The tastes of teens: 3 share their favorite local spots to grab a bite


PHOTO CREDIT: Metro Creative

Teenagers can be difficult to please.

It’s a general statement, yet most older readers likely are nodding their heads in agreement as they recall last week’s scream session with their 16-year-old about a later curfew or a fight about being mature enough to go to a concert.

Teens seemingly have an opinion about everything, so it can be difficult to please them when it comes to eating out.

Encourage them to check out local restaurants with great offerings for every occasion.

A low-effort meal with friends doesn’t have to consist of frozen pizza. Nick Splinter, a senior at Wahlert Catholic High School in Dubuque, said teens should head to Magoo’s Pizza for a casual night out with friends, family members or dates.

“It’s chill and relaxing; it’s never super loud, so you’re able to just talk to people,” Splinter said. “The workers there are mainly college kids, so when you walk in, they seem very friendly and approachable.”

Splinter added that the pizza shop’s welcoming, youthful ambiance is what draws teenagers.

Fast and casual restaurants might normally be the most frequented teen dining locations, but there are certain occasions that require a bit more splurging.

Whether it’s a school dance, a date night or a celebratory meal with friends, teenagers want to commemorate their night with an extra special spot.

Wahlert junior Lydia Foy thinks Oolong Asian Cuisine is a great option.

“I think if it’s Friday night and you’re wondering where you should go, you should check it (Oolong) out,” she said. “It’s a good mix between casual and high-end.”

She also said that it’s a great spot for special occasions. She recently went there for her birthday dinner.

Foy believes that Oolong’s atmosphere is its greatest attraction.

“The owner renovated it all by himself,” she said. “He kept the building’s old charm. I just think he made it such a cool spot.”

Teenagers might be filled with excitement on special occasions, but on a day-to-day basis, hours of homework and extracurriculars leave them exhausted and in need of a caffeine fix.

Ava Poppen, a sophomore at Dubuque Senior High School, recommended teenagers unwind and fuel at Inspire Cafe.

“I think it (Inspire) has a great style,” Poppen said. “It’s a cozy spot to grab coffee with friends.”

She noted that the staff is personable and their menu has interesting, original selections.

Inspire’s walls are adorned with motivational quotes and images. The cafe’s hope is that guests will find a word, phrase or image from the gallery that speaks to their heart, in addition to simply enjoying a Buddha Bowl or latte.

Splinter, Foy and Poppen appreciate restaurants that prioritize both the quality of food and the overall atmosphere. They explained that their favorite local restaurant stands out because the staff members, decorations and customers are inviting.

“(Oolong) has fantastic food, but I definitely think it’s the atmosphere that makes me want to go,” Foy said.

Ava Hoelscher is a freelance writer from Dubuque.

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