One the newest additions to the Bloomington restaurant scene, Quaff On! has made anything but a subtle entry. With their cozy interior dining and bar areas, to their vast selection of draft beer, Quaff On! came into Bloomington with a bang. Literally. They completely reconstructed their current space to make it the inviting atmosphere it is today. And let me tell you, it was worth every ounce of work.
Before we get into the juicy stuff — the food — let’s talk about the name. Though many of you have your own ideas of what it means to “quaff,” the real meaning will surprise you, and probably become a part of your nightly chants when heading to the bars. No? Ok. Quaff means to, “drink heartily and with gusto.” Now if that isn’t an appropriately named IU restaurant and bar, I don’t know what is.
Quaff On! has a couple of mottos they standby. The first being, “drink heartily, eat socially,” and the second being, “globally influenced, locally sourced.” Before we get into what it means to “drink heartily, eat socially,” let’s talk about the second motto. Quaff On! is proud of the Bloomington community, and wants to contribute to its growth in any way possible.
All of their produce is picked from Indiana farms, and all of their meat is ordered and delivered daily from The Butcher’s Block. A local Bloomington butcher, The Butcher’s Block does more than cut meat. They make custom meat blends that are uniquely Quaff On! One of the best examples of these meat blends, are the African Balkin Burgers. These babies pack beef, pork and lamb into three mind-blowing burgers. While the flavors may be anything but local, their ingredients definitely are.
“Drink heartily, eat socially,” another Quaff On! original, encourages food sharing. Quaff On! redefines tapas by offering burgers, tacos and sandwiches in groups of 2 for lunch and 3 for dinner. They encourage customers to order something different than the person they came with so that they can swap burgers for tacos, tacos for burgers, until they have tried one of everything.
When Quaff On! says to drink heartily, you drink heartily. Offering 24 beers on tap, Quaff On! has a bar to be reckoned with. Quaff On! offers its own beer brewed in the heart of Nashville, Indiana, as well as other brews from around the country. Its ever-changing list of beers will turn even the most clueless of beer drinkers into a beer snob. Not a craft beer fan? No problem. Quaff On! has a great list of white and red wines as well as champagne.
Now, I know what you’re thinking. “I drink Natty Light and Keystone Light every weekend. I don’t know anything about beer.” That’s where the staff, or “beer nerds,” of Quaff On! come in.
Having an interest in and knowledge of craft beers is a major part of the hiring process. Since their beer selection changes all of the time, they need to know what’s on tap, and help customers pick the best beer for them. They pride themselves in being able to talk to a customer for only a few seconds, and know exactly what they would like to drink.
OK, OK, onto the food. ML, the general manager of Quaff On!, spoiled the staff of Spoon IU, and gave us the best of the best. We started with the Big Woods Nachos, which are famous in Nashville, Indiana. A huge pile of tortilla chips are piled high with smoked pulled pork, tomatoes, onions, jalapeños, corn, black beans, cheddar, peppercorn ranch and BBQ sauce. Are you drooling yet?
Next, we tried the Chai Tea Poached Pear Baby Wedge Salad and the Greek Suprema Flatbread. Although these items were on the lighter side, they were definitely heavy on flavor. The Chai Tea Poached Pear salad is an iceberg lettuce wedge with dried cherries, poached pears, pecans, bleu cheese and candied bacon. Bacon. Need I say more?
The Greek Suprema Flatbread is irresistible. A crispy flatbread is covered with tomatoes, onions, green peppers, mixed olives, banana pepers, tomato sauce, mozzerlla and feta. With all that cheese, you know it has to be good.
We tried the tacos and burgers next. ML gave us one of each of their best-selling burgers and tacos. We tried the Thai Peanut Chicken Taco, Seared Ahi Tuna Taco and the Sofrito Vegetarian. The best-selling taco is the Seared Ahi Tuna Taco, and after trying it for myself, I know why. Seared Ahi tuna is topped with Nappa slaw, wasabi avocado crema, pico de gallo and wrapped in a flour tortilla. Any sushi lovers out there will go crazy over this taco.
Now. THE BURGERS. Like I mentioned earlier, the burgers are made out of custom meat blends. We tried the Cuban Frita Burger, African Balkan Burger and Greek Souvlaki Burger, but I highly recommend the Cuban Frita Burger. The Beef and chorizo blend is topped with hashbrowns, chimichurri and a pan fried quail egg. The chorizo and chimichurri give the burger a little kick, while the hashbrowns give it an irresistible crunch. This is a must-try for any of you burger lovers out there.
I washed down my burgers with a Yellow Dwarf, one of Quaff On’s! very own brews. As a Natty Light girl, I knew nothing about craft beer, but ML assured me that I would like this one. It was the perfect introduction to craft beer. It was slightly hoppy, but still light enough that I could handle it. I definitely recommend starting with the Yellow Dwarf, Six Foot Blonde, Hare Trigger or Busted Knuckle, Quaff On’s! Flagship 4 (or bestsellers) if you’re new to the craft beer world.
Of course, no meal is complete without dessert, so we had to get something sweet to top of an unreal meal. Quaff On! makes cookies in a personal sized skillet, tops them with cool, vanilla ice cream from Chocolate Moose, whipped cream and a Maraschino cherry while the cookie is still hot. Did I mention CHOCOLATE SAUCE? Wash it all down with Big Woods Common Necessity for a unique and delicious dessert experience.
Quaff On! has some amazing specials including Flight Friday’s where five 5 oz beers are only $5. Thursday’s PBR’s are $1 and pints $3 of Two Hearted, and that’s just the beginning. Follow them on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to stay up to date on all of their specials.
All I have to say to the people of Bloomington is Quaff On!
Location: 116 N Grant St, Bloomington, IN 47408
Hours of Operation: 11am-11pm Sunday-Wednesday, 11pm-1am Thursday-Saturday