Indiana Daily Student

OPINION: A guide to navigating Bloomington’s food scene

<p>Kirkwood Avenue is seen Dec. 12, 2022, between the Sample Gates.</p>

Kirkwood Avenue is seen Dec. 12, 2022, between the Sample Gates.

Bloomington is for the foodies. At least, that’s what they claim.  

However, it can be overwhelming to know where to begin. Whether your first semester at IU is coming to an end or you are graduating at the end of the week, it is never too late to try out a few new restaurants in town.  

No matter what mood you are in or whether your parents are in town to take you to a nice dinner, this list will provide you with a few ideas on where to go.  

Breakfast 

At first glance, Bloomington may appear not to have many breakfast places, yet look a little deeper and you may find a new favorite study spot or even a post-night-out breakfast.  

Inkwell is a coffee shop with two locations in Bloomington. The largest location is on College Avenue and the second location is on the corner of Woodlawn and Atwater. With a warm and cozy atmosphere, the shop is a great place for a Sunday morning coffee run or brunch spot to catch up with friends.  

With an array of breakfast toast and sandwiches along with a smaller lunch menu, you can’t go wrong.  

Looking for a more small-town feel?  

[Related: Bloomington Wonderland: holiday events to check out this December]

Village Deli is a town classic. Located directly on Kirkwood Avenue, Village Deli offers a wide selection of classic breakfast and lunch items, from eggs benedict to its famous massive pancakes. There really is a dish for everyone.

Lunch 

After graduation on Saturday, take your parents to some iconic lunch spots in town.  

BuffaLouie’s is a must with some of the best wings in town. Not only is the atmosphere a perfect example of Hoosier spirit, but the food is beyond imaginable. Although it’s most iconic on a game day, if you’re looking for some classic Bloomington dining, BuffaLouie’s is the place to be.  

Mother Bear's Pizza is another iconic restaurant just off campus. You haven’t experienced IU culture until you have had the famous pizzas and pastas served at Mother Bear’s. Write on the walls of the East Third location and leave your mark on the town. It truly is a rite of passage to eat here.  

Dinner 

With so many options, dinner can be hard to pick. With all of Fourth Street dedicated to international cuisine and Kirkwood loaded with town classics, you can’t go wrong.  

So how do you choose?  

[Related: A guide to eating on Bloomington's Fourth Street]

Well, if you are looking for some of the best international food, Siam House offers outstanding Thai cuisine. From classics like pad thai to chef’s specials like volcano chicken, the food goes above and beyond expectations.  

Looking for a classic American-style dinner? Lennie’s is the original gourmet pizza in Bloomington with a wide menu serving pub-style food anywhere from soups to stromboli. The atmosphere is cozy and perfect for a family sit-down dinner.  

Feeling like a Bloomington classic for dinner? Social Cantina has some of the best tacos in town. They have created a fun and social atmosphere with food that blows you away. The fried mushroom taco and Baja fish tacos are my personal favorites, but you simply can’t go wrong no matter what you order.  

Bloomington has such a wide variety of food options, and every place has something unique to offer. Hopefully, this list will give you an idea of where to start and help you on your way to discovering some of the best food in Bloomington. Who knows, you may even find a new favorite spot.  

Gentry Keener (she/her) is a sophomore studying journalism and political science.  

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