A food tour of Art Mart : Food & Drink : Smile Politely

Art Mart is one of those places you can wonder around in for an hour and still find something new. From fresh food to clothes, imported cheeses to cooking tools, ice cream to a wall full of wine, Art Mart will have something you want. Previously located in Lincoln Square Mall, Art Mart moved to Prospect Avenue in 2015 to have a building of their own.





Art Mart's outdoor sign reading “Modern Living since 1958” and also “deli, bakery, wine, catering, groceries, housewares, toys, gifts”.  Photo by Matthew Macomber.Photo by Matthew Macomber.

This allowed Art Mart to add a cafe and more space for all their departments.

The kitchenware section.  Photo by Matthew Macomber.Photo by Matthew Macomber.
Square and rectangular tables with two to four chairs around them in the cafe area.  Photo by Matthew Macomber.Photo by Matthew Macomber.

Speaking of the café, Art Mart has plenty of outdoor seating and a few tables outside, so you’ll rarely have trouble finding a seat to eat and drink. Parking can be competitive, so don’t forget about the spots available on the side and back of the store. With Art Mart offering so much to try, I did my best to cover a variety.

Café scones, cookies, donuts, and other pastries on a display shelf with the fall drink specials list shown (marshmallow mocha, pumpkin spice lattes and pistachio fizz).  Photo by Matthew Macomber.Photo by Matthew Macomber.
A marshmallow mocha with white foam on top outside at an Art Mart table.  Photo by Matthew Macomber.Photo by Matthew Macomber.

To begin with, I had a little pick-me-up by drinking a marshmallow mocha ($4.59). By combining espresso, milk, chocolate, and marshmallow syrup, this was a nice way to have dessert and coffee at the same time. The marshmallow syrup was just light enough to taste without overwhelming the chocolate in the drink. This drink is seasonal, so I made sure to get it before it rotated through to something else.

A croque monsieur on a torn open wax paper bag outside of Art Mart on a table.  Photo by Matthew Macomber.Photo by Matthew Macomber.

In terms of food, not many places make croque monsieur ($4.95). A French favorite, the ham, Swiss, and bechamel sauce (made with butter, milk, and flour) tasted great between two buttery croissants. The toasted cheese on top added just a little crunch. This was quite the rich sandwich, so make sure you go in prepared when you order one. If they’re out, Art Mart keeps other sandwiches warm and wrapped in foil, as well. Many are breakfast sandwiches, so getting to Art March early in the day will reward you, too.

Sweet potato lentil salad in a small plastic cup.  Photo by Matthew Macomber.Photo by Matthew Macomber.

As a side, I went with a small cup of sweet potato lentil salad ($3.56 for my bowl; $7.99 per pound) since I doubted the croque monsieur would be on the heavy side of things. Other than the already mentioned ingredients, this salad also had red onions, cooked carrots, feta cheese, spinach, and balsamic dressing. This salad was almost savory thanks to the cheese and feta, yet still stayed light and refreshing. Art Mart easily carries a dozen different salads each day, so give those a look as well if the sweet potato lentil isn’t in stock.

A banana cream tart in a small box.  Photo by Matthew Macomber.Photo by Matthew Macomber.

As a dessert, I couldn’t resist a banana cream tart ($4.95). Deceptively large, this tart had quite a lot of cream piled on top of the banana. If you want your own personal helping of banana cream pie, this tart is a great option. The cream was, well, very creamy, and the bananas are, well, just bananas. You probably already know if you’ll like this treat. If you’re me, you get one and eat it right away before driving home.

A corned beef and Swiss cheese sandwich cut in half on a square plate.  Photo by Matthew Macomber.Photo by Matthew Macomber.

Grabbing food to-go for lunch the next day, I chose a corned beef and Swiss cheese sandwich ($5.75). Wrapped in plastic and tightly sealed, the sandwiches at Art Mart are great for picnics or busy lunch hours. This one came with a hearty stack of corned beef, Swiss cheese, coleslaw, and Russian dressing between two slices of rye bread. I loved the crunchy cabbage and tangy sauce, both of which brought out the best in this sandwich.

A rectangular magic bar on a small square plate.  Photo by Matthew Macomber.Photo by Matthew Macomber.

As my to-go dessert, I enjoyed a surprisingly large magic bar ($2.98). The real magic here was trying to remember everything in the bar, as it had: pecans, chocolate chips, coconut flakes, white chocolate chips and frosting. A mix of flavors, this bar had a nice mix of textures with a satisfying crunch. It had a little bit of everything, making it a great choice if you’re not sure what you want.

Dozens of cheeses on display from all over the world.  Photo by Matthew Macomber.Photo by Matthew Macomber.

Even with everything I tried, I still didn’t make it into Art Mart’s frozen section, massive cheese display, or their wall-to-wall collection of wines.

Art Mart's floor-to-ceiling wine display.  Photo by Matthew Macomber.Photo by Matthew Macomber.

With a rotating assortment of food and drinks, it’s not hard to visit Art March once a week without getting bored.

A dozen different Art Mart salads on display.  Photo by Matthew Macomber.Photo by Matthew Macomber.
The chocolates display with dozens of small and prepacked boxes behind the glass.  Photo by Matthew Macomber.Photo by Matthew Macomber.
The kids' toys and board games department.  Photo by Matthew Macomber.Photo by Matthew Macomber.

Take your time wandering around the store and enjoy the Art Mart sights. It’s family friendly with the kids section, too.

Art March
1705 S Prospect Ave
Champaign
M-Sa 7 am to 7 pm
Water 8 am to 5 pm

Top image by Matthew Macomber.