Bread & Butter 2020: Dining Guide to the Iowa City area and Cedar Rapids

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The Way We Eat

Dining Guide

cracking open oysters

meatless miracles

sustainably shopped

bring the kids

P. 16

P. 82

P. 94

P. 100















380 380






Cell: 319-541-8695 506 E Col l ege St r eet

I owa Ci t y, I A 52240

Li censed t o Sel l Real Est at e i n t he St at e of I owa. Not i nt ended t o be a sol i ci t at i on.

WELCOME TO OUR NEIGHBORHOOD. Experience inventive restaurants, brew pubs, cafes and bistros that put a new spin on your favorites. From burgers to tacos, sushi, classic cocktails and more, we’ve got something for all appetites. Marquee Pizzeria • 30Hop • WineStyles Tasting Station Backpocket Brewing • Edgewater Grille Scratch Cupcakery • High Ground Cafe Fuzzy’s Taco Shop • Konomi Grill • Vesta • La Vecina






Matthew Steele



Frankie Schneckloth



Jordan Sellergren



Drew Bulman



Zak Neumann, Frankie Schneckloth

Little Village


623 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, IA 52240

Emma McClatchey, Celine Robins, Matthew


Steele, Genevieve Trainor, Izabela Zaluska



Natalia Araujo, Paul Brennan, Jav Ducker, Jessica Dunham, Natalie Dunlap. Jay Goodvin,

Special thanks to distribution partners the Iowa

Anjali Huynh, Emma McClatchey, Claire

City/Coralville Area Convention and Visitors

McGranahan, Cadry Nelson, Josie Neumann,

Bureau. For information on membership, visit

Sheila Ongie, Val Rath, Frankie Schneckloth,

Jordan Sellergren, Jason Smith, Matt Steele, Helaina Thompson

Additional thanks go to to our advisory team of


Melody Dworak, Candice Smith and Adam Witte.

Jav Ducker, Zak Neumann, Frankie Schneckloth, Jordan Sellergren




Glen Lowry, Julian DeSpain

/littlevillagemag ZAK NEUMANN







Lasting Effect


Old School


Fungi Fun Guys


All Things Kitchen


Momofuku to Main Street


Mix it Up

The dining trend that continues to grow

Advice from longtime restaurateurs

Kalona-based dairy uses traditional methods

Local growers follow their passion

A store for cooks and eaters

A renowned restaurateur returns to Iowa City

Rethink your drink


330 E MARKET ST., IOWA CITY • 319-351-1470 BREAD & BUTTER 2020





Fresh On the Scene


Switch it Up


On the Half Shell


Brothers McGuire


Meat Up


Alternate World


Dash of Oil

New restaurants that deserve the buzz

Oysters are everywhere! A collection of regional barbecue




Sweet Drams


Soup’s On


Plant Patties




Breakfast worth waking for

Try this refreshing new brew A twosome to guide your spirits Mayonnaise alternative from Old Capitol Foods A premium olive oil purveyor

Local liquor shops raise the bar Slurpable bowls for all seasons Meat alternatives to savor

Kid’s Table

Places to eat with your mini-me

Shop Till You Drop Artisan-made fancies for your kitchen and table

CSA Guide



Go With Your Gut


Bean There


Totally Herbaceous, Dude!

Let your body guide your eating Baristas give us their hot takes

How to sample digestifs


Cook the Books


Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowl


Ranch-Style Roasted Chickpeas


Save the Earth

A club for the culinarily inclined

Shop sustainable with these tips

On the cover: Rot’s Bounty ZAK NEUMANN



MEDICINE THAT CHANGES LIVES You are at the center of everything we do. Every medical advancement, every groundbreaking research finding, every specialized team is geared to make your health our top priority. From clinical trials for cancer, to specialized care for sports injuries, this is how University of Iowa Health Care is changing medicine. And your life.


Notable Newbies Enjoy international delights, American classics or expertly brewed coffee at these new area eateries. Cafe Saint Pio 99 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids Named after an Italian saint, Cafe Saint Pio answered the prayers of caffeine fans in CR. Owner Brad Danielson’s coffee shop serves up traditional espresso drinks alongside a selection of breakfast and lunch options. Its historic corner space in Czech Village captures the essence of a turn-of-the-century European cafe, com-


plete with gilded mirrors and marble cafe tables. The beautiful afternoon light that

its own! After years of operating a stall at

straight-up ginger juice will wake up your

floods through the giant windows makes

NewBo City Market in Cedar Rapids and

taste buds and clear your foggy brain.

this cafe feel as if it belongs on a movie

on the weekends at the Iowa City Farmers

set; the cool aqua walls and minimal

Market, owner Wendy Zimmermann finally

La Bendición Pupuseria y Restaurante

decor offer a bit of respite from the busy

took the plunge to join the downtown

89 2nd St, Ste 2, Coralville

world outside.

Iowa City restaurant scene. Their delecta-

This new eatery in Coralville delivers a

ble (and highly nutritious!) cold-pressed

rare treat for diners in the area: pupusas!

Fix! Coffee

juices, smoothie bowls and grab-and-go

For those not familiar, this El Salvadoran

404 E College St #202, Iowa City

salads and prepared foods are a welcome

food—a thick, hand-sized tortilla filled

Located in the new Chauncey building in

addition to the neighborhood. The knowl-

with melted cheese and other ingredients

downtown Iowa City, Fix!, a coffee shop,

edgeable staff can recommend add-ins

ranging from vegetables to meat—is truly

occupies what was originally designed

to boost the nutrition of your morning

delightful, and just a few easily make a

as a closet on the second floor. This airy

smoothie—from mucuna pruriens to maqui

filling and tasty lunch or light supper. In

coffee stand serves espresso drinks, drip

or bentonite clay—or guide you towards

addition to pupusas, La Bendición also of-

coffee, tea and non-caffeinated beverages

juice blends you might benefit from. The

fers a small menu of entrees. The brilliance

to guests and residents of the high-rise.

Ginger Bomb is honestly better than

of the menu is rooted in its simplicity—in

Drinks are served in unique glassware and

your morning coffee—the single shot of

the grounded flavors and home-crafted

sided with a Biscoff cookie. Tea lovers will

recipes. This is a din-

especially enjoy the cafe’s selection of

ing experience which

August Uncommon loose-leaf teas. The

feels (and tastes!)

brand is known for wild and unexpected

more like being invit-

flavors not commonly found in tea; be

ed to a shared meal

sure to try a cup of the Silencio–a black

in someone’s home

tea with tobacco and pineapple notes!

than at a restaurant.

Soak up the elevated view of the city while Laos Cafe

you knock out some work or meet with a friend before a movie downstairs. This

1405 N Elm St, Ste

slightly off-the-beaten-path shop is worth

105, West Liberty

seeking out.

Laos Cafe is West Liberty’s newest

Get Fresh Cafe

hidden gem. The

109 Iowa Ave, Iowa City

cafe has worked

Finally, Iowa City has a Get Fresh to call 10


diligently to expand ANJALI HUYNH



its selection of dishes, evidenced by their



menu, which boasts a large assortment of appetizers, stir fries, curries and soups. In addition to Laotian culture, Laos Cafe brings dishes unprecedented in West Liberty. The sign above the entrance reads, “Experience flavors from far away,” which is fitting in a town known for its large Latinx population and its equally large assortment of Mexican restaurants. Bring lots of friends, a healthy appetite and perhaps an extra bottle of water to take the edge off the savory, spicy



Rabbits 211 E 9th St #135, Coralville This wood-fired Mexican restaurant focused on the cuisine of the Oaxacan region is one to put on your list. The open kitchen includes an oven with a smoker attachment, a flat-top cooking surface over charcoal


La Vecina/400


120 E. Burlington Street, Iowa City 319-351-9529 CHECK OUT THE MENU & FULL CALENDAR OF EVENTS AT


and a grill—it’s the focal point of the airy BREAD & BUTTER 2020



and bright dining room. Feast your eyes on the flickering flames and watch as the kitchen staff churns out plate after plate of woodsmoked delights artfully presented on hand-hewn ceramic platters and dishes. With a menu ranging from carne asada to charred octopus, ceviche to cochinitas, the food is at once alluring and exquisite. Behind the bar, they mix a spectacular margarita or paloma and have a daily happy hour from 3-6 p.m. that can’t be beat. La Vecina also is home to a “secret” cocktail bar, 400 Rabbits, located behind the restaurant. Call ahead to make a reservation—an experience at this intimate bar, topping out at just 25 seats, can be tricky to come by. Loosies 1611 32nd St NE, Cedar Rapids Whether you call it a tavern, Maid-Rite or loosemeat sandwich, Loosies makes a killer one. Inside a tiny converted one-room house, a small lunch counter wraps around


an open kitchen where you can watch the simple prep of your “loosie” happen


right before your eyes. In addition to their

1101 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids

signature sandwiches, an Iowa specialty,

A full-fledged space to call their own!

Loosies’ restrained menu also features hot

Jessica LaFayette and her husband Tony

dogs, egg and cheese sandwiches and

have expanded what was originally a deli

homemade pasta and potato salads. Finish

counter in the back of a retail operation

your counter feast with a malt whipped up

into a restaurant that occupies the whole

from their retro malt machine or a gener-

space. Everything on the menu is raw,

ous slice of locally made Kathy’s Pie.

vegan and gluten-free, but don’t think for a second that means you’ll be making a sacrifice. All the dishes are filling and fresh and flavor-packed. The Not Tuna Sandwich gets two thumbs way up (order the side of kale chips), and the Collard Burrito Wrap is an explosion of color and is truly virtuous. Though the eatery might feel niche to some, it warrants a visit by all regardless of dietary restrictions or choices. Rawlicious is a restaurant where you can eat and feel good, not just full.


Saigon’s Corner

Vietnamese cuisine for local diners. He

201 S Clinton St, Iowa City

grew up in the restaurant industry, learning

The original Saigon’s

his family’s secret pho recipe from his un-

Corner location opened

cle, a longtime pho chef in Vietnam before

in Coralville during the

moving to the area. A second Saigon’s

summer of 2018, but it

Corner opened in the Old Capitol Town

certainly wasn’t owner

Center (the original location has since

Tyler Phan’s first rodeo.

changed ownership) and is filling a definite

Previously a partner in Pho

void in the downtown dining scene. Hearty

Zaika and I Love Pho, Phan

bowls of rice noodles swimming in meaty,

was well-versed when it

richly flavored broth are a staple here, but

came to crafting rich bowls of craveable pho and classic ZAK NEUMANN

everything on the menu is superb and deserves a try.


Use this index as a guide to find your next favorite meal or drink spot. This exhaustive list of restaurants, bars, cafes and bistros covers a range of budgets and a multitude of palates— whether you’re looking for a new haunt or one noteworthy night out, there truly is something for everyone. Price range is indicated on a scale of $ to $$$$ and accounts for each establishment’s average price for a meal from the dinner menu (where applicable), and a drink. $=$10/under




1st Avenue Wine House

A&A Pagliai’s Pizza

3412 1st Ave NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-298-9463,

302 E Bloomington St, Iowa City,

319-351-5073,, $$

The curated selection of wine at this charm-

An Iowa City pizza institution, the Pagliai

ing shop includes hard-to-find varietals, rare

family has been in the business since 1957.

vintages and go-to favorites. Pick up a bottle

Offering just the basics, they put out fresh,

(or two) to take home, then peruse the se-

hot pizzas best eaten right away. Voted Best

lection of jams, crackers, cheeses and more.

Pizza in Little Village’s 2019 Best of the

Check the calendar for wine tastings and

CRANDIC awards.

other special events. The Airliner 2 Dogs Pub

22 S Clinton St, Iowa City,

1705 S 1st Ave, Iowa City, 319-337-9047,

319-351-9259,, $$, $$

The Airliner has been an Iowa City staple

2 Dogs knows how to have fun—their creative

since 1944. They are a go-to spot for enjoying

culinary creations, Trivia Tuesdays and burg-

the game with friends, fresh pizza and some

er-of-the-month competition are just a few

of the most famous ranch in Iowa. They also

examples of this. Try their PB&J Burger along

offer several specials throughout the week,

with any one of their well-selected craft

including half-price pizza on Tuesdays!

beers. Be sure to brainstorm burger ideas, too, while you play trivia at 2 Dogs next

Almost Famous Popcorn Company

Tuesday night!

1121 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-366-3554,, $


This NewBo shop has great popcorn, and

900 E 2nd Ave, Coralville, 319-351-3800

the aroma of the shop upon entering is

951 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids,

heavenly. Aside from the variety of flavored

319-200-2010,, $$

popcorn, the shop also sells ice cream,

When you stop by 30hop, you can expect to

shakes, old-fashioned soda and candy. Their

enjoy American classics such as burgers or

pistachio ice cream is a real winner.

short ribs, with almost any beer you could want from their legendary beer list featuring

American Legion #17

over 50 options. Not to mention, you can

3016 Muscatine Ave, Iowa City, 319-351-1902,

enjoy it all atop their epic rooftop patio. A, $

Cedar Rapids location opened late summer

If you love homestyle bar food and cheap

2018 with a similar vibe, menu and rooftop

beer but hate going to crowded downtown

patio, and a Des Moines location is on the

bars, check out the American Legion #17. Pop


by to relax over a burger and an IPA with the locals.

