.
  • “Golden Buckeye Card” is accepted for 10 percent off a senior’s meal. Also, a 10 percent discount is graciously applied to a military personnel’s meal to honor each who qualify.
  • Carmazzi’s Candy Store is across the street from Cafe Paradiso in Monument Square at 100 S. Main St., and is also owned by Patrick and Patsy Thackery. Visit: Mon.-Sat., 10 A.M. to 6 P.M. Carmazzi’s Telephone: (937) 653-7443.