I graduated Indiana University just a little under four years ago and the one thing I miss most is having a bite to eat with my friends from one of Bloomington’s delicious eateries. I remember long nights of studying accompanied by a bag of delivery and sometimes a trek across campus to satisfy a craving. Whether you’re a townie, a prospective student, an alumnus or just curious about Bloomignton, here are my top five Bloomington restaurants and delivery joints.
5. The Village Deli (409 East Kirkwood Ave)
The Village Deli is well known around Bloomington for having incredible breakfast food. On most weekends when its warm, the patio and restaurant are packed with both students and alumni scarfing down pancakes or sandwiches. Watch out though, as they’re only open until 4:00 pm daily, so you won’t be able to quell your carb craving late into the night or if you over sleep your all nighter. My first experience at Village Deli was on a weekday, so if you’re coming on a weekend, be prepared to wait. It’s well worth it.Try:The Famous Pancakes-they say they are both colossal and ginormous and they mean it. You get to choose three toppings and you probably won’t be hungry until dinner.
4.Esan Thai (221 East Kirkwood Avenue)
Don’t let their bare-bones website fool you, Esan Thai is one of the best world food locations in Bloomington. The market for global food in Bloomington is huge, so it takes a lot to separate yourself from the pack. The intimate atmosphere paired with delicious food make dining at Esan Thai a fun experience and would be a great date location. As a spicy food junkie, I went to the restaurant and boldly ordered an ultra hot curry. Though I found it delicious, keep in mind there are no refunds if you don’t like the heat of your meal.Try: Pad Kee Mao- It ranks number two on their heat rating, and still packs a punch. A mix of fresh veggies with your choice of meat (I recommend pork) that gives you a great Thai experience.
3.The Irish Lion Restauraunt and Pub (212 West Kirkwood Avenue)
My first visit to the Irish Lion was as a freshman when I was feeling especially connected to my Irish heritage. As I got older, I was able to pair a cold Guinness with their array of Irish inspired and traditional dishes. If you’re in the mood for a fried bite of pub food, this is your stop, but they also have amazing seafood and steaks. Bring a group of friends and join in the friendly atmosphere of the pub. Try: The Lamb Burger-this is an extremely juicy and flavorful lamb burger served with creamy sour cream and fresh chips (I mean, fries).
2.Aver’s Gourmet Pizza (three locations in Bloomington)
Aver’s Gourmet Pizza is my personal favorite place to grab pizza and chow down. My roommates and I would order the Crazy Aver’s Deal and split the hot breadsticks, gooey slices and down their famous Loganberry juice like no tomorrow. The pizza rivalry in Bloomington is pretty stiff, but I could never quite find anything that matched the fresh taste each slice provided, even days later. The Crazy Aver’s Deal also now includes cookies at an amazingly affordable price. Try:The Cream and Crimson Pizza-An alfredo sauce pizza with seasoned potatoes, bacon, cheddar and Gorgonzola cheese.
1. Dagwood’s (116 South Indiana Avenue)
Dagwood’s was easily my favorite place to grab a bite to eat in Bloomington. To me nothing quite makes my day like a sandwich piled high with freshly sliced lunch meat on soft bread. My best friend and I would walk across campus even in the snow or rain to grab a sandwich and a bag of chips. The selection of meats and sauces makes chain sub stores seem weak. I would probably eat their famous Dagwood sauce on just about anything. Located right along Kirkwood, its easy to hop a bus, walk or drive to satisfy your craving, or if you’re feeling a bit lazy, have it delivered. Try: The Ultimate Turkey Sandwich-freshly sliced turkey, chipotle mayo, avocado and cream cheese plus toppings on a baugette.
Honorable Mentions: Baked!, Bloomington Bagel Company., and The Chocolate Moose
No matter if you’re looking for brunch, sandwiches, a fancy meal or late night grub, Bloomington has you covered. I hope that when you’re coming through town that you’ll check out at least one of my favorites. You might just become a Bloomington food addict too!