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Heartland Community College Student Magazine

Seven Yummy Local Restaurants

Seven Yummy Local Restaurants

by Jazmine Khant

Luckily we live in an area that is happy to support local businesses, and for good reason! Many local restaurants are owned by truly passionate people, who will provide quality food with no nonsense. If you happen to have some extra cash, and you’re looking for local restaurants that are worth the money, this is the list for you!

Restaurant #1: Anju Above, 220 E Front St, Bloomington
This quirky little place is gaining popularity pretty fast. Located in downtown Bloomington, on the floor above Epiphany Farms, the piano-bar-turned-restaurant boasts a menu of unique Asian fusion dishes. The menu includes a wide, but compact variety of foods, including sushi, Korean appetizers, and contemporary pizzas. Everything, including the desserts, is freshly made! They offer plenty of vegetarian, vegan, and gluten-free options, in case of any dietary restrictions, all of which are marked on the menu. And if you’re of drinking age, they also have a bar! The only drawback to going here would be the noise level. Being an upscale bar/restaurant, it tends to get loud, so if sensitive to loud music or people, be cautious. I would suggest visiting before 5:30-6pm; that’s when it tends to get the busiest.
Recommendations: Farm-2-Face Sushi, Pork Belly Ramen, Grain Bowl, Margherita Pizza, Mochi Ice Cream

Restaurant #2: Ephesus, 1406 E Empire St, Bloomington
Ephesus has been here in town for a while. Started 7 years ago by a Lebanese couple, this restaurant has great portion sizes. They also have a vegetarian section of the menu. Make sure to try the falafel, because everyone deserves to eat a fresh hot falafel dipped in baba ganoush and hummus.
Recommendations: Falafel Plate, Chicken Saute, Chicken Couscous, Gyro Plate, Baklava

Restaurant #3: Signature India, 1407 N Veterans Pkwy, Bloomington
The decor and atmosphere may be a little off-putting, however, the food makes up for it tenfold. The food is always hot and fresh, and the service is incredible; the family that owns the restaurant are from northern India and they’re very nice. The first time I went, they offered to make a small sample of the dish we were debating on ordering. They also have entire pages of their menu dedicated to vegetarian dishes, which taste just as great as their meaty counterparts. Their bakery is great too; there’s a nice variety of cakes and pastries to choose from. Recommendations: Malai Kofta, Chicken Biryani, Paneer Tikka Masala, Mango Lassi, Black Forest Cake

Restaurant #4: Old Bank, 201 E Center St, Le Roy
Started by the Epiphany Farms Hospitality Group, which also owns Anju Above and (obviously) Epiphany Farms Restaurant, Old Bank is an eclectic new restaurant and bar in Le Roy, located in what used to be an actual bank. Old documents and files are hung on the wall, and the vault door is still there and intact. The whole place is novel and creative, such as the menu being named after banking terms; appetizers are called ‘opening deposits,’ foreign dishes are called ‘foreign exchange,’ the main courses are called ‘prime interest,’ etc. This restaurant also offers some vegetarian and vegan options.
Recommendations: Beet and Mushroom Burger, Fish Tacos, Loaded Baked Potato, French Fries, Loaded Waffle Cone, Skillet Cookie

Restaurant #5: Thanh Linh, 1209 W Main St, Peoria
This one is my favorite on the list. Yes, it’s a bit of a drive to Peoria, but I promise this place is worth it. Owned by a Vietnamese family, Thanh Linh offers huge portions of Thai food for a wildly reasonable cost. For about $10-15 they serve enough food for like, three whole meals. Everything is freshly made in-house, even the lunch buffet, which is also well-priced at around $8 per person. The service is great, the food comes out really fast, and you can substitute any meat dish on the menu with tofu. If you’re willing to make the drive, this place is one of the best in the area.
Recommendations: Crabmeat Rangoon, Teriyaki lemongrass chicken/tofu, Pad Thai, Thanh Linh iced tea, Bubble tea

Restaurant #6: Zoup, 115 Krispy Kreme Drive, Bloomington
This place has been open for a while and is semi-well known. Zoup is a small Panera-type restaurant offering reasonably-priced and seasonal soups, salads, and sandwiches. The soup menu changes all the time, giving a delicious incentive to come back every so often and try whatever is new. Several options are vegan and vegetarian, and they offer samples of whatever soup you want to try. Zoup is a cheaper, fresher version of Panera.
Recommendations: Thai curry soup, chicken pot pie soup, Broccoli cheddar soup, Chicken Toscana, Veggie wrap, Cranberry almond salad

Restaurant #7: Yumz!, 120 Krispy Kreme Drive, Bloomington
Yumz is another small, chic Asian restaurant that serves well-priced, delicious dishes. Located just a few doors down from Zoup, they’re slightly less expensive than Anju Above, but also less fusion-y. It offers simple, commonly known Chinese and Japanese food, including a build-your-own bento box special! They also do delivery, just in case you don’t want to leave the house. They do offer vegetarian-friendly items, although the options are somewhat limited, such as vegetable lo mein or tempura. They also offer inexpensive sushi that is delicious.
Recommendations: Chicken tempura roll, Dynamite roll, Bento box, Chicken/vegetable lo mein, Mochi ice cream, Bubble tea.

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One Comment

  1. Ephesus is a great place to eat. Would love to try Yumz!