Sitting opposite Eli, the owner of the aptly named Eli’s Sandwich Shoppe, with Kanye (probably) playing over the speakers, I felt painfully inadequate. At 23, and only 2 years older than me, Eli has just opened his own sandwich joint here in Bloomington, and it is what one would describe as ‘hip.' 

candy, pastry, cookie, cake, chocolate, sweet
Anna Arteaga

From the outside, Eli’s appears friendly but unassuming, much like Eli himself. The same, however, cannot be said for the sandwiches.

The Main Fare

cookie, coffee
Anna Arteaga

A fiend for Reubens, I ordered Randal’s Reuben on Eli’s recommendation ($7.49), from a selection of 17 different sandwiches on the deli menu. I was not disappointed. The sweet bread, made in-house daily, gets a solid 10/10 for softness. I thought I did not like coleslaw, but I do now. (Please see photo above as evidence of my enjoyment).

Tasty Extras

dough, cake, sweet, pastry, cookie, chocolate
Anna Arteaga

The chocolate chip cookies at the checkout are based on Eli’s mother’s recipe, and in the short time since opening, have generated quite a reputation. The sprinkling of salt on top balances the sweetness of the dough and chocolate perfectly. Get ‘em while they’re hot, folks.

The catchy sandwich titles all have double meanings. My particular favorite is “The Plethora," reminiscent of Eli’s college friend who was partial to a plethora of shots on a night out.

However, do not dismiss Eli’s as a mere sandwich shop. Also on the menu is a fine selection of thin crust pizzas and salads, which look equally delicious. (Check out their Insta @elissandwich).

Conveniently located near Sports and other equally fine establishments, Eli’s is open until 3am from Thursday through Saturday, offering a warm (in two senses of the word), non-judgmental face to inebriated revelers on their way home from a night of socializing. falafel, tomato, vegetable, meat, bread, chicken, lettuce, sandwich
Anna Arteaga

The Bottom Line 

Anna Arteaga

So far Eli’s ticks all the boxes. Yet the most impressive thing about Eli’s is the owner himself. In the span of two years since graduating from the University of Kansas, Eli has set up his own business with a small team of staff and very impressive kitchen.

For someone like me who is nearing the end of their college career and facing down the big, bad world, meeting Eli was a tasty bite of what is achievable with a little bit of passion and drive (and, of course, a sandwich).