Carius: 5 new restaurants opening in Bloomington-Normal | Food and Cooking

Three new restaurants — The Original Pinsaria, Pokeworks and Pizza Payaa — have opened in Bloomington in the last month, and two more — Pueblo Grande and Pho Bowl Vietnamese Cuisine — are planned to open before the end of the year.

I find it very interesting, maybe even amazing, that five new Bloomington-Normal restaurants will have opened in two months in what is the apparent height of the COVID-19 crisis, the most difficult time for the restaurant business that I have seen.

And, two opened on the same Saturday!

Let’s take a look at all five:

The Original Pinsaria: The husband/wife owners describe their pizza as “pinsa,” a Rome, Italy, style of pizza. Their tagline is “It’s all about the dough.”

It shares the building with Agape at 211 N. Veterans Parkway.

The couple is from Rome and having had successful pinsa restaurants in Switzerland and Spain, they came to the United States a little over a year ago to open a pinsa restaurant in Bloomington, where they have friends. The plan is this will be the first of a chain. 

Pokeworks, Hawaiian Inspired Poke: The Poke Bowl Restaurant is part of the Crafted development at 1101 Airport Road. The franchise restaurant is the first to open in a complex owned by six local investors. The site also will include Crafted Coffee Brew, a coffee shop with a drive-thru, a full bar, two outdoor volleyball courts and a bocce ball court.

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