NU Declassified: The Late Night Debate — Fran’s versus Lisa’s

Jeremy Fredricks, Reporter

Students constantly debate which place is better for a late night snack: Fran’s, the Southwest area staple serving comfort food, or Lisa’s, featuring Mexican cuisine on North Campus. In this episode, we ask students to share their opinions.

IAN LUNDEEN: You will not be catching me at Fran’s.


JEREMY FREDRICKS: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Jeremy Fredricks. This is NU Declassified, a look into how Wildcats thrive and survive at Northwestern.

JEREMY FREDRICKS: That was McCormick freshman Ian Lundeen, one of the many students with strong opinions on which late-night campus cafe is better. There are two: Fran’s Cafe, on South Campus, and Lisa’s Cafe on North. Fran’s has some big fans.

JEREMY FREDRICKS: Weinberg sophomore Eli Carroll is among them — saying that the vibes he gets from Fran’s are incomparable to Lisa’s.

ELI CARROLL: Cozy, I think, is a way to describe it — I like just like that. It’s just a cozy feeling in here, even when it’s bustling.

JEREMY FREDRICKS: The greasy food at Fran’s — hamburgers, quesadillas, fries and milkshakes — keep McCormick senior Haley Chang coming back. She usually uses her dining dollars and meal swipes to purchase quesadillas instead of paying for Uber Eats or DoorDash.

HALEY CHANG: But the proximity has a huge draw. But also you have all of the greasiest food that you’d want at a late night at a very low price.

JEREMY FREDRICKS: McCormick sophomore Favour Onukogu said that when it’s a late night and you’re hungry, Fran’s is the best option.

FAVOUR ONUKOGU: Most of the time, it’s quick. You know, if you’re hungry, you don’t want to stay hungry for long.


JEREMY FREDRICKS: But dining dollars and meal swipes can be used at Lisa’s, too. And it’s got some perks some students say Fran’s doesn’t have.

EMILY FENG: The hot food bar is normally open later than Fran’s.

JEREMY FREDRICKS: Bienen and Weinberg freshman Emily Feng goes to Lisa’s for more than just hot food on a cool night. She’s gotten Pop-Tarts, sushi, coffee and —

EMILY FENG: Ramen’s, like when I come here at like one.

JEREMY FREDRICKS: Unlike Fran’s, Lisa’s has a convenience store. When Lundeen was at Lisa’s, he made sure to take advantage of the North Campus commodity.

IAN LUNDEEN: I just got like a granola bar — a pre-studying snack.

JEREMY FREDRICKS: On each side of the debate, diners said that the atmosphere matters. Both spots are located inside residential colleges: Lisa’s is situated in Slivka Residential College, while Fran’s is grounded on the bottom floor of Willard Residential College.

HALEY CHANG: The diner feel of Fran’s appeals more to me than a more upscale feel of Lisa’s.

JEREMY FREDRICKS: The “feel” is a big draw for Chang — especially during the winter months. But nearly everyone said that what’s being served or the vibe doesn’t matter as much as location.

LAUREN BLACK: It is right next to my dorm. I’m not actually crazy about the food here, but I’m sick of dining hall food.

JEREMY FREDRICKS: SESP senior Lauren Black can often be seen at Lisa’s as a North Campus resident. Black said the convenience of grabbing a meal that doesn’t require a lot of walking is the biggest factor in favoring Lisa’s. Meanwhile, Carroll lives on South Campus and feels the same way about Fran’s.

ELI CARROLL: We literally live right next to it, so it’s just convenient for me.

JEREMY FREDRICKS: Students critique both cafes for closing early and the expensive prices. While the debate between Fran’s and Lisa’s will live on, Black says it’s all about perspective.

LAUREN BLACK: I’m not going to Northwestern for food — I’m coming for an expensive education. I’m not really crazy about like the food here.


JEREMY FREDRICKS: From The Daily Northwestern, I’m Jeremy Fredricks. Thanks for listening. This episode was reported and produced by me. The Audio Editor of The Daily Northwestern is Lawrence Price, the Digital Managing Editor is Angeli Mittal and the Editor-in-chief is Jacob Fulton. Make sure to subscribe to The Daily Northwestern’s podcasts on Spotify, Apple Podcasts and SoundCloud to hear more episodes like this.

Email: [email protected]
Twitter: @JSFredricks

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