Bloomington-Normal Restaurants | WGLT

Bloomington-Normal Restaurants

Rob Dob's artist's rendering
Facebook / Rob Dob's

Bob Dobski was a franchise owner of Bloomington-Normal McDonald’s for 35 years. But instead of retiring, he decided to leap into the world of fine dining.

Vivian Doctora
Darnysha Mitchell / WGLT

Uptown Normal has several places to get a bite to eat. It’s about to get a dozen more.

Biaggi's
Eric Stock / WGLT

When Todd Hovenden opened Biaggi's Italian restaurant in Bloomington in 1999, he had never run a restaurant before. 

Tony's Tacos storefront
Facebook / Bloomington-Normal Restaurant Scene

Bloomington-Normal tends to get excited whenever a new chain restaurant opens. But this fall there are several locally opened restauranteurs who are opening their doors to customers.

Biaggi's exterior
Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano / Facebook

Biaggi's Ristorante Italiano is moving, while the company is planning a second restaurant in Bloomington.

Ryan Denham / WGLT

Merry Ann's Diner in Uptown Normal has closed.

Nightshop during daytime
Jon Norton / WGLT

Longtime local musician and promoter Chris Golwitzer realized a dream this month when he opened Nightshop on the north end of downtown Bloomington.

Jason Staten / Flickr

The food service industry is a volatile one. Turnover in establishments can approach 100 percent in just a very few years. 2017 was an active year for restaurant openings and closures.

Google Maps

Swingers Grille in Normal has closed, the restaurant announced Monday on its Facebook page.

Baylee Steelman / WGLT

You may like Portillo’s. But Peter Robinson loves Portillo’s.

He left his home in Waterman (near DeKalb) at 3:30 a.m. to be one of the first in line for Tuesday’s much-anticipated opening of the new Portillo’s in Normal. That’s a 90-minute drive, then another 5-hour wait, before the 10:30 a.m. opening. (By 9 a.m. there were around 12 people already in line in Normal, including Robinson.)

It’s time for a serious, data-driven look at hot dogs and chocolate cake shakes.

The new Portillo’s opening Tuesday in Normal is widely considered one of the most—or the most—anticipated restaurants openings in this community’s history. (Sorry, Chick-fil-A.)

Bloomington-Normal Restaurant Scene / Facebook

Bloomington-Normal is known as an area where people like to dine out ... a lot. And that's inspiring a rash of entries into the Bloomington-Normal restaurant scene.

Ryan Denham / WGLT

The new Destihl Brewery in northeast Normal has put Bloomington-Normal on the craft beer map. But another smaller but growing brewery is taking off across town—inspired in part by Destihl’s success.

Destihl Brewery

Destihl Brewery will open its new $14 million facility in Normal May 27.

The 47,000 square foot brewery will also have a 6,300 square foot beer hall attached for tasting and with a limited a la carte menu.

pixabay.com

On the east side of Bloomington the former Asia location has a new restaurant. Charlie Schlenker talks about Amavarati on Hershey Road with Larry Carius who writes about the Bloomington Normal Restaurant Scene on Facebook.

Kelly's Bakery And Cafe Hosts Local Flavors Event

Jul 20, 2016
Woman cutting tomato
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

The Local Flavors farm-to-table restaurant series continues tomorrow at Kelly’s Bakery and Café where the menu will feature roasted chicken salad on a pretzel roll, a roasted veggie pita, applesauce and sweet peach tea, all made with ingredients from Central Illinois farms.  Owner Kelly Mathy says farms who supply her use practices associated with organic farming but ingredients are not certified as organic.

Creative Commons

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.

Chef shows off stuffed tomatoes
Colleen Reynolds / WGLT

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.

Portillos

Portillo's hot dogs will open a restaurant in Normal in 2017. The Oak Brook based restaurant chain is not yet announcing a location or opening date.

pixabay.com

The close of  the year has resulted in a number of restaurant closings. Larry Carius joins Charlie Schlenker for a periodic update on the Bloomington Normal Restaurant Scene.

Bread on a floor
McLean County Health Department

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.