350 First 350 1st Ave NE, Floor 16, Cedar Rapids,

Andale Andale

IA 52401, 319-731-4483, $$$$

1451 Coral Ridge Ave, Ste 606, Coralville,

Enjoy not only the diverse, high-end selection

319-625-2027, $

of American cuisine, but also a spectacular

Skip Panda Express next time hunger strikes

view of Cedar Rapids from the 16th floor

during a shopping spree. This authentic

of the Hilton DoubleTree. Within walking

Mexican joint inside the Coral Ridge Mall food

distance of the U.S. Cellular Center, Theatre

court serves up street tacos and tortas that

Cedar Rapids, The Paramount Theatre and

are tasty and fresh.

more, 350 First is a great choice for a nice dinner or a specialty cocktail before a show. CORBIN BOOTH






lmost the first thing anyone learns about any dish involving sugo alla puttanesca (puttanesca sauce, the basic ingredients of which are tomatoes, olives, capers, salt-cured anchovies, garlic and chili flakes) is that puttana means “whore” in Italian, so puttanesca sauce is literally “whoreish sauce.” From there, it’s a short step to colorful stories about prostitutes making the sauce either because it could be quickly prepared between clients or as a way to attract clients hungry for both pasta and whatever else was on offer. Almost anyone with a well-intentioned but less than well-informed friend who enjoys talking about Italian food has heard these stories. The proper response to these tall tales is “non dire puttanate,” an Italian expression meaning “don’t talk crap.” As the culinary historian Jeremy Parzen has pointed out, “puttanesco” was being used as adjective meaning (roughly) “low class” by the 16th century. According to Parzen, “the qualifier alla puttanesca refers to the fact that it is not a rich dish. In other words, it’s not a meat sauce or a sauce flavored with stock.” Or, to put it more crudely, people were just throwing together “any kind of crap” (“puttanata qualsiasi”)—the Italian version of garbage chili. Despite stories about 17th century courtesans cooking puttanesca, there’s actually no evidence of it until the 1950s, although it does appears to be based on older recipes from the Campania region of Italy, none of which mention prostitutes. 14


Antojitos Carmen

Backpocket Brewing

are famous for the pasta—of

207 Main St, Columbus Junction,

903 Quarry Rd, Coralville,

course, made in-house, and

319-728-9055, $


available at area grocers—but

The trek to Columbus Junction

333 E 10th St, Dubuque,

don’t be afraid to wander into

is worth it when you’re rewarded


other sections of the menu;

with to-die-for tacos, tortas and, $$

everything is well-crafted,

more. This family-owned and

Everyone likes pizza and beer,

and portioned to satisfy while

-operated restaurant serves

but we don’t all like it made the

allowing for multiple courses.

up delicious food in a casual,

same way. Not only does Back-

Voted Best European Cuisine in

unfussy atmosphere. Be sure

pocket offer several specialty

Little Village’s 2019 Best of the

to order a side of Carmen’s Dry

brick oven pizzas, but you can

CRANDIC awards.

Salsa. It’s dynamite!

build your own from their list of fresh ingredients as well. As for


Apres Wine Bar and Bistro

beer, they’re all about it—you are

121 N Linn St, Iowa City,

1010 Martin St, Iowa City,

sure to find the brew for you.

319-337-7370, $$

Bashu is the place to go for

319-499-1198,, $$$


real, authentic Sichuan Chinese

In the heart of the Peninsula

347 S Gilbert St, Iowa City,

food. If you must have sesame

neighborhood, Apres Winebar

319-333-1515,, $

chicken, look under the “Special

and Bistro offers a rotating

Bardot is all about quality—

for Americans” menu listing, but

menu of shareable plates. It’s

whether it’s their service, drinks,

know you’ll be passing up a new

the perfect place to get away

food or atmosphere. The bar

and exciting dining experience.

from a crowd while you enjoy

and restaurant is inspired by

Take a walk on the wild side and

their eclectic offerings.

Brigitte Bardot’s coining of the

check out their crispy spicy chili

term “crème de la crème,” in

shrimp for an explosion of flavor

The Arbor Bar

that they strive to be the best

and heat.

60 W Burlington Ave, Fairfield,

of the best when it comes to

641-209-1821,, $

nightlife in Iowa City. Try a

Basta Pizzeria Ristorante

Somehow both pensive and

South-American inspired dish or

121 Iowa Ave, Iowa City,

manic, the irresistible energy of

an expertly made piña colada


Fairfield’s indie-art and music

the next time your squad is out, $$$

scene collides with the nightlife

for a night on the town.

The amazing daily happy hour

every evening at the Arbor Bar.

and wood-fired pizza might be

Check the website or give them

Bari Italian

what draws you in, but you’ll

a call to find out what’s going

450 1st St SW, Cedar Rapids,

soon realize there are countless

to command your attention this

319-200-1500,, $$$

reasons Basta warrants repeat

weekend. It might be a DJ night,

This is contemporary Italian fare

visits. Have you tried their

a burlesque show, a film screen-

at its best. The seasonally driven

Chocolate Budino? What about

ing, a visual arts opening or one

menu features classic dishes,

the creamy housemade burrata?

of the town’s working musicians

such as spaghetti Bolognese or

Have you snuggled into the

stopping by unannounced to try

risotto with truffle oil, as well

bar booths for a late weekend

out some new material. The ex-

as surprises like sesame-crust-

lunch? Have you basked in the

cellent bar staff will surely have

ed yellowfin tuna and a pizza

sunshine on their sidewalk cafe?

a new potion to recommend you

dressed in Thai peanut sauce.

If you answered no to these

take along for the ride. (Take the

The well-executed menu is

questions, I’ve got to ask, “What

ride.) No food here, but there

rivaled only by the restaurant’s

have you been doing?” Voted

are plenty of other spots along

expertly crafted cocktails.

Best Restaurant for a First Date and Best Restaurant to Take

the square for that. Baroncini Ristorante Italiano

Your Parents in Little Village’s

Aspen Leaf Frozen Yogurt

104 S Linn St, Iowa City,

2019 Best of the CRANDIC

featuring Rocky Mountain



Chocolate Factory, $$$

125 S Dubuque St, Iowa City,

Authentic cuisine by owner-chef

Baxa’s Sutliff Store and Tavern


Gianluca Baroncini, originally

5546 130th St NE, Lisbon,, $

from Verona, Italy. The cozy,

319-624-2204, $

Welcome to a sweet tooth’s

contemporary setting was

Opened in 1899, the original

heaven. The owner and staff

designed from floor to ceiling

building was a general store

are just as sweet as their treats

by the chef, and is suitable for

until 1984; the tavern and food

are, so be sure to ask for their

business or romance. The $10,

service began in 1973. Sample

assistance if you can’t decide

two-course lunch on weekdays

something from their menu of

between a famous caramel

is one of downtown Iowa City’s

fried delights, burgers, wings,

apple or a bowl of froyo.

best kept foodie secrets. They

gizzards and other sandwiches,


and order an ice cold bottle of

savory pulled pork or addictive

something to wash it down with.

burnt ends. One suggestion:

The historic bridge out front of

Bring friends and share the

the tavern is the best place to

sampler platter, which includes

eat or drink when the weather

your choice of sides. All of the


restaurant’s beer is brewed on


site, including the root beer. Best China 1800 Boyrum St, Iowa City,

Big Grove Brewery

319-358-0001, $$

101 W Main St, Solon, 319-624-2337,

Takeout Chinese food just how, $$

you like it: reasonably priced,

Big Grove Brewery & Taproom

flavorful food, delivered quickly.

1225 S Gilbert St, Iowa City,

Check out their lunch special


from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for an, $$

entree, side of rice, drink or crab

As one of the area’s larger local

rangoons for under $10!

breweries, Big Grove Brewery offers a wide beer selection with

Billy’s High Hat Diner

a fantastic food menu to match.

630 Iowa Ave, Iowa City,

Stop into the Iowa City location

319-519-2522, $$

for more international street

Derek Perez is bringing break-

food-style offerings, or head

fast and lunch back to basics at

to the flagship Solon location

Billy’s with affordable entrees

for their original American

made from fresh, local ingredi-

menu in a sit-down restaurant.

ents. Some menu items will be

Voted Best Craft Brewery and

familiar to those who’ve enjoyed

Best Patio/Outdoor Dining in

brunch at El Banditos, such as

Little Village’s 2019 Best of the

the chilaquiles, as well as clas-

CRANDIC awards.

sics like shrimp and grits, waffles and pork sandwiches—not to


mention vegetarian options.

503 Westbury Dr, Iowa City,

You can find it at the corner of

319-338-1770,, $$$

Iowa Avenue and Dodge Street,

This American-style restaurant

where Augusta was formerly

serves a variety of cuisine with


global influences including Italian, Mexican and Thai. Offer-

Big Boy Meats

ing a good cocktail selection,

1100 3rd St SE #22, Cedar Rapids,

Blackstone is the perfect place

319-343-6603,, $$

to take your time with friends.

From beef and pork to duck

Start with their Satay Sampler

and rabbit, Big Boy Meats has

appetizer—you won’t regret it.

New Donors EARN $330 for 5 donations! Make EXTRA $$$ with our Specialty Programs!* Schedule an appointment at Open 7 days a week! 408 South Gilbert Street • Iowa City, Iowa 52240 (319) 341-8000

been offering an impressive variety of top-quality, locally

Black Sheep Social Club

produced meats since 2012. True

600 1st St SE, Cedar Rapids,

to their mission, their meats are


responsibly farmed, free range,, $$$

grass fed and antibiotic free. But

Black Sheep Social Club puts its

despite the name, meat is not

own spin on Midwest favorites,

the only thing you’ll find here.

sometimes even injecting a bit

Barbecue catering, sheep skins

of international flair. The plates,

and longwool are also part of

paired with the rusticness of a

their offerings.

restored warehouse, make for

BRING IN THIS COUPON FOR AN EXTRA $10 BONUS! New donors only. Not valid in conjunction with any other referral fees or bonuses.


the perfect atmosphere for a Big’s BBQ and Brew Pub

We DO NOT pay by WEIGHT!

night out.

Copyright © 2020 Biotest Pharmaceuticals Corporation. All Rights Reserved. *when applicable

124 2nd Ave N, Mount Vernon, 319-535-1060,, $$

Black Squirrel Tap

The cherry wood used in

72 2nd St SE, Swisher,

the smoker lends a light and

319-857-4447, $

delicate flavor to the meats.

Black Squirrel Tap, a small-town

You’ll have a hard time choosing

watering hole in Swisher, is the

among the tender brisket,

place to go for televised sport-


008_SH_3.6x9_75_4cFB.indd 1

15 1/29/20 9:32 PM


Aw, Shucks! Slurp up some briny bivalves at these local spots. Ruthie’s Steak and Seafood and Robert’s Buffet 3184 IA-22, Riverside Whilst enjoying the easy-going, fine-dining atmosphere at Ruthie’s, be sure to order appetizers. More specifically, order the oysters. They offer perfectly fried oysters to savor before your entree of lobster tails, steak, prime ribs or other chef’s creation hits your table. Don’t forget about Robert’s Buffet while you’re here. Make plans for Saturday nights when all-you-care-to-eat seafood specials are served on the buffet lines, and include the classic Oysters Rockefeller on the half shell. Will you need anything else after unlimited plates of this salt-water treasure? Nope! St. Burch Tavern 127 Iowa Ave, Iowa City That St. Burch Tavern has a raw bar is all you need to hear if you’re an oyster enthusiast. The jewel of the upstairs main dining room, the icy bar displays selections of oysters flown in fresh from both coasts, with staff standing by ready to shuck you shells to order. Squirt the lemon wedge, splash the hot sauce or add a bit of ginger and scallion mignonette. Tip back the half

whole meal out of them. Order by the

Club 76 at the Lodge

shell and slurp the briny gems down. For

half or full dozen and don’t be shy about

2349 Mehaffey Bridge Rd NE #A, North Liberty

those not into the raw craze, Burch also

asking for more. The bubbly in your glass

Keep your eyes peeled and mark your

makes a mean oyster po’ boy with corn-

needs a constant partner.

calendar for the annual Stouts, Sours and Oysterfest at Club 76. This event is a craft

meal fried oysters. Note: St. Burch hosts an Cobble Hill Eatery & Dispensary

beer-tasting paired ingeniously with an oys-

219 2nd St SE, Cedar Rapids

ter lover’s dream: raw, fried, sandwiched and

Clinton Street Social Club

Cobble Hill has a talented kitchen crew

bouillabaissed! Sample the unique beers on

18 1/2 S Clinton St, Iowa City

that has produced some of the area’s most

offer in a commemorative glass with Iowa’s

Clinton Street marks yet another spot in

memorable meals since the first day they

largest state park in full scenic view. Don’t

Eastern Iowa riding the fresh oyster wave.

