Fill in the Blank: DeKalb is…


Patrick Murphy | Northern Star

Lincoln Highway in downtown DeKalb in Apr. 2020. Downtown DeKalb will have a spring shindig Saturday.


Through the lens of a student, the city of DeKalb, IL is simply, alright. 

DeKalb is a college town that doesn’t feel like a college town. Perhaps it’s because we now live in a post-pandemic world where shops and restaurants close early.  

DeKalb isn’t a town I would seek to visit on my own time, outside of Northern Illinois University because there isn’t much in the area. While DeKalb and NIU are separate from each other, the University does make up much of the town’s identity. 

One of the biggest disappointments when moving up to DeKalb was that the closest Smoothie King, Chick-fil-A and Barnes & Noble are at least 30 minutes away, yet four Starbucks are within a 15-minute radius. Don’t get me wrong, I do love Starbucks, but I would gladly trade a couple of DeKalb’s locations for a Smoothie King, Chick-fil-A and/or Barnes & Noble. 

Being that DeKalb is a college town you might think that a chain smoothie brand would find great success in the area. 

In 2017, Smoothie King expressed that their company was about to become a popular brand on campuses throughout the United States. 

“Smoothie King is a strong solution to answer the demand among students and staff for a nutritious option for a meal replacement or a snack,” Smoothie King reported. 

Having a Smoothie King near or on campus would be highly beneficial to NIU students who need a quick and healthy snack between their classes. 

Do you ever find yourself craving a nice crispy chicken sandwich, perfectly fried waffle fries and delicious lemonade? Well, too bad. The closest Chick-Fil-A from DeKalb is roughly 35 to 40 minutes away in Batavia, IL. 

Additionally, a Barnes & Noble would be perfect for students in DeKalb. The famous bookstore is a perfect place to study as it is almost never crowded, always smells of new books and is a quiet environment with free wifi. 

One benefit of the DeKalb area is that it’s near Chicago where residents can attend concerts, tour museums, sightsee or shop on Michigan Avenue, but still drive back home the same day. Those who live in DeKalb or attend NIU can enjoy city life without actually living in such a populated area, it can be the best of both worlds.