True confessions here…I don’t really enjoy cooking. I know, I know. Bad mom. I mean, I just am not a creative person, and I really think you have to be creative to enjoy cooking. I can follow a recipe like nobody’s business, but coming up with my own unique twists on things is hard. Now, it’s not that I don’t cook because I do. Mostly because it’s cheaper than eating out with a family of four and because I can make meals that are a lot healthier and give me a lot more food than in a restaurant.
All of that to say that our family tends to eat out quite a bit…at least a couple times a week. Luckily, the Bloomington-Normal area is really blessed with some amazing places to eat. I had a hard time narrowing the list to the top 10 restaurants in Bloomington-Normal, Illinois!
Not sure where Bloomington-Normal is? We are located in Central IL about halfway between Chicago and St. Louis and Indianapolis and the Quad Cities. Bloomington-Normal sits at the intersection of Interstate 55 and 74 and is home to four colleges and universities (Illinois State University, Illinois Wesleyan University, Lincoln Christian University, and Heartland Community College) and two large insurance companies (State Farm Insurance and Country Financial).
Now that you know where we are located, get a visit on your calendar and check out these restaurants!
Anju Above / Epiphany Farms / Old Bank (LeRoy) – These “Farm to Plate” restaurants use food straight from their farm to make delicious, unique meals for their guests! Anju Above is located above Epiphany Farms which is in a former fire station in Downtown Bloomington. I’m a super picky eater so I typically order the rustic pizza at Anju Above, but I know my friends love their sushi and steam buns! Old Bank in LeRoy is owned by the same group and more my style. My husband LOVES their bacon wrapped meatloaf with mashed potatoes!
Baxters American Grille (also in Champaign) – Baxters has a nice full bar, dining room, and private dining rooms. It’s the perfect location for bridal showers, engagement parties or family celebrations. I love their Brazilian Steak Kabobs and Steak Nachos!
Biaggi’s Ristorante Italiano – Who doesn’t love Italian food?? Oh my gosh, there is so much on this menu that I love – the bread, pizza, stromboli, Rigatoni Bolognese! The portions are huge and it’s very kid friendly, too! Bloomington is home to the original restaurant, but they have additional locations here.
Destihl Restaurant & Brew Works / Destihl Brewery (also in Champaign) – Some of my favorites – cheese curds, beer battered asparagus, bavarian-style pretzels, bison burger, and stone oven pizza. I have friends who love the fish tacos, too! If the weather permits, there is outdoor seating. The brewery opened in late 2017 and I haven’t had a chance to visit yet, but I’ve heard it’s wonderful.
Fort Jesse Cafe – If you love breakfast and comfort food, you will love this place!! They are only open until 2:00pm and almost always have a wait outside the door. My husband is a huge fan of their buffalo chicken horseshoe, but you really can’t go wrong with anything on their menu!
Joe’s Station House / Joe’s Pub – While Joe’s is known for its pizza, there are some other popular and delicious menu items – dough nuggets and the game changer! They opened a 2nd location (Joe’s Pub) in 2017 with outdoor seating.
Medici – Medici is located in Uptown Normal close to the Illinois State University campus. There are two levels with a tree the middle of the restaurant! If the weather permits, there is some seating upstairs that is open to enjoy. I love their Stout BBQ Chicken Pizza! If you enjoy salads, they are huge!
Monical’s Pizza Restaurant – We have three locations in Bloomington-Normal…can you tell we love our pizza? They are most known for their Family Pleaser Meal which includes a pizza or pasta, salad and pitcher of soda. But, they also have calzones, pasta and sandwiches. If I wasn’t getting pizza here, I’d get the BBQ Chicken Sandwich!
Rosie’s Pub (closed Sunday and Monday) – This is a cute pub and restaurant located in Downtown Bloomington. Their burgers and flatbreads are delicious!
Thai House (closed Monday) – If you are a lover a Thai food, the Thai House is one place you will want to check out! Some favorite entrees – Pad-See-Ew, Panang Curry, Green Curry, Thai Egg rolls are a must as well.