opened their doors. However, it’s perfectly

wait until summer to enjoy Lake Macbride

Above the bars, shops and other restau-

acceptable to take the simple route,

and this nearby bar; winter is the perfect

rants on the street is the social experience

ordering countless rounds of fresh oysters.

time to sample some oysters and beers!

you and your seafood-loving buddies

Owner Andy Schumacher has given the

are looking for. Clinton Street Social Club

corridor a lively restaurant with a New

LP - Street Food

serves their oysters on the half shell with

York-inspired ambiance. A table full of

302 3rd Ave SW, Cedar Rapids

a bright lemon-ginger mignonette. You’ll

happy customers are made even happier

Round up your friends on a Thursday night

find them on the starters menu, but no

when enjoying fine wine and fresh oysters

and wander into Local Pour. The restaurant

one will pass judgement if you make a

at Cobble Hill.

offers a rotating selection of fresh oysters

oyster festival in late September.




ing events, card tournaments and live music. Black Squirrel serves wings, appetizers and other pub food alongside beer and whisky flights, wine and cocktails. Blaze Pizza 201 S Clinton St Unit 167, Iowa City, 319-519-0075,, $

Hip to the fast-fired personal pizza concept, Blaze Pizza arrived on the Iowa City dining scene just as University of Iowa students returned for school in the fall of 2017, dishing up crispy, thin-crust pies in a matter of



minutes. Bluebird Diner 330 E Market St, Iowa City, 319-351-1470, $$

Bluebird Café 650 W Cherry St #9, North Liberty, 319-626-2603,, $$

Bluebird’s reputation for delicious, fresh Midwestern soul food served in a relaxed, retro environment is well known among Iowa City and North Liberty folk. If you love comfort

ant to see what all the oyster hype

food, then you’ll love everything from their

is about, but are afraid you’ll be

biscuits and gravy to their baby back ribs.

pegged as a first-timer? Here’s some quick

They are a go-to spot for breakfast, so be

tips to get you started. But before you do,

sure to get there early on the weekends!

take a deep breath and relax. You can’t go

Bluebird Diner was voted Best Breakfast/

wrong when approaching a new dish with

Brunch in Little Village’s 2019 Best of the

an open mind and the desire to learn.

CRANDIC awards.

What do they taste like?

Bo James

Like wine, oysters have a flavor profile that

118 E Washington St, Iowa City, 319-337-4703, $$

depends on where they’re from, referred

If you like huge burgers, ice-cold beer and

to as “terroir.” Most West Coast oysters

country music, check out this family-owned

typically exhibit sweet flavors and finish

pub for your next bite to eat! If the weather

with melon or cucumber notes. East Coast

is nice, be sure to take a seat at their quaint

oysters can vary wildly in flavor based

outdoor patio.

on location. They usually have a smooth ZAK NEUMANN

teardrop-shaped shell and taste brinier and

Bo Mac’s

more savory than West Coast oysters.

219 16th Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-826-3154, $$

Located in CR’s NewBo district, this historic on the half shell and serves them with

Which to choose?

building was refurbished by the owner himself

their housemade cucumber soy mignon-

If you’re tasked with making a selection be-

over the last few years. The menu features a

ette, kimchi puree and cocktail sauce.

tween varieties, don’t be afraid to ask your

variety of comfort food-focused appetizers,

Bonus: Thursday evenings also happen

server for help. They should be able to

sandwiches, entrees and drink options. Look

to feature half-price bottles of wine, so

guide you towards an appropriate choice,

for live music on the weekends.

they’ve created a true haven for some of

such as milder, less briny options for new-

life’s affordable luxuries.

bies, or recommendations based on oyster

Bootleggin’ Barzini’s

varietals you’ve tried and liked before.

412 1st Ave, Coralville, 319-358-6620,

Iowa City American Legion Post #17

Known for their excellent selection of spirits,

3016 Muscatine Ave, Iowa City

How do I eat these?

especially bourbon and whiskey, Barzini’s

The Iowa City American Legion knows

Try an oyster “naked” the first time. That

also maintains a robust offering of local and

that the family Christmas meal brings

is, without any mignonette, horseradish or

craft beer. If you don’t see what you’re look-

out the oyster nostalgia in home cooking.

other sauces masking the true flavor. Use

ing for, or are feeling adventurous and want

Each year, in mid-December, the Legion

your cute little fork to make sure the oyster

to try something new, ask for suggestions

organizes a group order for fresh-packed

is separated from its shell and then tip the

from the helpful staff.

oyster meat preserved in the precious

shell into your mouth, juice and all. Give it a

liquor, perfect for their customers dress-

few chews to experience the full flavor, and

ings, stews and anything they need to

then swallow.

have a tasty holiday season. BREAD & BUTTER 2020




in the NewBo District of Cedar


among us. Make sure not to miss

804 5th St SE, Cedar Rapids,

Rapids, this cafe-by-day, bar-

3980 Center Point Rd NE,

the high tea service, either.

319-363-9627,, $$

by-night serves traditional and

Cedar Rapids, 319-200-4499,

Seafood makes a strong show-

innovative brews, breakfast,, $$

Cafe Paradiso

ing on the Bostons menu, thanks

lunch and an extensive variety

With a simple yet versatile build-

101 N Main St, Fairfield,

to the restaurant’s former life as

of local beers, wines and spirits.

your-own menu, choose from

641-472-0856,, $

longtime CR staple Boston Fish.

The simplicity of the space and

a variety of spreads, toppings

Cafe Paradiso is a casual cafe

Start with the South End Crab

its industrial feel make for the

and add-ons to get your burger

celebrating local artists and

Dip—a cheesy-spicy appetizer

perfect gathering place either

exactly how you like it. Com-

musicians with beautiful artwork

with fresh lump crab—before

for a nice chat over coffee or an

plement your order with their

and frequent live music. Pouring

moving on to one of the bread-

intimate acoustic set at night.

delicious, freshly cut fries or an

fresh-ground, shade-grown

indulgent shake.

organic coffee and espresso and

ed fish dishes such as the fish tacos or the cod sandwich.

Brix Cheese Shop

delicious baked goods, it’s the

and Wine Bar

Cactus 1, 2 and 3

Bourbon Creek Smokehouse

209 N Linn St, Iowa City,

245 S Gilbert St, Iowa City,

411 1st St SE, Cedar Rapids,



Cafe Saint Pio



114 S Clinton St, Iowa City,

99 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids,, $$

This wine bar and specialty shop


319-200-1000, cafe-saint-pio.

The name should provide ample

is the perfect place to meet

314 E Burlington St, Iowa City,, $

clues as to the type of food this

up with a group of friends and

319-337-2464, $$

Smooth espresso drinks, fluffy

downtown Cedar Rapids estab-

partake in their delicious cheese

Cactus offers an extensive

biscuits, freshly baked muffins

lishment is serving, but just in

boards with a glass of wine or a

menu—and three locations in

and an attentive staff, all in a

case you can’t read between the

craft beer. They offer half glass-

the downtown area—featuring

quaint space with a historic

lines: This restaurant appreciates

es of wine for those who want

classic Mexican food in heaping

vibe… what more could you ask

its smoked meats, whether it be

to try it all.

combo plates, as well as vege-

for in a bistro? Quiche of the day

tarian entrees, salads, fajitas and

or fruit-filled mini pies, maybe?

Bryant’s Off 6

more. If you are looking for a

Check and check. Café Saint Pio

Bread Garden Market

107 W Marengo Rd, Tiffin,

place to gather with friends and

serves breakfast and lunch daily.

and Bakery

319-545-2053,, $

enjoy affordable, filling Mexican

225 S Linn St, Iowa City,

Keep an eye on the Bryant’s Off

cuisine and overflowing margari-

Caffe Crema


6 Facebook page for the day’s

tas, Cactus is for you!

411 2nd St, Coralville,, $$

featured menu item, whether it

Bread Garden’s transformation

be the Ground Beef Stroganoff,

Cafe Dodici

Caffe Crema has everything

from restaurant to convenient

Chicken Fried Steak with white

122 S Iowa Ave, Washington,

a good coffee shop ought to

downtown grocer is proof that

pepper gravy or Beer Battered

319-653-4012,, $$$$

have. The coffee is consistently

they are here to fulfill your and

Cod Sandwich. Feeling bold?

Cafe Dodici is a worthy

delicious, the environment is

the greater Iowa City area’s

Gather a team and sign up for

destination restaurant on the

cozy and warm, and the staff is

needs. They feature every-

one of the restaurant’s regular

charming downtown square in

helpful and friendly. Check out

thing from traditional items

euchre tournaments.

Washington, about 30 miles

this coffee shop the next time

south of Iowa City. The cafe is

you need a different place to

turkey, burgers, ribs or brisket.

and delicacies to organics and

go-to spot in Fairfield.

319-338-0700, $

homemade classics. Whether

Bubble Pop

a family-run Italian restaurant,

study, want to read your new

you want to grab lunch from

201 S Clinton St, Iowa City,

with co-owner and chef Alessan-

book with a perfect chai latte, or

their impressive salad bar or sit

319-400-4324, $

dro Scipioni preparing natural,

catch up with friends!

on the patio with friends, Bread

Bubble Pop is all about good

fresh foods in the style of his

Garden has got your back.

vibes and good tea. Stop by

original home of Pesaro, Italy.

Canteen Lunch in the Alley

the next time you’re in the Old

The owners’ eclectic collection

112 E 2nd St, Ottumwa,

Breakfast House Cafe

Capitol Town Center for a man-

of art draws from India, China


820 6th St SW, Cedar Rapids,

go tea and a cozy place to rest

and, of course, Italy and Iowa,, $


your feet.

creating an ambience you won’t

In the business for 91 years, 82

find anywhere else.

of them spent at the current, $

A multigenerational family busi-

Bud’s Custom Meats

ness, this classic breakfast joint

3027 IA-22, Riverside, 319-648-3999,

Cafe Muse

has become famous for their

treats you to traditional Ameri-, $$

565 Cameron Way, North Liberty,

loose-meat sandwiches and old-

can comfort food in all its glory.

Famous for jerky, Bud’s in Riv-

319-626-6873,, $

school digs.

Stop by for their all-day break-

erside makes this revered snack

Cafe Muse’s stylish modern

fast, and don’t forget about their

food in house in a variety of fla-

interior makes for a lovely place

Capanna Coffee and Gelato

daily dessert special!

vors. They also stock traditional

to enjoy a pot of tea or a cup of

710 Pacha Pkwy Suite 6,

hand-cut meats, fresh or frozen,

joe. In addition to straightfor-

North Liberty, 319-626-2515,


coarse-ground ground beef

ward classic coffee and espresso, $

1202 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids,

and elk, rabbit and turtle when

offerings, Cafe Muse also brews

Visit Capanna for a gourmet

319-364-0802,, $$


up limited-edition and rare

cup of coffee or a tasty scoop

roasts for the coffee nerds

of gelato!

Housed in a historic building 18


location, this long-running grill


Cappy’s Pizzeria

in the well-curated and energet-

7037 C Ave NE, Cedar Rapids,

ic interior.

319-826-2625,, $$

Cedar Ridge Winery

This warm and cozy pizza parlor

and Distillery

with a vintage feel serves Chica-

1441 Marak Rd, Swisher,

go deep-dish, New York hand-

319-857-4300,, $$

tossed pizzas and calzones

Just a short ride from Cedar

prepared with fresh dough and

Rapids and Iowa City, this

homemade sauces. They also

award-winning winery and

have a selection of bottled beer

distillery located in the beautiful

that rotates weekly, so you can

Swisher countryside offers so

always try something new!

much more than just wines and spirits. Try their original take on

Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop

wood-fired pizza or their exqui-

4640 1st Ave NE, Cedar Rapids,

site Sunday brunch. Of course,

319-393-2900,, $

you can’t leave without trying

These hot and toasty subs are

one of their specialty cocktails.

success in a sandwich. Try their signatures like the Capastrami

Cedar River Landing

or Bobbie, or custom build your

301 F Ave NW, Cedar Rapids,

own! Capriotti’s also offers great


vegetarian sandwiches., $

This sports-bar-with-live-music Casa Azul

joint is the choice for a casual

708 1st Ave, Coralville, 319-338-2641,

neighborhood hangout with an

335 S Gilbert St, Iowa City,

eclectic American menu. Locat-


ed in an old warehouse near the, $

Cedar River, the stage features

Casa Azul features traditional

an assortment of local bands.

Mexican dishes paired with a great margarita selection and

Ced-Rel Supper Club

friendly staff. It’s a must for your

11909 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids,

Taco Tuesday: both hard- and

319-446-7300,, $$$

soft-shelled tacos are only $1

This old-school supper club and

and will leave you and your

steakhouse maintains many of

wallet feeling full.

the trappings of bygone dining. Each entree is delivered with

Casa Tequila

a complimentary relish tray.

