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December 28, 2005


Jane Elliott

I'm not internet-savy, so don't really know who I'm communicating to, but I was at Indiana University in the 70's, loved the Tao Restaurant (as well as Earth Kitchen, Gables, Zeus Gyros, and several others). Anyway, I may buy The Taos of Cooking if it has some of my favorite recipes in it, including their great vegeburger. Does anyone know if it does? The Earth Kitchen had a good vegeburger, too, as well as great rice and vegetable recipe. I wish I could get some of their recipes, too.

Ed Gregory

Thanks for resolving a debate between me and a couple of IU friends from the 70s. We couldn't recall the name of Zeus' Gyros, which we all sorely miss 30 years later.

Tom Horrell

Great article, brings back many great memories of the Tao, Cork & Cleaver, Gold Rush, Butterfields, etc. I don't suppose you have any old pictures of any of those places do you? Would love to have a copy for my scrabook!

Jane Elliott

i have to read what you've written, I went to school in the '70's and have often thought about the fantastic vegeburgers from both the Tao and the Earth Kitchen, also the Earth Kitchen's rice and veggies, oh and their sloppy joseph. Those were the days. Let me go read what you have here. Thank you. There were some great 1960 leftover hippies in that town, remember Alan Gervitz?

Don fox

I am writing to you about your article on Long Gone Resturaunts (published Dec 28 2005). I used to work at the TAO in Bloomington. I was a dishwasher - my first job!) and have wonderful memories of that place. Robin was one of their cooks and always made me an omelette to die for (and yes it had mushrooms). Robin couldn't have been the cook that day as she would have taken that order back at once and put mushrooms in it. Do you remember the Open Heart? It was a wonderful soyburger sandwich dressed up with avocado slices, sprouts, tomatoes and a little bit of mayo (wasn't totally healthy!).

I also used to work at the Gold Rush (as a dishwasher and as a busboy). I had a great time there too. They had some great prime rib and a mexican dish called the Taltec torito (which was just 3 large burritos). I could put you to sleep with stories of that place.

Anyway thanks for sharing the memories.

Marilyn M. White

So sorry to hear that the Tao no longer exists! I'll be in Bloomington in October for the American Folklore Society annual meeting, and I was hoping to go to the Tao. Fond memories from my years at IU(1969-71, MA '71) and of good, inexpensive food at Tao. Thanks for the article!

Steve Ford

I enjoyed your post. I went to IU in '68, and stayed around until '81. The restaurants you list bring back great memories, but especially the Tao. I remember the veggie burgers, the croissants, and brown rice with some herbal sauce I've never been able to reproduce. It's sad that the Tao is gone, but at least I have the cookbook.

Terri Talarek King

You bring back such memories! My husband and I lived in Bloomington in the 1970's. We especially remember the Tao, and Rudi's Bakery and Deli (which at first was not attached, physically, to the Tao.) We used to go to the Tao and each get a salad (Tao dressing!!), a bowl of the soup of the day, a slice of the quiche of the day, and we'd share an order of fried rice (so good!) and a pot of herbal tea. And it was so inexpensive!! We moved back to Bloomington in the early 1980's. I got to work at Rudi's for a year. I was trained by members of the Ashram, but that was the year they moved to Boston and the Tao and Rudi's were sold to some businessman from Indy. The Tao had already gotten kinds yuppie by then, and then it got more that way, and also more expensive. But, my year at Rudi's was wonderful and memorable. And I gladly have a copy of the Tao cookbook (got it at Border's when it was reprinted), so now I can make Tao Dressing, the fried rice, the Polish barley/mushroom soup, the empanadas,and all sorts of other things we enjoyed back then. Thanks for your blog and memories! :)

Karen Small

Rudi's poppyseed cake with cream cheese icing was one of my favorites - or was it the carrot cake with cc icing. I remember both being so yummy. My treasured copy of The Tao cookbook has the recipes - but they never come out quite as good as I remember.

