405 E Kirkwood Ave
Bloomington, IN 47408
When Cafe Pizzaria opened in 1953 it was acclaimed as the first pizzeria in Bloomington. Today, it is still considered one of the longest lasting pizza eateries and one of the first in the Midwest to produce the signature Stromboli. Larry and his son, Dave, and his son, Crosby, are the 3rd generation powerhouse behind Cafe Pizzaria. Every day begins with curating their own sauce and dough; a tradition to which only the trio know the recipes.
Back in 1962, Larry began his career at the pizzeria as a delivery driver, under former owner Dick Barnes, and later became the manager, and finally buying the restaurant in 1986. His son, and now co-owner, Dave was told he couldn’t start working at the pizzeria until he could see over the counter tops. Persistent and determined to follow in his father’s footsteps, at age 13, Dave began to stand on pickle boxes to reach the counter tops where he would roll dough. Loyal customers know this restaurant to have a lasting impression, Dave explained, as one time at Disney World someone came up to him and exclaimed, “Cafe Pizzaria! I love your Stroms!!”.
Cafe Pizzaria is such a valued part of the Bloomington and IU community, with alum coming back to enjoy the signature pizza years after graduation and regulars only having to walk in the door before Dave starts to cook their meal, no ordering needed. The allegiance to quality runs deep through this restaurant’s roots, with their promise to make the highest quality of food but also their commitment to character, work ethic, and helping others.
Cafe Pizzaria’s history is an adventurous one, in the 70s the family opened a Mexican restaurant in the back half of the building serving tacos, nicknamed La Tortilla Cafe. After they stopped making tacos, the family added the grill portion of the menu which you can still order from today; but the pizza remains a clear favorite to everyone.