Bloomington is home to over 100 restaurants in its downtown area. Many of these restaurants are a part of franchises that are extremely popular in this college town. However, the rest are independent restaurants run by local owners. Here is a list of my favorite restaurants that I like to call “Bloomington’s Hidden Gems”. I have given them this title as it, unfortunately, took me a year to find them. But that hasn’t stopped me from making up for lost time!
- Bub’s Burgers & Ice Cream
480 N Morton St.
Bub’s Burgers offers one of my favorite chicken sandwiches. Their prices are college student friendly and service is great. It is a cozy restaurant where you will definitely enjoy your meal. They are also “Home Of The Big Ugly Burger”. This is an eating challenge, where you have to finish eating a one pound burger within a certain amount of time. If you complete the challenge, you get your picture on the wall.
These are just some of the people that have completed the challenge.
The restaurant also has its own ice cream store. They offer many popular and specialty flavors of ice cream and malt shakes. They also decorate their walls uniquely. In the picture above, my friend clearly approves of the llama indulging on Bub’s.
- Scholars Inn Gourmet Cafe
801 N College Ave
The Scholars Inn is one of the more pricey restaurants on the list. Their gourmet café offers an amazing fine dining experience and an excellent wine selection (if you are of age). The Scholars Inn is a great place if you want to celebrate something, or simply want some great fancy food. The experience is unique, as they are located in a beautiful 150 year old mansion. Here’s just a sneak peek of the reception area.[Image: scholars-décor, Caption: none]
- India Garden
531 N Walnut Street
There are three Indian restaurants in Bloomington, and India Garden is one of the newest. It was previously located on 4th Street with all the ethnic restaurants. India Garden now has a small, cute space and has personalized service. The very humble owner comes to take the orders himself and makes sure that the food is of the quality and standard you want. But don’t let its size fool you – their chefs are excellent and food quality can compete with the best Indian restaurant in Bloomington. Its location makes it very popular among the students, who live within a few blocks.
- Upland Brewing
350 W. 11th Street
Upland is my go-to place for when I’m craving some serious fish and chips. It’s got a great sports feel and environment and would be a good place to catch the game. The pricing is reasonable and they have cute outdoor patio seating at night. The patio is a great place to just go catch up with some friends over delicious fried foods.
- 3 Amigos
610 N College Ave
Bloomington offers an extensive selection of Mexican foods, ranging all over the price scale. 3 Amigos has definitely become one of my favorite ‘go-to’ Mexican restaurants, not only because of its proximity to my present apartment but also because of the simple environment and awesome experience. 3 Amigos will always play popular, catchy Mexican music with killer beats. You can also hear the music when you walk past the store. Their upbeat environment always helps me get out of the worst mood. Their menu has all the popular Mexican dishes and their generous portions are definitely worth the price.
This isn’t an exclusive list of popular restaurants in Bloomington, but these are some of my favorite go-to restaurants. There are many many more restaurants around Bloomington that deserve to be on this list and I will inform you the moment I find them. For now, I’m leaving you with something from 3 Amigos.