IU '83

Liz Marcus

My copy of the Tao cookbook is so dog-eared, at this point it's held together with rubberbands! Whenever I need mecca of the midwest comfort food, I try to recreate what I remember as the "Tao Dinner" -- brown rice w/ sauce, steamed veggies, the Tao salad with that great dressing, and a slice of fabulous, dense wheat bread. The Earth Kitchen was also a favorite stop for half a Cheese Blend sandwich and split pea soup to go. Does anyone remember the Vienna Dog House, which was on Kirkwood near Nick's for a while in the mid 70s? They had bagels on weekends, from a deli in Chicago (long before Blmgtn had any bagels), vegetarian eggs benedict, and a taco w/ sauerkraut called the "Acupulco Gold". Was the food really manna? Or is it just so intertwined in my memory with those carefree days in what was a magical place?


I wkrk at Bloomingfoods in the alley just North of Kirkwood. Always wondered why our Tao dressing was called such! We also still carry Rudi's bread. I was looking up local food history and saw this write up. Anyone visiting Bloomington should drop in and relive those days at our little store in the alley!

Kat Douglas

So many memories. In 1973 the Ashram Bakery, as it was then known, was in an old house at 10th & Washington. The Tao opened a year or two later and the bakery, renamed Rudi's, moved to the adjacent property much later.

We had their French Toast with orange, almond and nutmeg for breakfast this morning and I still make Poppy Seed cake from their recipe. One recipe I always wished was in the book was for Hungry Cookies -- they were huge, more dense muffin than cookie, with lost of sunflower seeds, nuts, etc. .

I remember the Dog House -- best biscuits and gravey in town. The people who ran it opened another place, I don't remember the name, in a little strip mall at 10th and Union. Best smoothies ever.

I moved to the San Francisco area when I left and have eaten a whole lot of great food. But Bloomington in the 70's is as good as it gets for inexpensive, good quality food.

Roderick St. John

I loved the Tao restaurant. In the early 70's, I was on an extremely tight student budget. The Tao had an amazing affordable treat that I had never eaten before - brown rice with soy sauce. I think it cost 80 cents for a large bowl.

The Tao had another thing I had never seen before - a ceiling full of flowering fuchsia plants - an amazing display of beauty.

The Tao waitrssses, in their long exotic skirts and jangly jewelry, often seemed a little too blissed out to be serving food but were always pleasant.

I just finished a bowl of brown rice with soy sauce, remembered the Tao, Googled and here I am!

J Shults, back in the day

No one has mentioned Nick's on Kirkwood which of course is still there. Don't forget Pagliai's Pizza on the square. I walked in there & asked the mgr if people who worked there ate for free. He said "yes". I asked if I could have a job. He laughed at me, asked me a few ?'s, the final: "When can you start?" Oh I still love B'ton!!! I found this link with lots of B'ton photos of the 70's era. Enjoy enjoy enjoy!!! http://www.littlebear.com/BloomingtonGallery/

Sabina R

I was in Bloomington from 1970-1975 and remember the Dog House which had Falafel Burgers - my introduction to falafel. There was also the Two Bit Rush. I was also a waitress at a place that was a truck stop by day and a gourmet restaurant on the week-end evenings called Claudia's Kitchen. I learned how to "flute" mushrooms there. The owners also had a tea shop called El Palomar on 4th and Dunn(?). I remember late night delivery to the dorms of stromboli's but I can't remember what they were. There were also 5 cent ice cream cones in Gresham Dining Hall and phosphates. I had forgotten about the Tao and I'm glad someone mentioned the Gables because I was trying to remember this place that had a great lentil and walnut salad. It's been fun reminiscing.


As a poor student 1976-1983, (off and on) I was able to eat at many of these places only when the parents came. I have worked at 4 of them also! But I haven't seen anyone talk about the only place I could afford to go: Bear's on 3rd! Half priced pitchers and great pizza rounded out my diet during those days!!! Thanks for the great memories of these places.

mary penland

Hey-- You can buy The Tao of Cooking from Amazon, but why not give that money directly to its publisher, INDIANA UNIVERSITY PRESS?? I worked at Rudi's for a number of years, and it was my recipe that inspired the "Hungry Cookie." Actually, it was a recipe for "rancher cookies"(?) from a Rodale cookbook called Naturally Delicious Desserts and Sauces. There's a fruitcake recipe in there that proves why people started giving them as gifts---wonderful! 'Miss Rudi's. 'Miss The Tao. 'Miss IUB. Life goes on.


34 years after graduating and leaving Bloomington, I'm now about to move my daughter in there. I used to walk past the Tao every day my senior year and stopped in to there ant Rudy's now and then.

