In 1976 at the age of 26, I opened a 30-seat café on North Walnut Street in Bloomington, Ind. It was dineresque, known for its hearty breakfasts featuring the ever-popular Michael’s Homefries.
Many thanks to all my partners.
- I started out with Bill Hittner, who really helped establish the Uptown’s reputation.
- Next came Susan Cornwell, also a great cook, who contributed the Cornmeal Pancake and Chili recipes I still use today.
- In 1984, Spyridon “Strats” Stratigos came on board for the big move to our present location on Kirkwood Avenue. Strats ran the dining room, the business side and helped transform the Uptown Café into a Bloomington mainstay.
In 1999 I became the sole proprietor. Over the years, we truly have become a family business. My wife, Crystal, became the bookkeeper and our six sons have all contributed at one time or another. Currently Jerod manages the front of the house; Lake is a talented chef; and Galen works in various serving capacities.
I always have had a passion for food and the huge variety of simple, hearty, regional cooking styles. In my early years, I was introduced to Louisiana cooking and was particularly inspired by New Orleans Chef Paul Prudhomme.
Food-wise, the Uptown’s emphasis is a Cajun Creole style, with bold flavors, hearty portions and food with personality. In a way, the Uptown is two restaurants in one:
- Breakfast/Brunch, Lunch is lively, fast-paced, focused on items such as Eggs Benedict, Potato Cream Cheese Omelets, Cottage Cheese Pancakes, the best-ever Reuben Sandwich, Ararat Chicken in Pita, Cuban black bean soup, Gumbos and Etouffees
- Dinner has a romantic bistro atmosphere, accompanied by classic jazz and hearty standards such as Gorgonzola crusted Filet Mignon with Port Demi Glace, Grilled AAA Yellowfin Tuna with Soy Ginger Vinaigrette and Wasabi Butter, jumbo lump crabcake, Louisiana BBQ Ribs, New Orleans BBQ Shrimp, and Louisiana Hot Pepper Chicken.
Classic Specials are available nightly. Look for half-priced wine on Mondays, Fat Tuesday Specials and Home Cookin’ every Wednesday.
We offer craft beers and fine wines. Our on-staff sommelier works to ensure the quality of our ever-evolving selection.
We are open seven days a week and can seat more than 200. Our full 50' bar handmade by Larry Feree of American Cherry, African Mahogany and Brazilian Cherry opened in April 2012. We offer classic cocktails, quality spirits, selected craft American and beers of the world, and fine wines. We also offer a 50-seat private room for special events including rehearsal dinners, business dinners and birthday celebrations. (For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.)
I am grateful to the many people who have made significant contributions to our evolution and created the “Gumbo of Humanity” that is the Uptown Café.
Thank you to our loyal customers. We hope to provide good food and service for many years to come.
The Uptown Café is a proud member of Visit Bloomington.