An unfortunate truth about eating in the Morrison Commons is that, despite its perks, after so long the limited choice of palatable meal options becomes a source of a certain kind of angst.
This is especially true when one also factors in the lack of sleep and overwhelming amounts of homework with which students are burdened. Sometimes, the only way to help restore crucial mental health is to add some variety into a weekly routine, and there are few greater pleasures in life than good food.
Speaking of which, Camille’s Sidewalk Café is a satisfying, if unremarkable dining option. To a certain extent, its lack of chutzpah gives it its own sort of effortless, suburban slacker charm; the décor is a pleasant pastiche of sunny yellow-painted walls, complemented by medium-stained wood paneling and partially subdued lighting.
As for the food, in both aesthetics and actual content, it lies centered between a standard, middle-class sandwich shop—Panera Bread, for example—and a truly gourmet bistro or café populated and overseen by pseudo-bohemian hipsters. Included on the menu are a variety of Panini’s, sandwiches, wraps, salads and flatbread pizza.
A quick preface before going further: Being a vegetarian, I was surprised at the variety of options Camille’s has available and the unconventional ingredients they use to make each dish.
I sampled the vegetarian flatbread pizza, which measured nine inches across and included eggplant and artichoke: Two wonderful, but sadly underused vegetables. I finished my meal with feelings of moderate, blissful contentment.
My dining partner ordered the apple-walnut tuna sandwich—which utilized another underrated vegetable accent: alfalfa sprouts—and found it to be quite delicious, as well.
Perhaps Camille’s greatest asset is its prices, which hover somewhere around $6. This is not only an acceptable meal price for a financially insolvent college student; it is also extremely low, based on the relatively high quality of the food being served.
There is one noticeable problem with Camille’s as a viable eating destination for Augustana students, and that is its location on 1216 W. 41st St. in a somewhat barren strip mall. While this location may be fine for those who have the convenience of an automobile, for those who must rely on either their feet or their bike as a primary mode of transportation, the trip is quite an undertaking.
My dining experience at Camille’s merits it to a mildly enthused recommendation. I am happy that such a place exists and I hope they are able to retain a sufficient amount of business, but because of its location, perhaps my words of approval should only extend to those with the means, time and proper motivation to find their way there.