|Address:||412 E. 6th Street|
Bloomington, IN 47405
|Current Owner(s):||Matt O'Neill|
|Hours:||8AM - Midnight Daily; kitchen closes at 9p|
The Runcible Spoon is an eclectic coffee house on 6th Street near Indiana University. Serving gourmet coffee and full meal service, the "Spoon" has been a longtime favorite of University students and local residents. They are known throughout the area for having a bathroom with goldfish swimming in the bathtub (also in a koi pond out in back). The name, Runcible Spoon, comes from Edward Lear's The Owl and the Pussycat, a poem about love, adventure, nature, and whimsy: "They dined on mince, and slices of quince, Which they ate with a runcible spoon." Elements from the story and its main characters are evident throughout the restaurant's decor.
The Spoon is a popular meeting place for social groups, especially language tables:
- The Bloomington French Table meets every Tuesday, 8-10pm
- A Polish language table meets Thursdays, 6-7pm
The Runcible Spoon was opened in 1976 by an IU Ph.D student, Jeff Danielson. It occupied part of the first floor of its current location. The business opened roasting coffee in five pound batches, making its own blends, and serving various coffees, other beverages and eventually a variety of pastries and bagels made from scratch on the premises. In the fall of 1979 the Spoon added a restaurant with menu designed by executive chef Ed Rockstein who had also suggested the name for the coffeehouse before it opened.
Danielson redesigned the bathroom, which included a bathtub full of tropical fish, which was so unique that it was included in the Travel Channel's Top Ten Bathrooms. The basement restaurant featured a 300 gallon fish tank when it opened. The Runcible Spoon displayed works of art on the walls done by art students from the university and the local community serving as an art gallery as well.
In 2001, Matt O'Neill purchased the Runcible Spoon from Danielson. O'Neill had been a frequent customer who lived an hour away in Greencastle, where he operated the Walden Inn, a bed and breakfast inn and restaurant which featured a menu of seasonal specials crafted from local produce. The Walden was also reknowned among audiences and performers both as a showcase for folk and Irish music concerts.
O'Neill has extended the menu of the Runcible Spoon, added a fine beer and wine list, and has gone on to open the Bloomington Cooking School and two other restaurants. Continuing the tradition of the Runcible Spoon as an active center of the arts community, the Spoon hosts two weekly sessions of traditional Irish music (evenings, Tuesdays & Fridays), art exhibitions and poetry readings.
As seen from across 6th Street