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Nov 14, 2007 05:38 AM

Bloomington IL - "quick" but not fast!

We're heading to Chicago from St. Louis this weekend and are thinking that Bloomington would be the pit stop. We'll be a party of 6 - 2 of them somewhat picky 15 year old boys. We don't want to hit fast food but also don't want a long, leisurely dining experience either. My husband would love a microbrewery type place if they exist.

As I'm writing this, I'm wondering how close to Chicago you need to be to be on the Chicago board versus the Midwest?



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  1. Sadly, Bloomington is mostly chain restaurants. But our favorite place there is India Bhavan. Awesome Indian lunch buffet. Don't know how that would fly with the picky eaters, though. Here's a link so you can decide:

    1 Reply
    1. re: Anne

      Have been there too. Pretty good. True, it is land of chains (snooze!)

    2. Chains seem to be the theme when I finally was able to search old posts. No way does the 15 year old I'm related to do the Indian food thing (we just got him to eat Chinese after years of nagging & of course now he loves it!)

      Maybe we'll stop earlier in Springfield instead? or even eat late in Chicago.

      Thanks for trying!

      1 Reply
      1. re: kroppinkris

        Stopping in Springfield would be later than Bloomington, not earlier. Sadly that too is a land of chains, though if you search the posts there are a few, albeit few choices.

      2. It is mostly chains. The town of Normal seems like it would have more of a microbrew-type place, but I haven't been there since last winter, so I don't recall.
        I can recommend Tobin's Pizza, though!
        And this sounds promising:

        1. Illinois Brewing Company is a micro-brewery in downtown Bloomington, on Front Street and Center Street (near the courthouse). Not sure about food, but home-brew beers are great!

          1. Too late for the original question, but I'm shocked that no one mentioned Schooner’s at 810 E. Grove Street in Bloomington.

            Off the beaten path, this is a geat neighborhood bar and grill. They have a nice beer garden area when the weather is good. Some of our favorite things to order are the spicy buffalo wings, the GIANT tenderloin sandwich (so big you have to share it!), the wonderful onion rings and the fabulous burgers. The menu is a bit more extensive than many bars, but this is basically "bar food" done really well. Schooners is worth finding if you like this type of food. The relaxed atmosphere of this friendly place is a plus. This is a kid friendly place, but can get a bit loud after 9 pm or so. If you make that Chicago to St. Louis trip again, give Schooners a try - it is tucked into a mixed residential/small businesses area, but is easily accessed from I-55.