Bloomington resident Benjamin VanMeter is ready to indulge in Bloomington’s late-night dining on a Saturday night. But due to the COVID pandemic, he is more likely to buy food at night when delivery is an option. 

“I used to order late-night pizza all the time, but since I can get Asian food or cookies delivered late-night as well I have more to think about when I am hungry at night,” he said. 

"> Bloomington resident Benjamin VanMeter is ready to indulge in Bloomington’s late-night dining on a Saturday night. But due to the COVID pandemic, he is more likely to buy food at night when delivery is an option. 

“I used to order late-night pizza all the time, but since I can get Asian food or cookies delivered late-night as well I have more to think about when I am hungry at night,” he said. 

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The Media School

Delivery only models and new food options have changed Bloomington’s late-night dining experience

April 21st, 2021 by
Photograph by Kendall Cole

Bloomington resident, Benjamin VanMeter is impressed by Bloomington's new late-night options and adaptations due to COVID. His favorite new restaurants include Insomnia Cookies and Trap Mike's.

Bloomington resident Benjamin VanMeter is ready to indulge in Blooming

ton’s late-night dining on a Saturday night. But due to the COVID pandemic, he is more likely to buy food at night when delivery is an option. 

“I used to order late-night pizza all the time, but since I can get Asian food or cookies delivered late-night as well I have more to think about when I am hungry at night,” he said.

The late-night dining scene has evolved over the last few years. The implementation of new food options and delivery only models have improved the late-night food experience for residents of Bloomington like VanMeter.

Erin White, director of leisure for Visit Bloomington has noticed the changes in the late-night food scene. 

 “It used to just be pizza or the hot dog cart guy. It’s kind of been an evolution,” White says. “The things I have liked seeing over the last several years with late-night food is a more diverse type of food experience or opportunities in different cuisines popping up late night.” 

Food options such as Do Asian Fusion on Fourth Street, Z&C Teriyaki on Kirkwood, and Doner Kebab food truck all open past 1 a.m.

“I’ve really liked seeing how many late-night options have popped up during my time in Bloomington,” says VanMeter, “The variety and delivery options are a game-changer.”

Photograph by Kendall Cole

Erin White, Director of Leisure for Visit Bloomington appreciates the diverse food options offered late-night in Bloomington. She believes that there is room for all different types of restaurants to be successful in the late-night market.

Bloomington food blogger Meghan Galaby has seen this evolution as well. 

“What sets Bloomington apart is the amount of options people have with late-night food,” she says. “After going to several universities to visit, the typical late-night restaurants are mainly pizza, so Bloomington offers some fresh options.”

 Not only does she notice the variety of options Bloomington has already, but also that restaurants continue to open. 

“The late-night dining scene has definitely evolved as more restaurants seem to come in,” she says. “I’ve noticed more people have changed their preferences on what to get at night over the years.” This year, Indiana University students Misha Rekhter and Max Himelstein opened a delivery-only food service called Trap Mike’s.

Using the One World Kitchen Share they rent out an industrial-grade kitchen to cook their food from 10 p.m.-4 a.m. hours and deliver food all over Bloomington on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights. 

“Creative ideas and places like Trap Mike’s are capitalizing on a unique market that we’ve got in Bloomington with an emphasis on delivery and low startup costs,” says White. 

The question is: Will the newcomers overshadow the Bloomington late-night classics?

“I definitely think newcomers to the late-night dining scene will overshadow some classics. Trap Mike’s whole business concept is so appealing to students that it’s hard to say they wouldn’t.” — Meghan Galaby, Bloomington Food Blogger

According to Food Delivery App Revenue and Usage Statistics, the food delivery market has seen significant growth over the past year. Delivery options are changing the late-night food scene for Bloomington, IN. 

“What I’ve noticed is that the younger generations prefer less interaction and just want to quickly order stuff on their phones,” says White, “And now you have online delivery only models, so they completely eliminated the storefront and they’re coming at you from a ghost kitchen basically.”

With delivery models with ghost kitchens like Trap Mikes and apps that pick up late-night food for residents and deliver a variety of cuisines to their door, Bloomington residents are satisfied with the evolution.

“Delivery services play a huge role in late-night dining success,” says Galaby. “Time is always of the essence and delivery solves that.”

In February 2021, Insomnia Cookies opened on Kirkwood Ave. directly below the Upstairs Pub. The shop delivers cookies and milk to the Bloomington campus and surrounding area until 3 a.m. on the weekends. 

“Insomnia Cookies is a great addition to late-night food in Bloomington,” VanMeter says. “My friends and I prefer delivery and they are very fast.”

VanMeter enjoys the new late-night options in Bloomington.

“I think that oftentimes we see changes in trends, and new ways of doing things emerging in college towns and larger cities quicker than other places,” says White, “The reason for that is innovative ideas.”