There comes a point during every school semester where the food courts and microwaveable dinners no longer cut it. If you find yourself staring down at a pepperoni pizza slice at Wright Food Court frowning, you probably already hit that wall. I reached out to Indiana University Students to find out the 10 best places to pamper your taste buds near campus.
Get ready to chow down at these places to eat at Indiana University.
1. Runcible Spoon
Located: 412 E 6th St, Bloomington, IN 47408
Hours: 8 a.m. to midnight
This hideaway sits in the heart of downtown Bloomington, about a four-minute walk from Sample Gates. The restaurant has a homey vibe. “I love the atmosphere there, the coziness of the building, and their food is great too,” said recent grad Nicole Krasean. She used to go every couple of weeks. The restaurant serves breakfast all day, so Krasean recommends getting the eggs Benedict.
2. The Owlery
Located: 118 W 6th St, Bloomington, IN 47404
Hours: 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays
This restaurant specializes in vegan comfort food and vegan baked goods, which is located in the square, so only about a 10-minute walk from Sample Gates. “I’m not vegetarian or vegan, but it has some of the best food and the best sweet potato fries this side of the Mississippi,” said senior Claire Logan. She’s not a big fan of tofu or meat substitution herself but she described every option on their menu as “fire.” You’ll feel like a lean machine after a healthy snack.
3. Sweet Grass Restaurant
Located: 405 W Patterson Dr., Bloomington, IN 47403
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday through Saturday
Sweet Grass offers fusion dishes of both American and Chinese Cuisines. The restaurant has large windows that lets in natural light. Only an eight-minute drive from Sample Gates, senior Jesse Pasternack assured that the distance is worth the amazing food. “It’s a little like a bar but there’s a wholesome vibe to it. It’s very comfortable,” said Pasternack. He recommended the salmon and the homemade potato chips.
Location: 211 S Grant St, Bloomington, IN 47408
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday
This eatery offers Cajun Creole food only a five-minute walk from Sample Gates. They offer both indoor and outdoor seating. “I really like it because it tastes very authentic and homemade,” said senior Angel Oyervides. She always gets the bourbon chicken, but she said the buffalo chicken tastes really good, too. “It’s affordable and the people who work there are always very friendly and helpful,” Oyervides said. Insider Tip: They let you try samples before ordering.
5. Z&C Teriyaki and Sushi
Located: 430 E Kirkwood Ave., Bloomington, IN 47408
Hours: 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday and Monday, 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. Tuesday through Saturday
Z&C offers over 20 types of sushi rolls and about six teriyaki combos. Located in Dunkirk Square, a two-minute walk from Sample Gates leads to the tiny restaurant. Z&C has about five tables inside, so it gets crowded at times. “It is really good and convenient,” said junior Gregory Vega. He normally gets a chicken bowl with a fried egg and the spicy mayo.
6. Smokin’ Jack’s Rib Shack
Located: 505 W 17th St, Bloomington, IN 47404
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday
Pursuing a barbecue joint? Look no further than Jack’s. Only an eight-minute drive from Sample Gates, it features down-home, southern-style barbecue and classic sides. They also have a hook arcade game where you can win little stuffed pigs while you wait for your order. “Their menu is expansive, and their sauces are incredible,” said senior Taylor Lehman. He normally orders the pulled pork sandwich with their original sauce.
7. The Laughing Planet Café
Located: 322 E Kirkwood Ave, Bloomington, IN 47408
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Saturday
The café specializes in California-style burritos packed with organic and locally-produced ingredients and if you don’t feel like traveling far, it’s only a three-minute walk from Sample Gates. Sculptures by local artists decorate the café. “The atmosphere is casual and kind of quirky,” said senior Hannah Boomershine. “There’s a bike on the wall and some eclectic paintings.” Boomershine normally orders the Highway to Kale salad. Other items on the menu also have quirky names like the Thai-me-up burrito and the Nacho Mama.
8. The Village Deli
Located: 409 E Kirkwood Ave, Bloomington, IN 47408
Hours: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday
Going to the Village Deli for breakfast on the weekends is a tradition for Bloomington residents and IU students. Only a three-minute walk from Sample Gates, you find a friendly atmosphere along with their black and white checkerboard floors. “I love village deli because it’s a classic,” senior Zoe Spilker said. “You can’t go wrong with Paxton’s potatoes and a chocolate chip pancake.” The pancakes here are almost bigger than your plate, so grab your friends and hit this food joint the morning of game day for a hearty breakfast.
9. B-Town Diner
Located: 211 N Walnut St, Bloomington, IN 47404
Missing your mom’s home cooking? Venture the 10-minute walk from Sample Gates and shake your homesickness. “You can get both a great breakfast omelet and a great pizza for cheap,” freshman Michael De La Peña said. “The workers are really nice.” Open 24/7 and right next to Brothers Bar and Grill makes their pizza the ultimate drunchie.
10. Uptown Café
Located: 102 E Kirkwood Ave, Bloomington, IN 47408
Hours: 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday
This restaurant is the ideal place to take your sweetheart. You will get the quality of an expensive restaurant, so the menu might be a little pricier. A date here will make your loved one feel special. They serve American eats with a Cajun-Creole twist only a seven-minute walk from Sample Gates. They also have a full bar.