119 W Marengo Rd, Tiffin,

Selections range from classic


steaks to broasted chicken and

515 Court St, Williamsburg,

broiled fish.

319-668-4109,, $$

Stay in or take out one of Casa

Chameleon’s Pub and Grub

Tequila’s top-tier Mexican

119 1st St NW, Mount Vernon,

offerings, whether it be Botana


Camaron, a marinated shrimp, $

appetizer; your favorite variety

Expect high-quality, delicious

of taco or torta; a sizzling fajita

bar fare at this family-owned

skillet; or a grilled and stuffed

bar and grill. This cozy pub in

pineapple! Don’t forget to pair

historic downtown Mount Ver-

your meal with one of Mexico’s

non offers a wide selection of

finest tequilas.

craft beer and plenty of friendly


Local and interstate 5-star reviews on Yelp, Google, and Facebook Full-service packing Custom crating Licensed and insured Small business with big employee benefits

regulars. Caucho 1203 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids,

Chez Grace

319-360-8558, $$

89 2nd St, Coralville, 319-338-1738,

Sister restaurant to Cobble Hill,, $$$$

Caucho takes Mexican cuisine

Owner David runs this one-man

and prepares it with a creative,

show, acting as host, waiter

modern touch. Sample one of

and chef. You wouldn’t expect

their inventive cocktails and take

this small spot in a strip mall

For an honest quote, visit




Farm-to-table meals bring people together. But is there a seat at the table for everyone? BY HELAINA THOMPSON wonder, sometimes, what our great-grandparents might think of the term “farm-to-table.” It is a phrase that has gained serious traction in the past decade, but not without some scrutiny. In “The 10 Most Annoying Words and Phrases on Menus, Ranked,” Los Angeles Magazine lists “name-dropping the farm” as the sixth sin (see also: “unnecessary French words”). Nevertheless, interest in farm-to-table has certainly increased locally, with growers, chefs and diners alike jumping on the opportunity to craft and peruse seasonal 20


menus. Upscale farm-to-table dining events, complete with waitstaff and beverage pairings, increasingly serve as harvest season celebrations and fundraisers for nearby organizations. In Cedar Rapids, the Indian Creek Nature Center hosts dinners throughout the year; early each fall, Kroul Farms in Mount Vernon partners with Pullman Bar and Diner to serve an on-the-farm, multi-course dinner; and in Iowa City, the Farm to Street Dinner on Iowa City’s North Linn Street attracts crowds. “The event has been capped since the very beginning, and it has always sold out in a few hours,” Betsy Potter, director of operations

In fall 2019, Kroul Farms in Mount Vernon partnered with Pullman Bar & Diner for an outdoor farm-to-table dinner. ZAK NEUMANN

for the Iowa City Downtown District, said of the Farm to Street Dinner. Sarah Halbrook, director of development at the Indian Creek Nature Center, said tickets to their farm-to-table dinners sell out quickly as well. Most recently, the center featured Cobble Hill Chef Andy Schumacher during a late September event, where Schumacher and his team served over 100 patrons a fivecourse vegetarian meal, all during a two-anda-half-hour time span. “Each dish has four or five different elements,” Schumacher said. His first course that evening, an heirloom tomato and watermelon salad, was adorned with crumbles of

Peppers cooked over a wood fire at Kroul Farm’s Pullman Farm to Table dinner. ZAK NEUMANN

feta, compressed cucumber cubes and basil foam released from a whipped cream canister. “The challenge is making sure that the dinner doesn’t drag,” he said. Spirits paired with each course certainly help with that. Many credit the 1976 cookbook The Taste of Country Cooking by Edna Lewis as the beginning of the farm-to-table movement. In her book, Lewis, the granddaughter of freed slaves, pays homage to the farming traditions of her hometown, Freetown, Virginia. She urges young chefs to acknowledge “those who worked hard, loved the land and relished the fruits of their labors.” Lewis, who would later go on to inspire the likes of Alice Waters and Michael Pollan, did not coin the phrase “farm-to-table” outright, but her penchant for fresh produce and seasonal cooking was championed by the movement. To work in tandem with local farmers and the whims of the seasons, Schumacher keeps the menu for his events “pretty fluid,” he said. “I like to wait and see what [farmers] are going to have. We work with about four or five farmers, and they will text us a list of what they have every week.” Schumacher’s second course during the September Indian Creek Nature Center farmto-table event, a spicy roasted red kuri squash paired with gnudi (like gnocchi, but made


Edna Lewis The Taste of Country Cooking PUBLISHED 1976

Lewis, the granddaughter of freed slaves, pays homage to the farming traditions of her hometown, Freetown, Virginia. She urges young chefs to acknowledge “those who worked hard, loved the land and relished the fruits of their labors.”

with ricotta cheese), was all set to be made with carrots. “But these other nice squash came in,” he said, and so the dish was altered. Potter of the Iowa City Downtown District said dishes will often deviate from the original menu, but Farm to Street Dinner patrons recognize that as part of the experience. “To take those locally produced, locally grown foods and showcasing what our restaurants do here—that is the real purpose.” Much of his preparation occurs before the day of the event, Schumacher explained, which is a culinary feat in and of itself. Sauces and vegetables are readied in the Cobble Hill kitchen in the days leading up to the event, then transported to the center where they are rewarmed, arranged on plates in multitudes and garnished with care and precision, ready for servers to whisk them away. Long, shared tables have become customary seating at farm-to-table events. Halbrook of the Indian Creek Nature Center arranges attendees, following hunches for who might enjoy spending an evening with who. (She aptly seated me across from a pizza connoisseur and beside a woman who brought her own bottle of red wine to share—it was lovely.) The mission of Iowa City’s Farm to Street Dinner is to “bring together members of Iowa BREAD & BUTTER 2020


The farm-to-table dinner at Indian Creek Nature Center is part of a series held throughout the year. JAV DUCKER

City’s diverse, vibrant community to share a table, a story and a meal.” But photos of various local farm-to-table events throughout the past few years capture the faces of mostly white attendees that do not mirror the racial and economic diversity present in Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and surrounding areas. It’s the elephant in the room, especially given the

cost,” said Potter of the Farm to Street Dinner. Event organizers in Northfield, Minnesota took a big step forward this year in planning a donation-based farm-to-street dinner free to all attendees. The reservation website was available in both English and Spanish; fliers were delivered to nursing homes, senior centers, group homes and Latinx neighborhoods;

“To take those locally produced, locally grown foods and showcasing what our restaurants do here—that is the real purpose.” —Betsy Potter black roots of the farm-to-table trend, as well as the food justice ethos embedded in the broader local food movement. Half of the $140 tickets to the Indian Creek Nature Center’s dinner were donated to the center to support free and low-cost programming offered throughout the year. Because the Nature Center is not government-funded, it relies heavily on donors, Holbrook said. “We have to balance,” she added, “and this is very much a fundraiser for us.” “We do, and always have done, ticket giveaways [at the farmers market], and we do have some seats reserved for the farmers free of 22


and attendees were encouraged to call volunteers for help with transportation to the event. The late Anthony Bourdain called farmto-table an “overused definition” and “a little pretentious,” but he conceded, “I’m glad that people are aware and think about these things ... and I’m glad that chefs are making the real effort to get the best quality ingredients and that the public is more and more likely to appreciate it and even understand it. So I mean, it’s good.” It is good. Supporting farmers is good. Fresh, local produce tastes oh-so-good. And the magical renderings of skilled chefs like

A delicate course of mussels and champagne cocktails served at the Kroul Farms dinner. ZAK NEUMANN

Schumacher? Deliciously, obnoxiously good. But—is there still room in our metaphorical food justice belly to see these events become even better? Why, yes. Then again, there’s always room in that belly.



to be an intimate setting for creative and

The Club Car

frequently changing modern French dishes,

122 Wright St, Iowa City, 319-351-9416,

but a dinner here feels like you’ve walked into, $

someone’s home for an exquisite homemade

Looking for a bar downtown that doesn’t feel


like a bar downtown? Located just south of the Ped Mall, the Club Car is a neighborhood

Cider House

bar catering largely to a crowd of people

102 N 2nd St, Fairfield, 641-980-0423,

looking for a cold bottle of beer after a hard, $$

day at work. The beer selection is similarly

This award-winning burger restaurant and

no-frills, with plenty of domestic choices and

cider pub is nestled in downtown Fairfield,

a smattering of imports. Enjoy a game of

featuring house boutique cider, Fishback and

pool while you snack on your favorite fried

Stephenson and local Adrian Family Farms


beef. Cobble Hill Restaurant The Class Act Restaurant

219 2nd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-366-3177,

7725 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids,, $$$

319-848-8777, $$

For your swanky date night or your special

Class Act is an upscale Kirkwood culinary

occasion, Cobble Hill is Cedar Rapids’ leading

student-run restaurant featuring outstanding

destination for a chef-driven dinner that

local cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

will awaken your senses. Walking distance from Theatre Cedar Rapids, the Paramount

Clinton Street Social Club

Theatre and the U.S. Cellular Center, it’s an

18 1/2 S Clinton St, Iowa City,

ideal spot if you are doing dinner and a show

319-351-1690,, $$$

downtown and looking to impress. Trust the

Stop in and sit at the bar for some of the

servers. Stay for a few courses. Maybe forget

best craft cocktails in Iowa City while you talk

about the show. Voted Best Restaurant in

to their experienced bartenders. They offer

Little Village’s 2019 Best of the CRANDIC

a variety of small plates, or you can make a


night of it and explore and truly enjoy their excellent fine dining menu. Voted Best Cock-

Coffee Emporium and Cafe

tail Menu in Little Village’s 2019 Best of the

220 3rd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-362-3384,

CRANDIC awards., $

As the name might suggest, the Emporium Clock House Brewing

has an extensive list of caffeinated creations.

600 1st St SE, Cedar Rapids,

Whether you just need a cup of joe before

319-200-4099,, $

work or you’re looking for espresso shots to

Opened in the resurrected 102-year-old Clock

keep you going, they have the perfect drink

House building, this new brewery offers a

for every occasion.

wide selection of housemade brews for your sampling pleasure at their taproom, located


inside of the Black Sheep Social Club. Visit

26 S Clinton St, Iowa City, 319-519-2340, $

with your beer-loving buds for a pint of their

Since they opened, Cortado has impressed

inventive beer and order a delicious appetiz-

Iowa City with its urban atmosphere and

er from next door to share with the group.

great coffee. Their menu has expanded to include New York Bagels—shipped from a

Send story tips and submissions: editor@

Club 76 Cafe

Brooklyn bagel shop—fresh salads, delicious

2349 Mehaffey Bridge Rd NE, North Liberty,

sandwiches, and labneh and hummus plates

319-626-6046, $

perfect for an afternoon snack. Be sure to try

Club 76 is in an unassuming building; inside,

their pistachio muffins when you swing by for

however, there is a large bar and a lodge-

your morning coffee!

meets-dive-bar vibe. The staff is friendly, the regulars interesting and the entertain-

Cottage Bakery and Cafe

ment options unique. Grab a basket of free

230 E Benton St, Iowa City, 319-351-0052,

popcorn, and head to the wall of lottery ma-, $$

chines. In warmer months, they have a volley-

The Cottage Bakery and Cafe has been

ball net and outdoor seating on the adjacent

serving Iowa City for over 20 years. With a

lawn. Their annual Oyster Fest is something

variety of sandwich options in the area, the

to put on the calendar—a celebration of all

Cottage is easy to miss, but you shouldn’t;

things oysters and sour beer that happens in

affordable, fresh-made options, such as a

early March.

selection of $6 sandwiches, are in a class of their own when it comes to a fair price and BREAD & BUTTER 2020


Old Faithfuls Long-time restaurateurs dish on their secrets to success. How did you get started in the food industry? Jack Piper, co-owner of Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack and Basta: “Both of us started when we were like 16. [Co-owner] James [Adrian] started in the Hy-Vee Deli and worked his way up to a restaurant called Commander’s Palace, which won all kinds of accolades. I started as a busboy in a hotel and ended up working in five-star resorts in the mountains of Colorado.” Jim Mondanaro, owner of Bread Garden Market and Bakery, Joseph’s Steakhouse and ReUnion Brewery: “I was a bartender in college, and I was intrigued by the business. In the last semester of my senior year, I was supposed to student teach. An employer asked if I wanted to buy a closed restaurant from him. I had a little bit of money, and he sold it to me on a contract, and that’s how it all began.” Faye Swift, owner of Reds Alehouse, Big Grove Brewery, Blackstone and Pullman Bar & Diner: “1973, that’s when I got my first job in a bar. I opened Sluggers in 1988 in Coralville, Iowa.” Ron Godwin, owner of Naso’s Pizza, Flamingo, Winifred’s, R G Books Lounge and Vino’s Ristorante: “1962. I started making

“More partners came my way that were old friends; all great talents. Little by little, more partnerships formed, and more restaurants appeared.” —Faye Swift

pizza in a little Italian place at 65 cents an hour in Cedar Rapids.” George Elossais, owner of Mikhael’s Restaurant: “My parents were in the business since before I was born. I grew up working weekends and summers alongside my four older sisters and extended family who all worked there. My father was a Lebanese immigrant and food, as well as hospitality, is a big part of our culture. In 2012, my 24


Faye Swift has been in the business since 1988, when she opened Sluggers in Coralville. Pullman Bar & Diner (left) and Big Grove Brewery, additions to the Iowa City dining scene by Swift and her partners, have changed the restaurant landscape. ZAK NEUMANN

George Elossais grew up working at his parents’ Cedar Rapids restaurant Mikhael’s and became the owner in 2012. JAV DUCKER

“It is important to be onsite to manage your business. Especially in the restaurant business, where there is a lot of opportunity for errors. I’m the first one to get there and the last one to leave.” —George Elossais because I had been living there since 1978, and I felt that there was a certain need for a family kind of sports bar.” AD: “Justin Tran, the original owner of Three Samurai, asked me to come here and help parents decided to retire after 29 years in the

him make sushi. I worked for Justin for a

business. I couldn’t walk away from the op-

while and I then asked him if we could part-

portunity to keep it in the family, so I decided

ner on a new project together. We opened

to take the plunge.”

