Restaurant Gift Certificate Recommendations at University of Indiana
May 17, 2014 1:43 PM   Subscribe

Our nephew will be attending the Kelley (sp?) Business School of the University of Indiana at Bloomington. He will not have a car, and will be living in the dorms. Mrs. W and I would like to get him some gift certificates to nice eateries within walking distance. What restaurants do you recommend?
posted by wittgenstein to Food & Drink (8 answers total)
I lived in Bton for 14 years.
Here are some of my recommendations:

Trojan Horse: great Greek.
Village Deli: good, casual breakfast and lunch.
Uptown Cafe: Upscale brunch and lunch.
Runcible Spoon: cool coffee/cafe.
Dagwoods: Best sub shop in town.
Pizza Xpress: The go-to for pizza delivery.
Mother Bear's Pizza: Best tasting pizza in town.
posted by tunewell at 1:57 PM on May 17, 2014 [2 favorites]

What are you looking to spend? Other than Mother Bear's, and maybe Michael's Uptown, I'd recommend a very different set of places, especially given that you said 'nice,' not 'hungover undergrad' (see: pizza x, Trojan horse, Village Deli). Upland would be on my list, without a doubt. For really nice, like, fancy date nice, there's Restaurant Tallent. Lennie's is great and very near Kelley.
posted by amelioration at 2:09 PM on May 17, 2014

Oh, and some links:

Mother Bear's
Restaurant Tallent (multiple Beard awards)
posted by amelioration at 2:26 PM on May 17, 2014

Many colleges now have "campus cash" cards: re-loadable debit cards that students can use to pay for on-campus services and are often accepted at local businesses. IU has "CampusAccess." Hopefully some IU students or Bloomington residents can weigh in on whether this might be an easier option than buying individual certificates.
posted by Sweetie Darling at 3:50 PM on May 17, 2014

Nthing Mother Bear's. Fond memories.

Also for searching help, it's "Indiana University" and not the other way around. Common mistake.
posted by brentajones at 6:21 PM on May 17, 2014

Pretty much anything in Bloomington that's not a chain place will be within walking distance. (And if it's not, IU students get free bus service that will get them anywhere else in town quickly, and it's good to have a reason to go somewhere beyond crossing 10th between Kelley and the library over and over again.) I got a lot of use out of a gift cert from Trojan Horse (was not a hungover undergrad, just someone who likes inexpensive Greek food. Yum.)

If you'd like to give a fancy meal, Tallent's easily fanciest. Upland, Lennie's, Farm, Truffles, and Sweet Grass are also nice. I'm probably missing places that've opened more recently.

If nephew's a grad student at Kelley, I'm not sure he'd be using CampusAccess; I think it's mostly an undergrad thing. If undergrad, much more likely, but I couldn't speak to how it works. As much as I love Mother Bear's (and Pizza X, and Aver's -- Bloomington is really a very good place for interesting pizza toppings) there's so much free pizza available when you're a student due to organization meetings or lunch presentations or whatever that it's not so much worth buying for yourself.
posted by asperity at 7:57 PM on May 17, 2014

We had our wedding rehearsal dinner at the Uptown and I'd certainly recommend it. I'd also suggest the Irish Lion. Good for a nice dinner or for a casual pint.
posted by percolatrix at 11:32 AM on May 18, 2014

Agreed with the above, that Bton is exceedingly walkable (unless one desires say, Applebees). Most of the decent places are pretty much in a line from the main part of campus to downtown, at a distance of only a few blocks.

Because it's a college town, there are a lot of international options. Particular favorites of mine are Samira (Afghani) and Little Tibet. Both are "nice," but moderately priced. Runcible Spoon does a great breakfast in a quirky/funky atmosphere. Restaurant Tallent is one of my favorite higher-end restaurants in the country; it could quite handily hold its own in a much larger city. (I'm biased, having worked for Chef Tallent in one of his earlier restaurants.)

Pizza? Again, as a college town, there are a bazillion options. Several do a quasi-gourmet thing (Aver's. etc.) and are frankly kind of interchangeable. They all do a good enough job of it, I guess, but my fondest pizza memories center around Rockit's, downtown. Big, greasy triangles, heated to order, and eaten in a tiny, long space plastered with musician's signed memorabilia. Is it, strictly speaking, good pizza? Not exactly, but it's a great finish to a night out.

If the recipient of this theoretical gift card is going to be a serious student, they'll probably need some regular infusions of caffeine, right? Maybe hooking them up at an independent coffee shop, like Soma, would be more helpful than food? Another alternate possibility would be to buy him a membership at one of the several locations of Bloomingfoods, the local natural foods co-op.
posted by credible hulk at 2:03 PM on May 18, 2014

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