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5 Blo-No Restaurants You Need To Try ASAP

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Illinois State chapter.

The culture of dining out at restaurants is prevalent throughout the world. It is a chance to try different cuisines made by experts. Many people choose to spend their weekend nights gathering with friends and family over good drinks and food. So, whether you are looking to dine out or try a new place, I have the best restaurant recommendations located in the Bloomington/Normal area that you need to try asap!

Fort Jesse Cafe

Address1531 Fort Jesse Rd #1, Normal, IL 61761

Hours MON – THURS 7 a.m. – 1 p.m., FRI – SUN 7 a.m. – 2 p.m.

The finest brunch joint in Normal. The food speaks for itself here, a cheerful cafe serving hearty, diner-style breakfast, burgers & salads in bright, welcoming digs. The menu had a mix of standard breakfast items plus “a little crazy” items including a breakfast burrito, chicken and waffles, and creative skillets. The atmosphere is very casual and friendly. The staff is always friendly and efficient.  It is the ideal wake-up restaurant, a superb menu offering original items, good value, and an enticing simple atmosphere with lots of friendly people Coffee is always full-flavored & delicious. Fort Jesse Cafe goes above and beyond in every way, and it shows!

Ancho & AGAVE

Address3006 E Empire St, Bloomington, IL 61704

Hours:  MON – THURS 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., FRI – SUN 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Ancho & Agave was born out of a flavor-obsessed craving for fresh, delicious Mexican food with a side of fun. Upscale Mexican food—delicious, inventive, great service, decent prices for a place this nice. Also a very clean and contemporary look and feel. The service is always fast and friendly. Ancho & Agave offers a selection of house-made signature salsas and hand-smashed guacamoles, our freshly prepared tortilla chips are never longing for flavor. Tacos are quite literally the center of the menu. And of course, they have the classics: burritos, fajitas, quesadillas, and enchiladas—all packed with lots of flavors! If tacos are your thing, this is the place you’re looking for. You get delicious food, a fun atmosphere, good drinks, and great service what more could you ask for!

DESTIHL Restaurant & Brew Works

Address318 S Towanda Ave, Normal, IL 61761

Hours: MON – THURS 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., FRI 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., SAT 9 a.m. – 10 p.m. SUN 9 a.m. – 8 p.m.

Amazing, unique, and delicious food DESTIHL Restaurant & Brew Works, in Normal, IL, is a leading brewpub serving Normal, Bloomington, Towanda, Hudson, and surrounding areas since 2007. A wonderful brewpub, combining an excellent, diverse selection of beers, with something for almost any taste, and a nice varied menu. The food is always top-notch and the restaurant has a nice ambiance. The staff is prompt and friendly. DESTIHL has a ton of great staples on its menu. The Ropp cheese curds I highly recommend. Great place for dinner and spending time with friends or coworkers. A great place to dine, wine, and unwind. “Support Flavor, Boycott Bland” is their motto and that rang true in everything we consumed. Great customer service, and clean environment.

Coffee Hound Uptown Normal

Address205 W North St, Normal, IL 61761

Hours: MON – SUN 6:30 a.m. – 4 p.m.

The absolute best local coffee in Bloomington/Normal. This cute coffee shop in uptown is A MUST GO TO. Coffee Hound Uptown Normal is a wonderful coffeehouse within a short walk from the ISU campus. It’s one door down from the Normal Theater and around the corner from the Hyatt Place and the Marriot. There is so much I love about The Coffee Hound. Their coffee is the best in the area. The workers are so sweet and patient. The prices are very reasonable. I love that the kinds of milk they choose to serve are high-quality.  They have a wide variety of bakery items from vegan to gluten-free to paleo. I HIGHLY recommend their avocado toast. It is my all-time favorite. Their house-made toast is served with avocado spread, hard-boiled egg, bacon, green onion, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Pure deliciousness!

Medici in Normal

Address120 W North St, Normal, IL 61761

Hours : MON – THURS 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., FRI – SAT 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., SUN 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Medici is one of the best restaurants in Bloomington/Normal! Medici’s is always a delicious meal, from appetizers to dessert and everything in between. Medici is a short walk from the ISU campus which makes it perfect! have been here a few times and every time the experience is wonderful. Great place to go on a family dinner or even a date night. The staff is courteous, efficient, and well versed in their menu and drink options. Excellent menu and service. The food is extremely good—especially the French fries! The restaurant has very nice decor. It is a nice hidden gem in the Bloomington-Normal area.

Sometimes, all we want to do is get a table and eat. But once in a while, making our eating out an experience is quite enjoyable. Next time I hope you all try out one of these restaurants and make your experience a memory to cherish! If you want to add more restaurants to your bucket list follow my food review account on Instagram: @moi.fine.dining

Moira McGuire

Illinois State '24