I also note that Zeus Gyro's, tentatively still exists. After the horrific fire that shut them down, the owners rebuilt a few blocks away with more menu items and more room. That place is called the Trojan Horse and is still there.

caroline dimauro

I cannot believe I'm actually typing that my husband and I graduated 24 yrs ago from IU (does NOT feel that long) - a quiet Saturday and he just asked me about of the blue: "Hey Murph, did you ever go to Leung Chung at IU?" Trying to remember "the Chunger" I googled it and found this post :) Ahhh, good times. Love Bloomington!!!!

Karen Jones

Can someone remember the name of the deli that was near downtown in the 70s? I'm recalling awesome sandwiches and a big plate of halvah that they sold by weight.

Kriss Ostrom

We attended IU from 1970-74 and lived in the then-tiny (pop. 400) artist colony of Nashville. (That's long-gone, too. Very touristy now!) I recently got "The Tao of Cooking," hoping it would have the recipe for the mouth-watering cream cheese danish we so enjoyed at the Nashville branch of The Tao, "The Ashram Bakery." (Nope, but it has TWO veggie burger recipes.) Ah Mama Bear's and 47c gin & tonics on Fridays with fellow students. I have been trying to remember the place that served "hamburger loose" and you reminded me it was "The Vienna Dog House." Anyone remember pizza, broasted chicken, & cozy round fireplace at the “Village Inn” (east side of College, maybe around 7th/8th) with cheap mini-pizza lunch specials? What was the higher-end place on the west side of Walnut around 11th with the best Roquefort salad dressing I have EVER had? Or who remembers the place with "pizza" in its name even further north on the west side of College (maybe 14th?) with the delicious anise-infused pizza sauce? Thanks for all the memories!

Andrew Axelrod

Karen Jones, would the place you're trying to recall be The Village Deli?


Karen Jones, the deli near downtown in the 1970s was called "the Choo Choo." Had a railroad engine logo on the sign. Excellent corned beef sandwiches, and like you said, the plate of halvah. They also featured live music (a friend of mine played there, in a Dixieland band).


Anyone remember a place called the Hour House?
Think it was on 2nd & Washington?

Nancy Geer

I definitely remember the Tao, and Zeus Gyro and the Hour House - best breakfast for $1.69 that you could have back in the '70s. I was just looking up old places I remembered for a co-worker who is taking his daughter around on college campus tours. Can it really be 40 years since I was there? I don't feel that old....

Debra D Rinck

Just back from from IU today..and was reveling in being back on campus since graduating in 1980..I dearly remember The Tao..but I also remember a sandwich joint called Rapps that had great corned beef sandwiches and reubens...does anyone remember this place?
Bloomington is still the most beautiful campus ever so great to be there during graduation week.


Rapp's Pizza Train. Long gone I am afraid. 😏

michelle martin-colman

I used to perform/sing at Rapps! Have lived in Bloomington since 1970:). Gabe Colman (my son) learned manners weekly lunching with me at The Tao:). Just made "Indonesian rice" again from the Tao cookbook--my go to main course dish for every event when i need a guaranteed winner! It's definitely worth buying that book!!! If you want to talk even more history/eatery drama, stop by The Venue Fine arts gallery on grant AT FOURTH STRRET--Bloomington's new eatery locale---and meet (now artist)Gabe and his dad, (retired attorney/storyteller from 1960 Bloomington) Dave Colman. Sit on the font porch swing and SMELL new memories from some of Bloomington's newest hot spots to eat!!

Bob Stoner

Before the Tao there was the "New Age Deli" which was started by Steve White and some others who lived in Needmore. It was THE hippie hangout in Bloomington in 1971 and 72. I use to play music there for free food. It was my first exposure to brown rice, tofu, and miso soup. Then Rudi and his followers bought it and started the Tao. I remember Richie Goldstein was in charge of the bakery which was incredible. Yep, I miss it. And yes, Rapp's with mediocre pizza and a pitcher of beer was a good place to play music and have a good time.

Don Fox

Just a funny thought ... When I worked at the Tao, I worked there as a dishwasher along with a friend, Steve Dunn. At night we had a radio on and would sing so loudly that the waiters and waitresses would come back and tell us to shut up because the customers could hear us out in the lobby! Good times! One of the waitresses (I forget her name), started a little restaurant, along with her husband called The Petite Café because it only had two tables. Does anyone remember that?

