I come from the Chicago suburbs and have been craving a good Italian beef lately. Since I don't eat on campus except in the summer, we headed to McAlister's Deli on Town Center (the road between Prospect and Neil shopping areas).
Last time I was there it was summer, and my daughter and I enjoyed their outdoor seating, huge iced teas, and generous sandwich portions (a good Reuben (although Courier's is unbeatable) and a delicious chicken wrap). We could have easily shared a sandwich. Today, my hub and 3yo decided to dine inside. We had the French Dip (to satisfy my beef craving) and the McAlister's Club. Overall, the food is very good and reasonably priced (most items ranging from $6-8, which includes one side item (e.g. mac/cheese, mashed potatoes/gravy, chips, potato salad, fruit, or applesauce)). The kids menu is priced at $3.49 (which includes a drink and possibly a side). We have not ordered off the kids menu yet but it has a nice variety. The regular menu includes a variety of soups, chili, salads, sandwiches, super stuffed baked potatoes, meatloaf, pot roast, and pizzas.
What I like about this place is that they provide good service. Although you order at the front counter, if you dine-in, they bring your food to the table and check in with you about refills, etc. But, as stated in the menu, they do not seek tips (although I am sure they are accepted). They also were very nice about showing us the cookies (huge, delicious buttery cookies @ $1 each) when we asked about sweets. The staff is engaging (they were very nice to our very loud 3yo) but not overbearing.
It can be very crowded at lunch and dinner time but it seems perfect at off times to just sit, eat, and chat. I would recommend it for a big lunch or nice dinner place with the kids.