The Flavor of Bloomington

It’s almost impossible to enjoy Bloomington without this, and life is meaningless if it doesn’t have it. Any guesses? The answer is flavor, and Bloomington is chock-full of it.

Most people in college often get hungry, especially during free time. Searching for satisfaction, they often wander out into the food-filled environment of Kirkwood. Hungry for Thai? Have a sudden need for Greek food? Craving a sandwich? Kirkwood has it all covered. One such delicious destination is Potbelly Sandwiches.

“We fresh slice all of our produce every morning [as well as] all of our meats,” said John Krupp, an employee at Potbelly Sandwiches. “It really makes for a great quality.”

Many restaurants have fan-favorites that make them well known among customers. Noodles and Company has (you guessed it) delicious noodles, Dagwood’s Sandwiches has its “Where’s The Beef” and “The Dagwood Supreme,” and one restaurant that is known as “Little Tibet” has a large array of curries with different levels of spice.

“We have two different types of curry: We have one indian curry that is a little spicey, and we have the thai curries that are sweeter,” said Tacpak Pema, an employee at Little Tibet. 

At Little Tibet, students can chow down on spicy and delicious curry dishes. Here, they are serving red curry along with broccoli, peas, chicken, and onions. This isn’t the only curry, though. “We have green curry, red curry, [and] yellow curry,” Tacpak Pema said. Along with curries, Little Tibet has a host of dumplings that can satisfy any taste preference.

Some chains, like Potbelly sandwiches or Jimmy John’s, have an easier time seating customers, but smaller home-grown restaurants, like Little Tibet, can get overwhelmed.

“Sometimes we get 20 or 30 [customers],” Pema said “If it’s busy we get 40 or 50.”

Even with multiple locations, many smaller restaurants hate to use the word “chain.” They value a smaller and more community-driven approach.

“We get a lot of regular customers. Sort of the nine-to-five workshift lunch people. Its great getting to know those guys and just getting to know their names, and seeing them every day,” Krupp said. “[We] just go out of our way to give them a pleasant experience.”

One thing to appreciate in Kirkwood is the sheer diversity. Hungry tourists can find Korean, Tibetan, and Thai all on one street. Each street and corner offer restaurants that literally bring something new to the table. Sandwiches and burgers aren’t the only things students munch on. The best way to experience Kirkwood and Bloomington as a whole is to hit both well-known and exotic bistros alike.

“We have Burmese right next door, and then Thai, and all sorts of Indian [restaurants],” Pema said. “Each one of us carries totally different cuisine.”