Craig Ha'o

Aloha Friends. Studied Music at IU from 1982-87. *Does anyone remember a 24 hr Diner at corner of S.Woodlawn/Atwater called "OUR PLACE"? It was on ground floor of a apartment complex and across street from the School of Optometry. GREAT Homefried Potatoes and Sausage Gravy and Biscuits! They had a great old Jukebox too with original "Girl from Ipanema" and Free refills on Coffee. Guy named BRUCE was the main Cook/manager. Nice guy.

I also cooked at a few places..Leslie's ITALIAN Villa (Frank and Leslie and "Jazz", a Great guy who was the Greeter there), the Crazy Horse, the PORTICO's restaurant (Steve Koontz ran it..and Yes it was Haunted), the Big Wheel and the Old Oaken Bucket Room on N.Walnut. Learned a lot, and made some great Friends back then.

Anyone remember " Campus Casino" Bar/Grill and of course "Garcia's Flying Tomato Bros. Pizza on.Indiana Ave?? Lot of.great memories and Date nite memories esp from Garcia's. Bears and MA Bears on 3rd Street was where the Music people hungout and it was great Fun/lot of Memories! Good Strombolis Lasagna and hand tossed Pizzas!

Krogers at Seminary Square, the original location of the IU Campus from when it was a College that taught future Theologians. They had a small Cafe in the store with a very nicely priced Breakfast Buffet! Sunday mornings that was the spot. Lot of great Food memories from those Bloomington days of long ago. Another Blessing from having attended such a fine University and Music school.

Aloha from Honolulu and Merry Christmas Friends!

A Geller

What was the name of the lively breakfast/sandwich place at Atwater and Woodlawn before it became today's Subway? I'm thinking 73-77 if it has gone through several names and owners.

And wasn't it run by a sorority?

I remember it as a funky (by Bloomington standards) all-night diner-style eatery (or did it only open very early) with local character in the interior 'design' and a mix of interesting patrons, many of them more eccentric even than me.

The only place in the original post that I can't remember/picture from student or later years is Rapp's. Where was that again?


i worked for a year and a half at pagliai's pizza on the square. made the sausage fresh every day. grated huge blocks of provolone and moz and on sunday's i delivered tons of $4.25 large, one item pies that were greasy, gooey, and to die for. this was 1979-80. what i would give for one of those fantastic pies now. so much cheese!!!

also remember bruce's for that huge, cheap 3am breakfast. wish i was a kid again, dammit.

Bob Moffitt

I used to work at Rapp's, and the owners of Wimples on Walnut were my landlords. Ah, the memories of those long-gone places.

Michelle martin Colman

Re questions above, The restaurant at the corner of Atwater and Woodlawn was, in the '70's, the Hour House. Great breakfast place --open all nite I think! I'm also remembering the very best Pork tenderloin sandwiches I've ever had in my life at what I think was called "The Lucky Steer?" Across from eigenman one 1970'-- :)

Joyce M. Jeffries

I was happy to run across this blog and enjoyed reading all the comments. I loved the Vienna Dog House, Nutcracker Suite, Runcible Spoon, The Village Inn Pizza Parlor, Rapp's Pizza Train but my very most favorite was Pancho's Villa, best Mexican Restaurant ever! The Nutcracker Suite had the most glorious sandwiches on whole grain bread, the wonderful strawberry lemonade, the best fruit bowl ever, and those gigantic brownies. All lovely. The crowds were different then from the ones we have now. The best places to eat in Bloomington now (in my opinion) are Opie Taylor's on the square (Best Burgers around! Award-Winning!) and the newest Mexican Restauratn, El Ranchero on Liberty Dr. between 2nd and 3rd streets. www.elrancherofood.com


It's a beautiful day, I'm going outside, but I just ran across this as I was thinking about Veggie Burgers. I was quite the hippie vegetarian in the 70s, in Bloomington and on farms around there. I worked at the Tao Restaurant and Earth Kitchen. I have recipes for the Veggie Burger and Sloppy Joseph, and the cookbook as well. The recipes tend to measure things by the handful and are more like guidelines, but I love to make them for summer -- always in demand! I'll dig them out and post if I hear from others that anyone is interested.


