Darn Good Soup
107 N. College
Nels Boerner, a former chef at The Uptown Café, opened this soup and salad restaurant on the downtown Square to serve quick, healthy meals. And the name rings true—the soup is darn good. They’ve made more than 50 varieties, including “The Best Cream of Mushroom Ever”— a thick, rich soup laden with shiitake and button mushrooms. Soups change daily but always including vegetarian and vegan options. If you’re looking for something with a kick, try bakso, an Indonesian meatball soup. Prices: $4-8 Hours: Daily 11 am-7:30 pm Bar: No Credit Cards: Visa, MC Outdoor Seating: No
American, Seafood, Steaks
106 N. Walnut
Malibu Grill, on the east side of the downtown Square, offers casual dining in an upscale atmosphere for 200 diners. Specialties include the Spinach & Artichoke Dip, Caesar salad, Lime Chicken Fettuccini, and Caramelized Salmon. Live jazz Wed-Fri 6-9 pm. Prices: Appetizers $6-18, entrées $8-32, desserts $4-8 Hours: Lunch Mon-Fri 11:30 am-2 pm, dinner Mon-Th 5:30-9:30 pm Fri 5:30-10:30 pm Sat noon-10:30 pm Sun noon-9 pm. Reservations accepted only during the week; 20-minute call-ahead service available. Bar: Full Credit Cards: Visa, MC, AMEX, Disc., DC Outdoor Seating: Yes
Read our review of Malibu Grill here!
American, Italian, Pizza
108 W. 6th St.
This pizza place and live-music venue has moved to the downtown Square and doubled in size, making room for a bar that offers beer and wine. An expanded menu features items including grilled panini sandwiches and dinner salads (Pan's Garden Salad with goat cheese and roasted red peppers, for example). Keep an eye out for new specialty toppings for pizza, including feta cheese, prosciutto, and barbecue buffalo. Prices: Appetizers $2-9.95; pizza $5.95-23.95; salads $3.95-9.95; sandwiches, paninis, and calzones $4.95-9.95 Hours: Open Mon-Th 11 am Fri-Sun noon, closing times vary from 11 pm-2 am depending on events Bar: Beer, wine Credit Cards: Visa, MC, AMEX, Disc. Outdoor Seating: No
Read our review of Max's Place here!
110 N. Walnut
Located on the east side of the downtown Square, Opie Taylor’s is known for really great burgers dressed up any way you want them. Big domestic mugs (34 oz.) are a special on Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday, and Sunday. The shrimp-and-corn bisque is fab. The sports-themed restaurant claims to have the biggest projection-TV screen in Bloomington. Prices: Appetizers $5.99-8.99, entrées $7.29-18.99 Hours: Mon-Wed 11 am-9 pm Th-Sat 11 am-10 pm Sun 11:30 am-9 pm Bar: Beer, wine Credit Cards: Visa, MC, AMEX, Disc. Outdoor Seating: No
118 W. 6th St.
In 2011, Toby Foster and Ryan Woods saw a gap in the Bloomington restaurant scene. They opened The Owlery to cater to a growing population of eaters hungry for affordable vegetarian and vegan fare. Now settled in a new location on the downtown Square, the hip but comfortable restaurant is furnished with vintage enameled tables, a small bar serving a carefully curated selection of beers, and plenty of charming owl-centric art. The menu options range from faux meat sandwiches to pierogies and Asian veggie bowls. The handmade potato and onion pierogies are comfort food at its best; toppings include sauerkraut, applesauce, and tofu bacon. Or try a riff on fish and chips: Battered and fried tofu is flavored with nori, adding a hint of the sea. A display case full of vegan layer cakes and cupcakes provides visual incentive to leave a little room for something sweet. Ice cream is vegan, too; the Owl Spot flavor is made from an ultra creamy base of coconut milk punctuated with Oreo chunks and squiggles of peanut butter. It’s created exclusively for the restaurant by The Chocolate Moose. Prices: Appetizers $3.50-6.95, salads and sandwiches $4.95-8.95, entrées $7.95-11.95, dessert $1.75-4 Hours: Mon-Sat 11 am-10 pm Sun brunch 10 am-3 pm Bar: Beer Credit Cards: Visa, MC, Disc. Outdoor Seating: No
Read our review of The Owlery here!
