After living in Bloomington for almost two months, I've discovered the best way to judge a restaurant: the uniqueness of their bathroom. As weird as that sounds, it's true! The best places I've eaten at so far have had the coolest, most unique bathrooms I've ever been in before, and I'd like to share them with you.
But first...I hate jokes about toilet paper. They're tearable.
(to see the menu, click on the restaurant name)
Soma is, by far, the best coffee shop in Bloomington (sorry Starbucks). The menu has every specialty coffee combination you can think of, like their Top O' the Morning which is espresso, vanilla, and irish cream. Even if you don't drink coffee there's something for you! Soma offers a huge variety of fresh fruit smoothies and tea. My favorite drink to have is the Mate Late which is (from their website) "Organic Guyaki Yerba Mate run through the espresso machine w/ steamed milk and honey."
While you're at Soma don't forget to step inside one of the craziest bathrooms you'll ever be in. Although you can't tell from the picture, the toilet is actually higher than the rest of the bathroom, basically making it a throne. With chalkboard walls and a torso-less mannequin, the bathroom at Soma is a place everyone needs to go!
If you're looking for breakfast food (at any time of the day), Runcible Spoon is the place to go! Their signature item is their enormous pancakes that taste amazing. Runcible Spoon gets a lot of their ingredients from local vendors that sell at the Bloomington Farmers' Market. When you step into Runcible Spoon you feel like you're stepping into someone's cozy cottage.
When you step into their bathroom, however, it's a different story. Sure people have bathtubs in their bathrooms, but are those bathtubs filled with fish? I didn't think so. The bathroom at Runcible Spoon contains a giant bathtub fish tank. It's a very strange experience to go to the bathroom next to a tub of fish, but it's one that I recommend you go out and try!
If you're not sure what type of food you're in the mood for, check out FARM! FARM has salads, pizza, breakfast food, burgers, and giant cinnamon rolls (seriously, they're massive). Like Runcible Spoon, their food is all local which means it's very fresh and full of flavor! FARM is located in downtown Bloomington, so it's a little far from campus, but well worth the walk!
What's interesting about FARM's bathroom is not what's inside it, but what's outside. The wall outside the bathrooms is cover with old-fashioned toilets and chamber pots. It's very strange, but it gives the restaurant a very retro vibe, especially with the retro stove underneath them. So when you need to go to the bathroom at FARM, just look for the wall of toilets!
Okay so I've never actually been in the bathroom at The Owlery, but I had to put it on the list because it's amazing! The Owlery is also located in downtown Bloomington, right by the courthouse. This restaurant is all vegetarian and also has a lot of vegan options. I ordered a fancier version of a grilled cheese and fries, a grilled cheese with tomato, avocado, and spinach with sweet potato fries. One really interesting item on the menu is their fried "chicken". It's breaded tofu, but apparently (according to my friends that tried it) tastes just like fried chicken! Even if you're not a vegetarian, I'm not, make sure to eat at The Owlery!