With a population of nearly 90,000 and home to Mall Of America, which alone brings in another 42 million visitors annually, Bloomington has no shortage of restaurants to suit a lot of tastes.
From casual, family friendly establishments to fine dining best suited for date nights and those special occasions, the dining scene in Bloomington truly has something for everyone and every palate.
And if you’re in the mood for a quick bite between errands or perhaps a happy hour to view the Minnesota Twins, Vikings or the Wild on television, there are plenty of trendy bars, grills and burger joints as well.
FAMILY FRIENDLY RESTAURANTS
To get your toes and fingers tapping to the beat, visit Hard Rock Café, located on the first level of Mall of America inside Nickelodeon Universe®. The 15,000-square-foot cafe boasts a new live music space, additional dining areas and upscale technology and design features. The aesthetic of Hard Rock Café Mall of America follows a design vision that is a tantalizing fusion of the excitement of the Mall with the energy and vibe of the Hard Rock brand. In addition to a great all-American menu with burgers, seafood, pasta, and steak, the cafe also features a live music stage with capacity for 1,200 guests, two spacious bars, a 750-square foot Rock Shop retail store, and an interactive Rock Wall Solo — a 52 inch, high-resolution interactive touch wall that enables fans to virtually explore the world’s greatest music memorabilia collection.
Wahlburger's at Mall of America Wahlburgers is owned by the famous Wahlberg brothers and specializes in fresh ingredients and creative dishes. Each brother (Mark, Paul, and Donnie) has their favorite burger featured on the menu, and the restaurant even brews their own beer, Wahlbrewski.
Because Bloomington is such a family focused community, there are plenty of additional dining options for young and old alike. Some of our favorites include Streetz, Shake Shack, Gyropolis, Green Mill, and Mandarin Kitchen.
DATE NIGHT OR SPECIAL OCCASION
If you would rather leave the kids at home with a sitter and venture out for a couple’s night, Bloomington’s upscale options won’t disappoint. Embrace the farm-to-table trend at Urbana Craeft Kitchen & Market, where fruits and vegetables are grown at on-site gardens. Local favorites like steak, walleye, and wild rice are served in Urbana's open and stylish dining room. The restaurant is located inside Hyatt-Regency Bloomington-Minneapolis.
JW Marriott's on-site restaurant, Cedar + Stone, Urban Table, pays homage to traditional Minnesota cuisine with its locally sourced menu. The vibrant and unique menu features flatbreads, seafood, and sumptuous desserts that are fitting for a special celebration.
It wouldn’t be the heart of the Midwest without a bevy of steakhouse options. Since 1986, many date nights and special occasions have been celebrated at Woolley’s Steakhouse, located in Embassy Suites Minneapolis Airport. Urbana Craeft Kitchen & Market
The restaurant’s interior actually looks like a tropical oasis with amazing surroundings of real plants, flowers and trees. A waterfall and stream flow past the restaurant and the open-air gazebo and cozy booths complement all types of occasions — business, romantic, celebrations, or just going out for a satisfying dinner. This independently owned steakhouse embodies classic American cuisine at its finest, including a dinner menu that specializes in premium Certified Angus Beef and chops, fresh fish and seafood, pastas, poultry, and many other selections.
Located in Radisson Blu Mall of America is another can’t-miss restaurant, FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar. The entrees at FireLake are crafted into menus that satisfy different appetites and tastes, catering to just about every occasion, from everyday to special days. The food and overall casual chic vibe of the restaurant and adjacent upscale bar and pool room are deeply rooted in North America, but the influence of the Mediterranean is never far away. Simply great tastes in a great space — all delivered with great service.
FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar
Another fine dining hot spot in Bloomington is CRAVE. “Fresh, Vibrant, American” sums up your dining experience at CRAVE Mall of America. CRAVE uses only natural and free range meats, as well as organic and local produce, dairy items, and coffee. The freshness of the ingredients and the careful preparation at CRAVE have resulted in a menu of diverse, delicious items. Pastas, seafood dishes, chicken, steaks, pizzas, and sandwiches provide something for everyone. An innovative sushi menu is also available, and the happy hour menu features an assortment of bite-sized items. The great food is highlighted by a chic, casual and vibrant atmosphere, suitable for any occasion, but often reserved for those special nights.
Lastly, for those special occasions or date nights, head over to the Normandale Lake area, where couples can’t go wrong with Lela. Lela is a classy and modern restaurant located adjacent to Sheraton Bloomington Hotel. Serving modern American fare such as seafood, prime steaks, and handmade pastas, Lela is an ideal location for a nice night out. The extensive wine list pairs wonderfully with food prepared by Executive Chef Thomas Orbison, who trained at Le Cordon Bleu.
Although we have limited our selection for a date night or special occasion to six featured picks, there are several noteworthy honorable mentions that are most definitely worth checking out: 5120 Restaurant & Onyx Bar, Blue Water Grill, NORTH Restaurant and Cocktail Lounge, and Ciao Bella. Lela Restaurant
BAR & GRILL
No suburb of a major metropolitan area like Minneapolis St. Paul would be complete without its share of bar and grill joints. In fact, many of the Twin Cities’ trendiest happy hour pubs are right in Bloomington. They are equally suited for a post-work gathering or a quick bite in between running errands with or without kids. Here are our featured picks to grab a burger or beer.
The rustic feel and welcoming atmosphere sets Lucky’s 13 Pub apart. Each location shares a dedication to exceptional service, with a scratch kitchen providing generously portioned and quality food. From live music on the weekend to televisions at every angle, customers will find entertainment combined with daily specials and an extensive Americana menu that exceeds expectations — and everyone will love the free freshly popped popcorn.
Cadillac Ranch by Jeremy Nelson. Cowboy Jack’s offers an awesome menu consisting of burgers, wraps, steaks, braised chicken, ribs, pan fried sunnies and more at its two locations in Bloomington. The atmosphere is perfect for a night out with friends or family, or for a quick lunch. Live music is a highlight on Thursday, Friday and Saturday night.
Like Lucky’s and Cowboy Jack’s, Cadillac Ranch is a quintessential all-American bar and grill specializing in steaks, chops, BBQ, burgers, cocktails, and even bull rides. The ranch’s 39 TVs are visible from every seat in the house for sports enthusiasts, and the Mall patio area is perfect for dining while people watching.
Just down the way from Cadillac Ranch is GameWorks, which serves up the perfect combination of food and fun. Featuring a unique bowling experience, an amazing selection of video games, high-def sports viewing, and mouth-watering menu selection of burgers, pizza and more, you can catch many games, play in the arcade, or just hang with friends and family.
Another friends and family hotspot with one of the best outdoor dining areas in Bloomington is Poor Richard's Commonhouse. With cozy booths, rich paneled walls and a lively atmosphere, Poor Richard's pays homage to the past but also reflects the contemporary tastes and sensibilities of the neighborhood. Their food will certainly put a smile on your face without putting a dent in your wallet.
Of course, there are plenty more burger joints around town, with and without big screen TVs blaring and pool balls clanking. Some of the most noteworthy are Shantytown Grill, Zeke’s Place and Joe Senser’s Kitchen Bar. FIND A DIRECTORY OF EVEN MORE GREAT BLOOMINGTON EATS