Takanami in 2003.”

Andy Diep, owner of Ramen Belly (sched-

How did you expand?

uled to open in 2020): “I went to University of Illinois to study

JP: “Each of the concepts came from some-

design and I was just like any other college

thing we genuinely wanted to do, food that

kid, going to school and working as a sushi

we were proud of. When we opened Atlas,

guy over the weekend to make money

we didn’t think there were certain food

to get by. But, I love food. My family has

dishes here, so we thought we could bring

always been in the restaurant business. My

them. Then we didn’t see barbecue, so we

parents used to own a Chinese restaurant in

opened a barbecue restaurant. Later, there

California and back even in Vietnam, we are

were lots of Italian places and pizza places.

still serving food.”

We thought, if kids want pizza and parents want pasta, we can try to put it together for

What inspired you to open your first


restaurant? JM: “In ’94, we built the Bread Garden JP: “We wanted to take our knowledge,

as a bakery because we wanted to have

everything we’ve learned from trips and

the best bread, the best buns. That’s a

working in different places, [and] bring that

big difference between us and all the

awesome food back to Iowa City.”

other restaurants that buy bread from a mass-produced factory. We’ve made our

FS: “At the time, the only things available in

own homemade ravioli, tortellini, our own

Coralville were a Bonanza and a Ponderosa

pasta and things like that for over 25 years.

Steakhouse. I thought that wasn’t enough

We grow because what we did was better BREAD & BUTTER 2020


R G Books Lounge (above) is an iconic Cedar Rapids bar tucked away in the Town and Country Shopping Center. The bar, along with Vino’s Ristorante (right), the adjoined Italian restaurant, are owned and operated by Ron Godwin. JAV DUCKER

than what you’d get at an Olive Garden.”

that were old friends; all great talents. Little by little, more partnerships formed,

FS: “Opportunities come your way. When

and more restaurants appeared.”

the Reds building became ‘for sale,’ I was in real estate and realized that would be

RG: “I had seven brothers and sisters and

a good thing for us to buy. There were no

my mother and father that worked for

restaurants in North Liberty at the time

me. I just started buying things and had

that were neighborhood joints. We had a

a good attorney who consulted me. In

Sluggers following, and people were very

terms of why, it’s the American dream

encouraging. Later, we ran into a really

to have more. I came from a poor family.

good brewer and realized we should start

My grandfather worked for WPA during

brewing beer. More partners came my way

the Depression and fought [in] World

“I still make pizza. It’s still the same old business: quality service and quality product, just taking care of the customer.” —Ron Godwin

“In the beginning, I did everything from morning till close. I was the manager, the cook, the bartender, I did everything. Today, I have people that are doing those things, but I have to be available 24 hours a day. It’s a chain of command.” —Jim Mondanaro 26



Locally owned since 1993


WIG & PEN PIZZA PUB 1220 US-6, Iowa City • (319) 354-2767 WIG & PEN EAST 363 N 1st Ave, Iowa City • (319) 351-2327 WIG & PEN NORTH LIBERTY 201 Hwy 965 NE, North Liberty • (319) 665-2255



AD: “I’m more behind the scenes than up front. I’m the guy in the kitchen making the recipes.” What’s your secret to success? JP: “Our success comes back to giving people just good, honest, flavorful food with a big smile and good hospitality. That’s really golden all the time.” JM: “We don’t cut corners. The name of our company is Fresh Food Concepts, and that tells the tale right there. We buy the best products that we can, we make everything from scratch and we use those products as building blocks for end products.” FS: “I would like to believe that we treat our customers like family. We treat our employees like real people and give opportunities for people to move up. We love what we do.” RG: “Having a large family and buying the buildings that I own.” GE: “I think it is important to be on site to manage your business. Especially in the restaurant business where there is a lot of opportunity for errors. I’m the first one to get there and the last one to leave. Also even more important is the way you treat your employees and your customers. Make sure you let everyone know you appreciate them because ultimately they are the ones that allow you to Andy Diep, owner of Ramen Belly (scheduled to open in 2020) was previously involved in Takanami, Northside Bistro and most recently Konomi. ZAK NEUMANN

“People might give you an opportunity, but at the end of the day, it’s all dependent on you—how you take that opportunity and bring it up to the next level.” —Andy Diep

do what you do every day.” AD: “I don’t give up. If there’s something I really want, I will try my best. I’m a pretty good fighter.” Future goals? JP: “Right now, we’re pretty happy. At this point, we’re really just trying to make sure

War I in the trenches in Europe. You just

FS: “I am not a hands-on person anymore,

that [our restaurants] can do the best for

want more.”

but I have the experience that the rest of

everybody. The latest thing we’re doing is our

my team doesn’t have. They’ll come up

sauces at Jimmy Jack’s, which will hopefully

with ideas, and I’ll be like, ‘Yeah, I did that

go into retail.”

What does your job look like these days?

20 years ago.’ I’m more of a consultant, a JP: “We use a simple philosophy that if my


JM: “Right now, we’re expanding our brewery. Within the next 10 years, I’ll be completely out

top management teams have everything

of the business.”

they need and their questions are answered,

RG: “I still make pizza. It’s still the same old

they will do the same with our servers,

business: quality service and quality prod-

cooks and the guests. We do a lot of walk-

uct, just taking care of the customer.”

FS: “Retirement. I am 67, so it’s time.”

ing and asking, ‘What do you need?’” GE: “My day starts off around 5:30 a.m.

RG: “I’m 73 and my father’s 96, so my goal

JM: “In the beginning, I did everything from

when I begin cooking breakfast for my early

is to get to the age of 96. [Business goals]

morning till close. I was the manager, the

birds. Although I do most of the cooking,

come along automatically. A month ago, the

cook, the bartender, I did everything. Today,

I also deal with vendors, stocking, hiring,

Democratic Party called and wanted to know

I have people that are doing those things,

billing and pretty much any issue that arises

if we could feed 900 people fish. That was the

but I have to be available 24 hours a day. It’s

on a daily basis. It’s never a dull moment

goal, to feed 900 people 600-700 pounds

a chain of command.”

around here.”

of fish in about four hours and fry it on-site.




ingredient quality. Don’t get us started on their molasses cookies—yum. The Cottage also offers catering services featuring additional entrees, side dishes and dessert options. Crêpes de Luxe Café 309 E College St, Iowa City, 319-887-2233,, $

This miniature cozy cafe is a portal to unique French cuisine. The friendly husband-andwife owners and their employees create both sweet and savory paper-thin crêpes right before diners’ eyes and aim to use all local ingredients, from the buckwheat flour down to the butter. The Dandy Lion 111 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, 319-358-6400,, $$

Breakfast and brunch spot by day, wine bar and lounge by night. Open and inviting, there’s something for everyone on the Dandy Lion menu, including an interesting wine selection and innovative drinks, both coffee and otherwise. Daisy’s Garage and Filling Station 1117 1st Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-362-2223,

Blank & McCune views real estate as more than just a job; it’s a way of life. We approach our clients with care, support, and respect. Our practice is more than just selling; it’s about relationships. Founded in 1979, Blank & McCune, The Real Estate Company is an independent and locally owned brokerage. We specialize in residential sales and commercial sales/leases throughout Iowa City, Coralville, North Liberty, and surrounding areas., $$

Named for Daisy Duke, this garage-themed restaurant brings an abundance of seafood options to the Cedar Rapids scene, so look for clams, mussels and shrimp prepared five ways before settling for a sandwich or burger. Dairy Queen 501 16th St NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-365-0680,, $

The faces behind the sliding order window at

this Cedar Rapids walk-up are always friendly, and the cool treats always executed with

506 E. College Street, Iowa City, IA 52240 | (319) 354-9440 Licensed to Sell Real Estate in the State of Iowa

attention to detail. McWane Dairy Queen 526 S Riverside Dr, Iowa City, 319-338-9328,

Let design tell your business’s story Ask us about BRANDING, CUSTOM PUBLICATIONS & GRAPHIC DESIGN


3 1 9.8 55.1474, $

Owned by the McWane family since the 1960s, the DQ on Riverside Drive feels like family when you pull into their lot. Stop by for a classic vanilla cone or hot fudge sundae, or mix it up by trying one of their always-yummy Blizzards.

STAGES O f f ici a l M ag a z i n e o f T h e E n g l e r t T h e at r e Winter 2019

Dan and Debbie’s Creamery 1600 Main St, Ely, 319-848-6455, $

You might have bought Dan and Debbie’s milk from your local grocery stores or ordered their cheese curds at the Black Squirrel Tap, but this family-owned dairy is well worth a visit in person. Sample their sumptuous ice BREAD & BUTTER 2020



cream, and pick up the staples you’re already used to. Dane’s Dairy 1430 Willow Creek Dr, Iowa City, 319-354-7400,, $

A seasonal favorite, Dane’s Dairy is a time capsule of Iowa City history and frozen treats. The strawberry soft serve and signature ice cream bars are not to be missed. Dave’s Foxhead Tavern 402 E Market St, Iowa City, 319-351-9824, $

Iowa City’s oldest bar, the Foxhead makes for a great neighborhood watering hole. The bar does not boast fancy but thankfully, they are cheap and cover the necessities. Be sure to bring money for the eclectic jukebox or a game of pool. Daylight Donuts 1681 S 1st Ave, Iowa City, 319-339-0055,, $

Since its opening in 2011, Daylight Donuts has enjoyed a great deal of word-of-mouth popularity and established itself as a mainstay in Iowa City

Business partners James Adrian (left) and Jack Piper (right) started their food service careers when they were just teenagers. Below: A range of housemade sauces at Jimmy Jack’s in Iowa City. ZAK NEUMANN

“Good restaurant people will help you. Someone listened to me, someone helped me, so we always try to pay it forward with anyone else doing anything.” —Jack Piper


cocktails; drink selections are minimal,

for a sweet breakfast treat and a good, cheap cup of coffee. It takes pride in its

That goal happened two weeks prior, so

you think you’re a good cook and that’s a

customer service, hometown vibes and

you don’t know what the next day’s goal is

good reason to open up a restaurant, it’s

homemade doughnuts. If you’re feeling

going to be.”

really not. You have to realize that your path

adventurous, try their maple bacon

and passion is really in hospitality. We want

longjohns or a sausage roll—a ched-

GE: “My goal is to maintain a quality prod-

darwurst wrapped in sweet dough and

uct and happy customer while continuously

fried. The shop recently relocated but

adding value to my customers experience.”

remains on Iowa City’s east side. Deadwood Tavern

everybody to have a good time.” RG: “Everybody seems to want to get into the restaurant business. I’d say, find a new

What advice do you have for aspiring

line of work … but if you’re going to get into


it, you should go somewhere like Kirkwood’s Culinary Arts program instead of taking

6 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, 319-351-9417, $

Downtown Iowa City’s ultimate come-

JP: “I tell young folks, don’t worry about

your mother’s or grandmother’s recipe.

as-you-are bar—or “Institute of Higher

the money. Go to the place that you think

Learn the basics of cooking.”