I remember Hour House grabbing a sound byte from CSNY "Our House" for their radio commercials. Rapp's was always a great stopping place late night after playing music up in Indy and coming back down to school. My first (and repeated) introduction to the wonders of dark beer.

Cynthia Kincaid

My cousin and I shared an apartment on North Grant Street in 1973. We walked to the Ashram Bakery almost every day. I'd have sworn it was on the corner of 10th and N. Grant, but I could be wrong. It was the Seventies, after all! The Chocolate Dream Supreme was my absolute favorite and I'd love to have the recipe if anyone has it and would be willing to share (please?). I've never tasted anything like it, before or since.

Laura Krentz

I was at IU from '73-'76, and spent lots of time at the Hour House, Cafe Pizzaria, LADYMAN's, and The Gables. I worked as a waitress at Key West Shrimp House on the North end of town my senior year!! Such great tips there during that legendary IU Basketball Championship season!!! I miss Bloomington always!

Claire Arbogast

The Hour House was at 3rd and Woodlawn where Subway is now.

Cindy Daley

I used to live in Bloomington - worked at RCA in my 20's - LOVED Jeremiah Sweeney's - it was very near the apartment I lived in - Fountain Park - which is still there today. They had a Mexican dish made with shredded beef - it was delish - I can taste it right now. I loved that place!

N. S. Firth

I've been thinking recently about that home cooking restaurant that served little loaves of hot, homemade bread..used to go for Sunday dinner. I managed Rapp's for awhile and remember owners Stacey and Hank Berman making the best brisket for special occasions. The Tao brings back memories and I still crave Michaels home fries from the Uptown cafe, next to the Bluebird. And the night I sat behind Truman Capote at Nick's, where I always went for clam strips. 1974-75, Briscoe Hall and an apartment atop the Full-o-Pep hardware store. Good times.

K. Underwood

Does anyone remember a mexican restaurant that was close to Curry Buick back in the late 70's

James Ryan

The two food items I remember best were The Uptown Cafe's Potato and Cream Cheese Omelet - I still crave that - and the Tao Fried Rice at the Tao. I lived in Bloomington from 1974 -1983 and had I been able to find a job there would never have left. Still go back every few years as I had friends who never did leave.

Susan Engle Barker

I LOVE all these memories--restaurants I've not thought of in years! I am absolutely buying the Tao Cookbook today. Trying to remember the name of a restaurant that was probably off the beaten path for most students. Believe it was owned by two sisters and served seasonal, home-made food (persimmon pudding every fall!). Located on the east side of North Walnut, maybe 8-10 blocks from the square.

Scott Gilbert

Wow, I just ran across this post and it took me back to a whole lot of great memories of Bloomington from the mid-'70s through the early '80s. Thanks!

I have a permanent soft spot for Rapp's because that was the place where a really cool girl -- now my spouse of 36 years -- took a liking to me.


Not a restaurant, but I spent hours at Rocky's. Playing pinball. Could be why it took me 13 years to get a degree

Mark Hilton

At one point the part of the Pizzeria closest to Grant St. was a Mexican food area. . . the door for it is still there. I believe I had my first taco there. At one point, Hinkle's, which is still in town, was located at 10th and Grant. You could get a Hinkleburger and play pinball in the back all night long. Later the oriental grocery went in that spot, Moon's I think. Also, someone mentioned the Vienna Dog House, and the owners opening another spot on the east side. Jay and Linda Twomey took over Peterson's in Crosstown Square and re-invented it with some of the Dog House favorites plus much more. They initially had the Udder Delight next door, which brought some of the first smoothies to Bloomington.


I worked at Fireside in mid 70's. Best time of my life. Cast and crew of 'Breaking Away' stayed at attached Best Western. There was not that many fine dining places in B-town then. Fireside was old school steak and lobster. Bloomington was awash in weed and cocaine.


@ k underwood: yes, the name of the place was bandito's.


I went to IU in the early 80's! I remember Sunday night's going to Pancho Villa's & ordering enchilada suizas! So good! Other favorites walking to get a Blizzard, Kilroy's for date night & beers, Garcia's flying tomato pizza, Mother Bear's Strombolis., Zagreb's & Butterfield's! Loved the "health nut sandwich in The Union & the No bake cookies in the Bakery. One late night having breakfast @ the Hour House Uve Blab (IU Basketball player was eating there by himself! Great times going to the Reg dancing!

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