It was a bright Sunday morning when I first pushed open the glass door of the Owlery Restaurant.
Wandering around downtown Bloomington and not sure what exactly to do, my friend and I chanced upon this little diner nestled across from the Monroe County Courthouse and jumped at the opportunity to grab a bite. After all, food is always a good idea.
Navigating around the crowd of brunch-goers as we waded toward the counter to ask for a table, I was impressed by all the art pieces featuring owls that decorated the building. Owl paintings decorated the vibrant yellow walls, while several tiny figurines of the bird lined the countertop up front.
Near the cash register, a glass display case filled with the day’s baked delicacies stood at attention. Several potted plants near the waiting area added a splash of nature and the two large street-facing windows gave the restaurant ample natural light. The whole place, along with being trendy and hip, gave off an air that’s both cozy and friendly.
According to its website, the Owlery specializes in vegetarian comfort food, vegan baked goods and craft beer. Ingredients such as tofu, seitan, tempeh, veggies and bread are used to create a wide variety of dishes. Meal options include salads, veggie bowls and fries to more unusual ones like the B.L.T., which consists of tofu bacon, romaine lettuce, sliced tomato and lemon-garlic mayo on farm bread with a side of home fries.
Other notable menu components would be the poutine and the tempeh Reuben. The poutine is comprised of fries, cheese curds and gravy. The Reuben, made with fried tempeh, sauerkraut, Swiss or vegan cheese, Russian dressing and rye bread, can be ordered during lunch or dinner. For more health-conscious customers, the Owlery also offers a large selection of salads and soups.
Speaking of dinner, if you’re in the mood to discover new food varieties, feel free to try what I thought to be the most interesting dish on the dinner menu: pierogies. Stuffed with potatoes, onions and tomatoes and seasoned with garlic, sour cream and applesauce, the Owlery’s vegan twist on this classic Eastern European dish is a symphony of flavors.
The brunch menu, in particular, features an impressive list of omelets. For somebody like me with a serious dose of indecisiveness, this couldn’t be better. “When in doubt, order an omelet” has long been my brunch motto.
After much consideration, I decided to go with the mushroom-Swiss omelet that combines two of my favorite foods through sheer coincidence. Last but not least, to top everything off in true Sunday brunch style, I ordered an orange cider mimosa.
The mimosa was a pretty orange-pink color and the omelet was just the perfect amount of savory. The side of home fries, although unassuming upon first glance, turned out to be a crispy delight. As patrons around me talked and laughed, I sipped my mimosa, already planning my next Owlery trip in my head.
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