Learning,” as the signage reads—offers

is putting out the best and ask them. Good

a spacious atmosphere with plenty of

restaurant people will help you. Someone

GE: “Offer a quality product. Know your

booths and big-screen TVs to watch the

listened to me, someone helped me, so we

competition. Know your market and listen

Hawkeyes, Cubs or The Simpsons during

always try to pay it forward with anyone

to what people want. Work hard and never

their famous “Angry Hour.” Deadwood

else doing anything.”

give up!”

service, but it’s just for fun; the Dead-

JM: “Be careful about trying to get into

AD: “Don’t be scared. And don’t think

wood loves you and you will love the

something that you can’t get out of. Any-

too hard. What is a great idea? If you

Deadwood. Cash only, no food.

body who wants to be in the restaurant

have a good idea, go for it. If someone

business better have something that not

handed you a business—a very successful

Della Viti Wine Lounge

just they themselves believe is good. There

business—if you don’t put in your work

203 1st Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-409-7421,

are too many restaurants today compared

to understand it and are scared of doing, $$

to when I started. So the key to success is

things, you’re going to fall behind. Every-

Sample hand-selected wines by the

differentiating yourself from everybody else

day somebody is trying to be better than

splash, glass or bottle from self-serve

in a way that brings you as much revenue

you. People might give you an opportunity,

wine stations in this downtown Cedar

on your concept as you can get.”

but at the end of the day, it’s all dependent

is famous for Bloody Marys and surly

on you: how you take that opportunity and

Rapids lounge. If you need guidance as you make your way through the numer30


FS: “You have to have a passion for it. If

bring it up to the next level.”



ity C a w et, Io


St n n i .L N 6 0 2



ous choices, look for a knowl-

breakfast burrito you’ve ever

edgeable staff member who can

had. The tap beer selection

guide you to something you’ll

features a good line-up of local

like. Locally brewed craft beer

brews and changes weekly,

and a selection of fine spirits are

which means repeat visits to Dry

available for those who don’t

Creek are a must.

identify as winos, and a small plate menu provides sustenance.

Dublin Underground 5 S Dubuque St, Iowa City,

GIVE4SAFETY to 44-321 to help those in need

Deluxe Cakes and Pastries

319-337-7660, $

812 S Summit St, Iowa City,

No night on the town is com-


plete without stopping at this, $$

classic Iowa City basement

Buttery croissants baked to

bar. Order a round of cocktails,

perfection, delicate French mac-

play some darts or squeeze

arons and a welcoming staff are

yourself into one of their small

just a few reasons to visit Deluxe

but charming booths for some

Cakes and Pastries. Deluxe is

conversation. If you aren’t care-

located on Summit Street and

ful you might end up staying till

provides a neighborhood feel

close. Time has a way of flying

that is as rich as the items on

at the Dublin Underground, but

the menu. The space is recently

it’s always time well spent. Cash

renovated and open for Sunday

only, no food.

brunch with expanded savory menu items. Voted Best Baked

Dumpling Darling

Goods in Little Village’s 2019

213 Iowa Ave, Iowa City,

Best of the CRANDIC awards.

319-338-2404,, $

ore kst o o B afe &c

Dodge Street Coffeehouse

Mix up your usual late-night cui-

2790 N Dodge St, Iowa City,

sine by stopping by Dumpling

319-569-1722, $

Darling any time before 10 p.m.

This child-friendly coffee shop

during the week or until bar

pushes Iowa City’s northern

close Thursday through Satur-

boundary and serves coffee,

day. They offer dumplings (fried

espresso and tea drinks as well

or steamed), bao buns and a

as your favorite foods from local

variety of vegetarian, gluten-free

eateries for a balanced, healthy

and vegan options!

breakfast or lunch. Bonus: there’s a drive-through!

Dunn Brothers Coffee 3284 Crosspark Rd Ste A, Coralville,

Donnelly’s Pub

319-665-2020,, $

110 E College St, Iowa City,

Hidden inside this strip mall


suite is a coffee roastery with, $$

a bevy of breakfast, lunch and

Check out the next Hawkeye

beverage options. Enjoy a casual

game at Donnelly’s Pub and take

lunch or a quick coffee from the

advantage of their daily lunch

drive-through. Warm up by the

and drink specials. Try their

fire or take in some fresh air on

classic Irish-American entrees

the patio.

like the mouthwatering reuben or patty melt, and be sure to

Eastbank Venue and Lounge

wash it down with one of their

97 3rd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids,

craft beers!

319-365-0759,, $$

15 S Dubuque St, Iowa City | 319-337-2681 32


Dry Creek Brew

Located in the old Smulekoff’s

100 E Main St, Robins,

building (a furniture store that

319-536-0777, $

operated for more than 120

Inside a cozy converted house—

years in downtown Cedar Rap-

complete with exposed brick,

ids), Eastbank Venue is a 14,000

wood floors and front-porch

square foot event space that can

seating—you’ll find coffee, a

be customized to the flavor of

small bites menu and the best

your event. Exposed brick with


centuries-old paint combine

over the weekend for one of the

with purple lights and dangling

best brunches in town.

crystals, bringing an 1890s meets 1990s lounge vibe to the

El Senor Cactus

cocktail bar next door, currently

1534 S Gilbert St, Iowa City,

only open for private events.


El Senor Cactus is famous for The Edison Pub and Eatery

their margaritas. There’s nothing

475 Northland Ave NE,

prickly about the service at this

Cedar Rapids, 319-200-6662,

friendly neighborhood joint. No, $$$

relation to Cactus Cantina or

Belly-filling comfort food is

Cactus 1, 2 or 3 in downtown

the name of the game at the

Iowa City.

family-friendly Edison. Think burgers and sammies, calamari

El Dorado

and onion rings, and baked mac

102 2nd Ave, Coralville,

and cheese and corned beef and

319-688-5237, $$

cabbage. Hit up this upscale pub

El Dorado is a must if you love

during lunch for great specials

a good Tex-Mex platter and

or during happy hour for two-

fresh salsa. You are sure to

for-one wine deals.

enjoy eating in the restaurant as well, because their décor is

Edith Lucielle’s Bait Shack

bright and festive and lends to a

and Wing Depot

relaxed, happy environment.

6913 Mount Vernon Rd SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-320-6064,

El Paso Taqueria and, $

Latin Market

Located in southeast Cedar

609 Hollywood Blvd, Iowa City,

Rapids, along the banks of

319-338-3703, $

Squaw Creek, Edith Lucielle’s

El Paso is home to some of Iowa

serves up classic down-home

City’s best burritos and tacos.

food, offering breakfast, lunch

Place your order and while

and dinner, daily specials and

you’re waiting, wander through

live music.

the aisles of the small adjoined bodega. Tallboys of Tecate or

El Bajio

Michelada make the perfect

555 Gateway Place SW, Cedar

beverage to enjoy alongside a

Rapids, 319-366-1715,, $

plate of tacos.

If you are on the quest for authentic, homestyle Mexican

El Sol Mexican Cuisine

cuisine, look no further! Bringing

240 W Main St, Solon, 319-624-2020,

to Cedar Rapids the flavors, $$

of the west-central region of

In a cozy brick building on the

Mexico, El Bajio is a treat for the

main drag of Solon, El Sol offers

palate. From simple taco options

delicious food, ranging from steak

to elaborate meat medleys like

fajitas to a vegetarian burrito.

the Molcajetes, there is some-

Their full bar makes for a great

thing for both the shy and the

night out with friends and some-


times you can catch live music.

El Banditos

El Super Burrito and Lupita’s

327 E Market St, Iowa City,

3300 Johnson Ave,


Cedar Rapids, 319-366-1181, $, $$

This tiny gray house on the

Located in the Northside neigh-

northwest side of Cedar Rapids

borhood, El Banditos offers a

is home to delicious traditional

wide variety of delicious Mex-

and street Mexican cuisine. Their

ican dishes made from family

extensive menu ensures just

recipes and local ingredients. El

about any craving is satisfied,

Banditos embodies traditional

and you can indulge your sweet

Mexican flavors with an empha-

tooth with something from the

sis on fresh and local. Stop in

in-house bakery, Lupita’s.

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w w w . t o y o t ai o w ac i t y . c o m BREAD & BUTTER 2020



The Meat of the Matter Find your favorite barbecue at one of these local restaurants.


ll over the country, debates rage over what makes the best barbecue.

Cities and entire states are known for their barbecue fare, but the treatment of the meat—how it is smoked, dry-rubbed, or sauced—is what defines barbecue in that region (though what accompanies


the meat is important, too).

you’ve had

Kansas City boasts thick, dark and

a plate of

smoky sauces and dry-rubbed meat.

BBQ (left),

The Carolinas offer sauces ranging

you really

from vinegar-based (North Carolina) to


mustard-based sauce (South Carolina), al-

to try

most always on pork. Memphis serves up


dry-rubbed ribs with no sauce, or wet ribs


dressed with tangy sauce before, during

house and

and after they cook. Texas cooks their


beef low and slow, bringing the flavor of


the fat into the meat and serving their


sauce on the side.


Iowa barbecue samples all of these


styles, offering you the chance to explore various flavor favorites from across the country in a single sitting. Wildwood Smokehouse and Saloon 4919 Walleye Dr SE, Iowa City Best barbecue dish: Beef Brisket Recommended appetizer: Fried Pickles Scott Kading, owner of Gabe’s, recently reopened the aluminum behemoth on the outskirts of Iowa City, filling the calendar with musical acts and sustaining its reputation as a barbecue joint. The moist


Beef Brisket is Iowa black Angus beef from Tama, boasting right on the menu that it’s

an extended menu compared to its origi-

Recommended side: Cheesy Potatoes

“so good you don’t need sauce.” Crispy

nal southeast Iowa City location, including

All the meats Q Dogs serves are smoked

frickles balance the smoky flavor with their

salads and smoked portobello. Still, this

“low and slow” with cherry wood, giving


barbecue enthusiast keeps ordering the

them a mild sweetness. While the ribs are

tender, slow-smoked chicken, soaking

a fan favorite because of this technique,

Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack

each slice in the properly spicy-

the bizarre but charming one-off on the

745 Community Dr Ste F, North Liberty

sweet Chicago Fire sauce.

menu is the BBQ Sundae, featuring a smoked beans base, followed by a layer

1940 Lower Muscatine Rd, Iowa City Best barbecue dish: Smoked Chicken

Q Dogs BBQ Company

of apple cider slaw, topped with pulled

Recommended sauce: Chicago Fire

895 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Marion

pork and garnished with a pickle spear.

Jimmy Jack’s North Liberty location offers

Best barbecue dish: BBQ Sundae

Cornbread is served with it, but the shin-



ing star of side dishes is easily the cheesy potatoes—also smoked, of course. Mosley’s Barbecue and Provisions 525 S Gilbert St, Iowa City 125 E Zeller St, North Liberty Best barbecue dish: The Spread Recommended drink: Sweet Tea Go with a gaggle of friends to try The Spread, Mosley’s sampler of pulled pork, standard or hot slab ribs and pulled chicken and sausage links. Pair it with any side from a jar of bacon (more meat!) to collard greens—but be sure you’re washing it down with the Southern gold standard:


their very own house-made sweet tea.

Big’s BBQ Brew Pub 124 2nd Ave N, Mt Vernon Best barbecue dish: Pulled Pork Recommended brew: Root Beer Opened in the spring of 2017, this houseturned-restaurant in Mount Vernon also brews its own beer (and root beer!) in the basement. Proudly serving Iowa-style barbecue, Big’s mixes regional methods to create and serve new flavors. The pulled pork is a must-try: smoked and tender and duly complemented with an inventive Raspberry Sriracha sauce. Pop’s BBQ


130 N Dubuque St, Iowa City Best barbecue dish: Burnt Ends Recommended sauce: Blackberry Habanero Sitting comfortably left of center for standard barbecue fare, Pop’s makes no bones about offering a “traditional” and an “other” menu, the latter of which includes items like Cuban sandwiches and chicken strips. Still, their burnt ends are melt-inyour-mouth tender with crispy charred edges, proving they could do a solid barbecue-only menu, but they don’t have to.