Roots on the Square
American, Asian, Juice Bar, Thai, Vegetarian
124 N. Walnut
This formerly all-vegetarian restaurant has recently added shrimp, pork, and even a beef burger to their offerings. Still, the majority of the menu is vegan and vegetarian, with extensive tempeh, tofu, and seitan options. Thai entrées are very good, especially the Pad Kee Mao, an aromatic stir-fried noodle dish brimming with garlic and basil. Panang and ginger curries are also recommended, served with healthy brown rice. Espresso drinks and an assortment of teas fill the drink menu alongside fresh juice blends, pressed to order. Give the Breezy Greens a chance; it’s a surprising mix of cucumber, celery, bok choy, and apple. Shaded outdoor seating is perfect for people-watching on the downtown Square. Prices: Appetizers $5.95-9, lunch $6-9, dinner $7-13 Hours: Mon-Sat 10:30 am-10 pm Sun noon-9 pm Bar: Beer, wine Credit Cards: Visa, MC, AMEX, Disc. Outdoor Seating: Yes
Afghan, Middle Eastern
100 W. 6th St.
Located on the north side of the downtown Square, Samira features Afghan dishes in an elegant, relaxing atmosphere. Specialties include kebabs and dumplings as well as a wide array of vegetarian dishes. Do not miss the samarok (a spicy mushroom appetizer)—you’ll want to sop up every drop of sauce with the chewy and delicious flatbread. Great baklava. Prices: Dinner appetizers $5-9.95, entrées $12.95-16.95, desserts $3.95 Hours: Lunch Mon-Fri (buffet and lunch menu) 11 am-2 pm, dinner Mon-Th 5-9, Fri-Sat 5-10 pm. Reservations recommended. Bar: Beer, wine Credit Cards: Visa, MC, AMEX, Disc. Outdoor Seating: Yes
Read our review of Samira's Restaurant here!
Scholars Inn Bakehouse
American, Bagels, Bakery, Breakfast, Cafés, Delicatessen, Sandwiches
125 N. College • 331-6029
3002 E. 3rd St. • 323-7070
Owned by the proprietors of the Scholars Inn, both branches of the Bakehouse offer a selection of New York-style deli sandwiches, kettle-boiled bagels, and desserts made from scratch, as well as all of their first-rate, locally baked breads. A bowl of homemade soup followed by the Harvest Cobbler makes a generous lunch. Coffee drinks are discounted $1 during Happy Hour from 4-6 pm. Prices: Entrées $4-9, desserts $3-7 Hours: East side Mon-Fri 6:30 am-9 pm Sat-Sun 7:30 am-9 pm, downtown Mon-Sat 7:30 am-9 pm Sun 8 am-9 pm Bar: Beer, wine at the downtown location Credit Cards: Visa, MC, AMEX, Campus Access Outdoor Seating: Yes Accessibility Decal Recipient
Stefano’s Ice Café
Fountain Square Mall, Mezzanine Level
Located in the heart of Fountain Square Mall, Stefano’s offers a variety of made-to-order sandwiches and salads. Panini sandwiches are grilled with crisp cucumber slices inside, held together with melted provolone and tomato on basil focaccia. For a sweet afternoon pick-me-up, try the glazed almonds, toasted and spiced with cinnamon. Breakfast offerings include custom omelets and eggs, along with a selection of pastries. Prices: Sandwiches $4-9, desserts and pastries $2-5, breakfast $3-7 Hours: Mon-Sat 6 am-7 pm Sun noon-5 pm Bar: No Credit Cards: AMEX, Visa, MC, Disc. Outdoor Seating: No Accessibility Decal Recipient
American, Brunch, European, Greek
100 E. Kirkwood
Casual and family-friendly, the Trojan Horse has been a Bloomington fixture since 1978. Just off the southeast corner of the downtown Square, it serves great Greek food—gyros and falafel sandwiches, but also saganaki (flaming cheese), spanikopita (spinach pies), dolmas (stuffed grape leaves), moussaka, and other Mediterranean treats. Drink specials are offered every night. Prices: Appetizers $3.75-8, sandwiches $5.75-8.50, entrées $5.50-19.75, desserts $4-5.25 Hours: Mon-Th 11 am-11 pm Fri-Sat 11 am-midnight Sun 11:30 am-10 pm Bar: Full Credit Cards: Visa, MC, AMEX, Disc. Outdoor Seating: No
Read our review of Trojan Horse here!