Openings, closings, and changes are all part of the Bloomington Normal Restaurant Scene and are what Larry Carius writes about on Facebook. In this conversation with Charlie Schlenker, Carius starts by marking a couple anniversaries, the first one, on the west side of Bloomington.
Bloomington-Normal is ranked 80th in the U.S. by Nielsen as one of the best places in the country to open a restaurant, in part because of disposable income and our proclivity to dine out. According to Nielsen, Bloomington is also ranked 9th in sales per restaurant, with establishments raking in nearly 1.2 million dollars on average. The nearly 400 restaurants in Bloomington-Normal, in addition to those in other McLean County communities are inspected twice or more per year by the McLean County Health Department and now those inspections are online.
The local foods movement has come a long way in a short time with a bigger network of suppliers, making it easier for restaurants to source food within a 100-mile radius. Now in its ninth year, a local flavors farm-to-fork series kicks off this month at The Garlic Press, an Uptown Normal restaurant that was on the forefront of keeping it local.