If you’re not managing your online presence, you’re losing business. Ask us about DIGITAL MARKETING SOLUTIONS


3 1 9.8 55.1 474



DAIRY DELICIOUS Kalona SuperNatural has put organic Iowa milk on the map. BY ANJALI HUYNH





n a world dominated by heavy processing and technological advancements, it’s become rarer to find simple, truly all-natural products on grocery store shelves. But Kalona-based dairy producer Kalona SuperNatural aims to bring the age-old tradition of leaving milk cream at the top of the bottle back to today’s consumers nationwide. Kalona SuperNatural began as a local dairy production brand called Farmer’s All-Natural Creamery, appropriately named for its original intention of getting Iowa farmers’ products to market. When founder and owner Bill Evans and his family moved to Kalona, Iowa in 2005, he established Kalona Organics to “develop brands that expand markets in the natural/ organic food community,” per their website. Kalona Organics created two brands, Farmer’s All Natural Creamery and Cultural Revolution, to help Iowan Amish and Mennonite farms sell their products to a wider consumer base. “There was a group of Amish farmers that were producing high-quality organic milk and needed an outlet to get it to market,” said Sales and Marketing Manager Sara Rissi, who has worked with the brand for five years. “So the decision was made to create a creamery in order to take this milk to market to make small family dairy farming a viable lifestyle for the Amish producers in and around Kalona.” As demand for both brands’ products began to climb, the two entities merged in 2010 to create what is known today as Kalona SuperNatural. In 2004, Kalona SuperNatural connected with United Natural Foods, Incorporated (UNFI), a natural and organic foods distributor that works with a variety of major chains like Whole Foods Market, Natural Grocers, Sprouts Farmers Market and Fresh Thyme. Later on, as the company grew, KeHE Distributors began servicing distribution as well. “We started with targeting smaller retailers,” Rissi said. “Hy-Vee was one of the first customers that we had. Then it just kept growing to the other natural foods distributors.” The brand’s rapid growth in popularity is largely due to the farms they work with and the way that products are processed, according to Rissi. Kalona SuperNatural sells products that are certified organic and minimally processed, as they choose to use “traditional, older-school” pasteurization methods like small-batch pasteurization. Small-batch pasteurization involves pasteurizing dairy


products at lower temperatures for a longer time, distinguishing Kalona SuperNatural from many of its competitors that sell more heavily processed products. “We don’t homogenize our products. We just leave the cream where it belongs, which is on top,” Rissi said. “You know, back in the day when you had milk delivered to your door, you judged the quality of your milk by the amount of cream sitting on top of your milk. We tried to replicate that with our brand and process as little as we can and just try to keep it as natural as possible.” Despite its growth, Kalona SuperNatural remains committed to using products from the same Midwestern Amish and Mennonite farms that they started out with. “A lot of these farms have been in the same families for 150 years and have never been touched by chemicals, which is pretty awesome,” Rissi said. “We work with these small family farms to bring you delicious, certified organic cream-topped milk from pasture-grazed cows where the average dairy herd is 35 cows … on about 90 tillable acres.” Kalona SuperNatural products tend to cost more than other organic brands, but Rissi believes this cost is worth it if it yields a higher-quality product. “Many factors impact the cost. First, we work with small, certified organic Amish and Mennonite farmers instead of largescale factory farms. Second, we use oldschool, traditional manufacturing methods like vat pasteurization and a small-batch butter churn,” Rissi said. “Both of these are less efficient and lead to higher product costs, but we believe it is the right thing to do for our farmers, the environment and our consumers.” Today, Kalona SuperNatural is still run

by Kalona Organics, which the corporation Open Gates Group has overseen in a more active role since 2015. Open Gates also maintains seven other groups in the Kalona area: Awesome Logistics, Awesome Refrigerated Transit of Iowa, Farmers Creamery, Frytown Distribution, Kalona Creamery, Kalona Farms and Provision Ingredients.

“We don’t homogenize our products. We just leave the cream where it belongs, which is on top.” —Sara Rissi The brand currently offers a full line of dairy products, including white and chocolate milk, whipping cream, buttermilk, butter, cottage cheese, sour cream and yogurt. Its most recent addition is kefir, which Rissi describes as “drinkable yogurt.” Kalona SuperNatural’s full product line is sold primarily throughout the greater Midwest, from Minneapolis to the Rocky Mountains. This also extends to Texas and Atlanta, Georgia as well. Cultured products, such as cottage cheese, yogurt and buttermilk, are also offered throughout California

and the West Coast, with more scattered distribution on the East Coast. A result of this exposure: Kalona SuperNatural is now named among the top dairy producers around the country. According to HTF Market Intelligence, a business consulting company, the Iowa brand is one of the top players in the butter market nationwide. Because this market is projected to experience major growth by 2025, Kalona SuperNatural will likely experience continued success as well. Rissi noted some future goals include expanding distribution on the two types of new kefir products and potentially expanding cheese curd distribution. Sister company Kalona Creamery resumed production of cheese curds recently, and if this production is scaled up, the curds may be sold through Kalona SuperNatural in the future. “We’re always exploring different things,” she said. “The key is staying true to who we are and what we do best, and to honor our customers’ commitment to a healthy household and planet.” For those looking to try the brand’s organic foods, or products of similar quality, Rissi said to look out for the cream on top, indicating “clean” ingredients and “the best flavor.” “If [consumers] are looking for better dairy products that are processed as little as possible that replicate the form of dairy in its natural state, they should consider organic foods,” Rissi said. “We have a lot of consumers that aren’t organic foodies that just really resonate with our brand because it’s the way that they remember butter or buttermilk or cottage cheese tasting when their grandparents used to make them stuff in their kitchen. It’s just true to what the products were originally before all of the really processed stuff started appearing on the shelf.” BREAD & BUTTER 2020



Encounter Cafe 376 S Clinton St, Iowa City, 319-519-2044,, $

Feel good about where you spend your money: Just south of downtown Iowa City proper, Encounter Cafe, a community-minded restaurant, serves panini, smoothies, wraps and omelets to hungry patrons, and all profits from the cafe are funnelled back to the community through local charities and organizations doing good. Estela’s Fresh Mex 184 E Burlington St, Iowa City, 319-354-6264, 1810 N Coral St Ste C, Coralville, 319-519-2003,, $

Giant breakfast burritos stuffed full of your favorite toppings are an obvious draw, but everything from tacos to burrito bowls and quesadillas are made fresh right in front of you. The Iowa City location is a great spot for breakfast on your way to class or a quick lunch or dinner. The new Coralville location has an outdoor seating area and serves alcoholic beverages. Exotic India 102 B 2nd Ave, Coralville, 319-354-4710,, $$

Exotic India is everything you hope for in an Indian place, done well, at a great price: Hot chai; Kingfisher, Taj Mahal and Flying Horse beers; warm fluffy naan baked in a clay oven; a lunch buffet that never disappoints. If you live in Iowa City/Coralville, their curries and tandoori fare should probably be part of your regular routine, if it isn’t already. Falbo Bros. Pizzeria 457 S Gilbert St, Iowa City, 319-337-9090 2100 Norcor Ave, Coralville, 319-248-9090, 3286 Crosspark Rd, Coralville, 319-626-2788,, $

Late-night pizza and subs are offered at Falbo’s and commonly enjoyed by undergrads. If you’re feelin’ a little cheesy, try their stuffed pizza which is loaded with cheese and toppings. A new location opened in the Coralville/North Liberty gray area. Fiesta Mexican Restaurant 720 Pacha Pkwy, North Liberty, 319-626-2935,, $$

Come hungry to Fiesta Mexican Restaurant. That’s because the portions are big enough to share and the dishes so flavorful you won’t be able to put down your fork. A few musttry items include the pork carnitas, the choripollo (chicken, chorizo and cheese), shrimp and crab chimichangas and the sopes. Wash it down with a refreshing agua fresca. 38





118 E College St, Iowa City, 319-358-2555,

221 E College St, Iowa City, 319-338-8880,

404 E College St #100, Iowa City,, $$, $$

Formosa is known for their fast service and

With a new second location now open in

phenomenal sushi. You can find them on

The Chauncey, this downtown movie theater

Hotel Vetro’s first level, and expect a fresh,

emphasizes independent and outsider genres

sleek atmosphere when you walk in the door.

with such curatorial expertise that the *L.A.

Be sure to make a reservation if you want to

Times* once cried, “It’s long been known

enjoy dinner here, and check out their sushi

that the art house scene in Los Angeles lags

and drink specials during the week!

behind that of New York, but must we be outdone by Iowa City as well?” FilmScene’s

Frida Kahlo Mexican Restaurant

concession stands feature local beers on tap,

and Lucy’s Bakery

a nice selection of wine and mixed drinks

101 Windflower Ln #500, Solon, 319-624-2107, $$

and locally roasted coffee—and, of course,

On the south edge of Solon, Frida Kahlo


offers wonderful Mexican food, but it is the traditional Tres Leches Cakes and Pastries

The Fish Store

from Lucy’s Bakery combined with the com-

4342 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids,

munity spirit of this large event space that

319-200-5004, $

make Frida Kahlo stand out in a crowded

The Fish Store is the former Cedar Rapids

field of great Mexican restaurants. There is

staple Boston Fish reincarnated. Opened by

often live music including regular salsa and

longtime Boston Fish employee, Lenore Zoll,

tango nights. Visit once and you’ll become a

the restaurant serves fish, shrimp, clams and


crawfish and is a seafood lover’s dream. Friendship Bakery Fix!

341 S Linn St, Iowa City, 319-569-1047, $

404 E College St, Suite 202, Iowa City,

At this Chinese bakery, the ornately deco-

319-519-6445,, $

rated cakes look almost too beautiful to eat.

Located on the second floor of The Chaunc-

(We said almost.) Everything is handmade,

ey, this open-concept coffee spot caters to

from the cakes and breads to the baked buns

both grab-and-go customers and those who

with to-die-for creamy centers. Order a fruit

like to linger over a cup of joe with friends.

tea or milk tea—try the purple rice version—

Traditional espresso drinks, such as lattes and

to complement the sweet treats.

cappuccinos, share the menu with trendy sippers like the frothy shakerato and the

Fuel Nest

elegant cortado.

103 1st St NE, Mount Vernon, 319-895-8429, $

If Mount Vernon had a living room, it would The Flying Wienie

be Fuel Nest. Stop by for delicious baked

103 8th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-861-3036,

goods and fresh-brewed coffee, and if you, $

have a few spare minutes, wander around.

This charming joint is full of personality and

The shop is filled with an eclectic mix of local

flavor, bringing a little piece of the Windy

art, antiques and curios, all for sale.

City to Cedar Rapids since 1999. The Chicago-style dogs are naturally a menu staple,

Gabby’s Mexican Restaurant

but you’d be missing out if you don’t try the

1100 N Columbus, West Liberty, 319-627-7178, $$

baby back ribs or the hand-cut fries.

This teeny Mexican restaurant has a plain, bare-bones interior, but what it lacks in ambi-

Fong’s Pizza

ence it makes up for in flavor and authentic-

1006 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids,

ity. The menu features Mexican-style “street

319-320-9992,, $$

tacos”—corn tortillas, meat, onion, cilantro

The NewBo location marks the second

and lime—and other traditional Mexican dish-

installment of Fong’s in Iowa—the flagship

es, like tortas and menudo. For the less-ad-

restaurant is in Des Moines. Expect thin

venturous among us, there are also more

crust pizza with an Asian twist (their most

Americanized dishes and combination plates.

well-known pie boasts crab rangoon toppings) as well as standard straightforward

Gabe’s Oasis

’zas. It’s a great place to get a tiki drink, and

330 E Washington St, Iowa City,

you’ll be surrounded by eclectic and kitschy

319-351-9175,, $

décor. Fong’s is open late for a snack after a

This dive bar and music venue features a his-

CSPS show.

tory of Iowa City music all over its walls and in its roots. Gabe’s has been a tour stop for BREAD & BUTTER 2020


Six Simple Tips for Intuitive Eating Fad diets come and go, but a mindful approach to eating that withstands the ebbs and flows of diet culture? Sign us up! By now, you may have heard a bit about intuitive eating. This non-diet approach to eating emphasizes internal cues over external diet rules. “Non-diet” means the focus isn’t on the scale, but instead on promoting positive behaviors and habits, better body image and a healthier relationship with food. Intuitive eaters let go of the misconception that certain foods are good or bad, and they consume what they want without feeling guilt or shame. They eat based on internal signals like hunger, fullness and satisfaction. This may sound simple, but after years or even decades of being inundated with diet talk,


diet culture, media messages and food rules, it can be hard to just, well, eat! Here are six simple tips to help you get started on the path of intuitive eating.

Honor your hunger. Learn to recognize mild

Challenge your inner food police. The guard

After eating a meal, take some time to be

sensations of hunger that emerge even while

tower deep in your psyche loves to blast neg-

mindful of your inner feelings. Did your meal

you are busy doing something else, and feed

ative thoughts every time you get a craving.

or snack make you feel sluggish, energized,

them before you become ravenous or feel

Chasing the food police away is a critical step

anxious or calm? Take stock of your physical,

tempted to make unhealthy eating choices.

in returning to intuitive eating. Give yourself

mental and emotional responses, and decide

permission to eat whenever you feel hungry,

whether the meal and foods are worth eating

and let go of the guilt or perceived rules saying


you can’t eat more than a certain number of calories, or enjoy a brownie.

Honor your feelings without using food.

Exercise for enjoyment. Shift your focus to

Keep caveats in mind. Many integrative or

Anxiety, loneliness, boredom and anger are

how it feels to move your body, rather than the

holistic health experts point out that the foods

emotions we all experience. Food won’t fix any

calorie-burning effect of exercise. If you focus

we most often crave are sometimes those to

of these feelings. If you find yourself overeat-

on how you feel during and after a workout, it

which we are allergic or intolerant. If you suffer

ing to treat a mood or an emotion instead of

can make the difference between rolling out

from this sort of food addiction, be aware that

to satisfy physiological hunger, search for the

of bed for a brisk morning walk or hitting the

feeding it may make your cravings worse.

emotional root of the problem and then soothe

snooze alarm.

or stimulate yourself by doing yoga, taking a long walk or talking with a friend. 40


Oyster mushrooms from Rot’s Bounty. ZAK NEUMANN

On Mushrooms

The fungi from these two local mycology masters will grow on you. BY ANJALI HUYNH



famous bands before they found fame, and features all types of music including techno, indy, metal and hip hop. Aside from their music credentials, their beer garden is a go-to for Iowa City folk to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. Gabe’s is exactly what you want from a local bar and music venue—legendary music cred, a wide selection of beer and a casual, cool vibe. No food. Gene’s 210 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, 319-337-4058,

he word “mushroom” often elicits a rather standard image to the average consumer’s mind: a circular, white, umbrella-like capped fungi with a stubby trunk. However, businesses in the Iowa CityCedar Rapids corridor aim to expand consumer knowledge about and access to mushrooms through introducing locally grown, gourmet mushrooms to markets. Iowa City-based grower Michael Mahoney’s passion for growing mushrooms began as a side hobby about 10 years ago. In 2012, he attempted to turn this fun aside into a business. Though this original project was unsuccessful, Mahoney took some time to learn from a farmer in Columbus Junction and later converted his garage into a climate-controlled facility ideal for growing mushrooms. Mahoney officially established his LLC, Rot’s Bounty, in 2019 with the help of a close friend. He then began selling to local customers while receiving assistance for deliveries from his 6-yearold daughter, Sadie. Later on, restaurants including Bread Garden Market, Marquee Pizzeria and Bluebird Diner also began purchasing his products, expanding his business. “It was quite overwhelming at first, having to balance all the different aspects of cultivating on a schedule to meet demand with the pressures of finding new customers,” Mahoney said. “Fortunately, local business owners were very receptive and encouraging and really wanted to help.” Mushrooms start as spores, tiny cells that can reproduce without sexual interaction. In the mushroom industry, these spores

generally form with a culture on a Petri dish. Gourmet mushroom growers like Mahoney typically use materials like grain, wood chips or liquids to begin germinating the spores by transferring the mycelium onto one of these substrates. Once the mycelium propagates onto the substance of choice, the grower then transfers them onto another sterilized, supplemented growing medium like sawdust or hardwood. From there, the mycelium that grew through the medium is exposed to air, which causes the fungi to transition from the vegetative stage to the fruiting stage. Cedar Rapidsbased company Midwest Mushrooms launched recently as well. Co-owner James Patton first got involved with mushroom growing two years ago due to his background in microbiology. He had heard from a friend that their uncles were trying to start a mushroom growing business and became intrigued. “I just kind of showed up at their shop just to nerd out, and that was basically my introduction,” Patton said. “We grew from what was basically us tinkering in a tent to a fullsize facility capable of 600 pounds a week.” The company began selling in January 2019. Its mushrooms have been purchased by local restaurants, colleges, grocery stores and retirement homes. Patton credits his business’s success thus far to the quantity and quality of the products they’re putting out. “We wanted to make sure we

Certain varieties, such as oyster mushrooms, are fragile and have the potential to be ruined in the transition from the original growing facility to consumers., $$

Graduate Hotel’s retro-styled restaurant and bar pays homage to Iowa alum Gene Wilder and his most prolific decade— the 1970s. Frozen and batch cocktails as well as 40-ounce wines mingle with more classic food options (think wings, burgers, salads) in this time capsule of a restaurant. George’s Buffet 312 E Market St, Iowa City, 319-351-9614, $

A favorite with the locals, this small Northside neighborhood watering hole has some of the best cheeseburgers around. Order from the bar’s selection of whiskey served with a beer, get a pitcher for the table, or knock back a bottle or two of brew. Voted Best Late Night Food and Best Home Away From Home in Little Village’s 2019 Best of the CRANDIC awards. Get Fresh 1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-383-5449, $ 109 Iowa Ave, Iowa City, $, 319-519-9022

You can’t beat freshness, and this place delivers just that! Get Fresh offers an impressive and healthy selection of beverages including daily squeezed juices, juice blends and cleanses, smoothies and more. Gianna’s Italian Beef 375 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-200-2994,, $

Classic Italian beef sandwiches, Chicago-style hot dogs, shoestring fries—even Italian ice, available seasonally—are reminiscent of Chicago stalwarts. Expect a minimal menu, but trust that everything is satisfying. Glyn Mawr Winery 103 1st St W, Mount Vernon, 319-895-8790,, $$

The industrial chic look of this tasting room makes for a cool setting at which to imbibe. Sip and sample locally made wine from Glyn Mawr, Iowa craft beers BREAD & BUTTER 2020


Oyster mushrooms growing at Rot’s Bounty. ZAK NEUMANN

were consistent with our product before we ever started selling to customers on a regular basis,” he said. “Now we’re able to do a volume that I don’t think other places can match. It’s consistently better looking because it’s not only fresher, but we also make sure to only sell the best to customers.” Granted, the roads to success for both companies have not been without difficulties. Because mushrooms need specific growing conditions to yield the best results, it took some time to perfect their respective products. Mahoney experienced challenges in reconciling mushrooms’ needs for a cool environment and continuous fresh air with temperature changes throughout the year. “There were definitely a lot of changes that I needed to make both to the air conditioning and ventilation systems for the grow room, he said. Midwest Mushrooms also found that they needed to improve growing conditions, as well as planters that the mushrooms were grown in. Factors like humidity, fresh air, consistent temperatures were all considered in the “balancing act” as Patton attempted to perfect products and “basically replicate Seattle weather.” “It was a year of trial and error and just doing as much research as I possibly could,” 44


Patton said. “A lot of [online resources] get people halfway. Then there’s a lot of minutiae that the grower has to figure out on their own, which is part of the reason why it took us a year before we felt ready to start selling to customers.”

while locally sourced mushrooms are often sold at a higher price point, the end products are superior to cheaper mushrooms from out of state. This is due to mass production practices used at these farms involving more external chemicals and a lower focus on quality, which Mahoney says “doesn’t have the degree of quality control that I’m able to give to the process.” Furthermore, certain varieties, such as oyster mushrooms, are fragile and have the potential to be ruined in the transition from the original growing facility to consumers. The shorter the delivery distance, the better preserved the product will likely be. “Most of my clients live within a mile or two of where the mushrooms are grown,” Mahoney said. “Oyster mushrooms, in particular, do not handle shipping very well, so I’m able to deliver a very fresh product straight to a restaurant or a grocery store that has normally been harvested on the same day as it is put before a customer.” Though button mushrooms are currently

“Mushroom growing is definitely not easy ... However, it is definitely a very rewarding and creative process.” Both Rot’s Bounty and Midwest Mushrooms have indoor facilities, meaning that they can grow year-round. Rot’s Bounty sells king oyster and lion’s mane mushrooms and chestnut and shiitake on demand, while Midwest Mushrooms primarily cultivates oyster, shiitake, lion’s mane, king trumpet and chestnut mushrooms, among others. Midwest Mushrooms also sells bags ready to fruit, meaning that if individuals wanted to grow their own mushrooms, they can put a slit in the bag and have “home-grown” mushrooms in a week or two. Mahoney and Patton both believe that,


and kombucha. All wines are made with Iowa grapes; select from a glass, bottle or wine cocktail. The winery offers snacks, but if you need something heartier, order food from a nearby restaurant. Golden Delight Bakery 2289 Johnson Washington Rd, Kalona, 319-646-3030, $

So much more than just a bakery, this gaslit bakery-in-a-house is run by an Amish family in Kalona. The glazed donuts are something straight out of your dreams, but the cinnamon bread and cheesy garlic loaf are equally good. You can also find locally made quilts, preserves, handmade rocking chairs and grandfather clocks. Goldfinch Tap + Eatery 740 10th St, Marion, 319-826-2047,, $$$

The scratch kitchen at this small yet stylish restaurant churns out high-end pub fare. Highlights include: spicy beef tartare, seared smoked salmon, burgers topped with prosciutto, and housemade carrot cavatelli with slow-cooked eggplant. If you’re thirsty, go for one of the inventive cocktails; the Big Easy Punch blends light and dark rums with an absinthe float. Good Vibes 121 W Main St, Solon, 319-624-8423,, $

Sisters Kari Haugse and Krystal Nielsen opened Solon’s only coffee shop, serving coffee drinks and sandwiches in a comfortable, homey setting. Goosetown Cafe 203 N Linn St, Iowa City, 319-351-1924,, $$

This Northside Iowa City eatery has an all-day breakfast menu, grain bowls you actually want to eat, kick-ass French fries and well-crafted cocktails. Voted Best Place for a Business Lunch in Little Village’s 2019 Best of the CRANDIC awards. Greyhound Deli 450 5th Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-261-7323, $$

Focusing on locally sourced, made-fromscratch food, this little eatery located inside the Cedar Rapids Public Library prepares sandwiches, soups and salads made with the finest ingredients, and vegan and vegetarian options are part of their regular menu. Greyhound also offers an exciting catering menu featuring boxed lunches, hors d’oeuvres, sliders and more.




Groundswell Cafe 201 3rd Ave SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-200-2791,, $

Here, your cooked-to-order omelet or cranberry walnut salad comes with a feelgood perk. That’s because Groundswell uses sustainable and organic ingredients from Cultivate Hope Urban Farm, where children get a chance to learn about growing food and healthy eating, plus the cafe’s servers donate 100 percent of their tips to a fund that provides meals for the less fortunate. Gumby’s Pizza 702 S Gilbert St, Iowa City, 319-354-8629,, $

Gumby’s is here for you and your latenight cravings. They’ve got everything from wings to subs to pizza. If you haven’t tried their cheesy garlic bread sticks, a.k.a. Pokey Stix, you are missing out. They deliver their affordable food until 2 a.m. or later. Grin N Goose 227 2nd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids,, $$

This CR spot boasts a casual atmosphere, good sandwiches and onion rings, as well as an express lunch option for downtown office workers on a time schedule. Hacienda las Glorias 4317 Center Point Rd NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-294-0082,, $$ 715 1st Ave SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-363-7344,, $$

A stalwart in the Cedar Rapids food scene,

Midwest Mushrooms. ZAK NEUMANN

Hacienda offers Tex-Mex and authentic Mexican dishes and an extensive margarita menu with a rotating seasonal feature. Bonus fun fact: the building Hacienda inhabits is rumored to be haunted! Halal Foods 1806 Boyrum St, Iowa City, 319-499-1920, $

This certified halal grocery store stocks canned foods and groceries as well as halal meats on Iowa City’s south side. Hale Tap and Supper Club 5522 County Rd E45, Hale, 563-488-2596, $

This classic roadside supper club serves tenderloins the size of your face, prime rib and all-you-can-eat walleye.



the most commonly sold mushroom in the United States, Patton says locally grown toadstools are richer in nutrients, not as bland in flavor and less “styrofoam-y” than namebrand button mushrooms. “Regular button mushrooms all grow on compost, which then introduces another safety concern,” he added. “It’s just a wide variety of vitamins and proteins in wood-loving varieties versus a relatively kind of empty button mushroom.” Because the mushroom market is currently not very large in the Midwest, Mahoney and Patton both believe that there is potential to expand their respective businesses in the future. The North American mushroom market size is expected to grow over the next few years as demand for fresher foods

rises, according to Fortune Business Insights. Midwest Mushrooms solely distributes to Cedar Rapids, and would like to extend their sphere to Iowa City. However, they are in no rush to grow rapidly. Patton says, “We’re looking to branch out, but at this point, we haven’t had to. Eventually, we’d like to get onto more store shelves as well as other institutions, but right now, we’re just trying to match our growth in a sustainable way.” Rot’s Bounty, meanwhile, hopes to expand to a larger grow room and hire more employees soon. He encourages consumers to purchase their mushrooms from local businesses like his own, noting he’s able to help support his family from mushroom sales. “Mushroom growing is definitely not easy,” Mahoney said. “Anyone that tries to sell it as such is usually trying to sell you on something or the other. However, it is definitely a very rewarding and creative process.”




his is one of those perennial questions— like “which came first, the chicken or the egg?”—that has a simple answer. The name of the fruit came before the name of the color. An English inventory from 1387 lists “orenges & other fryt,” while the earliest written reference in the language to orange as a color—no fruit attached— doesn’t come until the will of someone named Hugo Cater (or Coter), dated Sept. 9, 1512, which refers to cloth of “Orenge colour.” Before the color name became common in English, orange-colored things were awkwardly, though accurately, described with some combination of the words for yellow and red. The fruit’s name originally had nothing to do with color. It referred to the smell of orange blossoms. The name has been traced back to a Sanskrit word meaning “fragrant.” From there, it’s a complicated etymological trek through Persian, Arabic, possibly Portuguese, an Italian dialect (which one isn’t clear), before the Middle French “orenge,” an abbreviated form of the Old French “pomme d’orenge,” crosses the English Channel. As for the chicken and the egg, it’s the egg. Birds evolved from reptiles. Reptiles lay eggs. So the first proto-chicken crawled out of an egg.



Hamburg Inn No. 2

Her Soup Kitchen


214 N Linn St, Iowa City,

625 S Dubuque St, Iowa City,

201 S Clinton St, Iowa City,

319-337-5512,, $


319-530-0319, $

Hamburg Inn has been an Iowa, $$

Named for the Taiwanese word

City staple since 1948. They

The sandwiches are outstand-

for delicious, this new spot in

specialize in breakfast, but you

ing, the salads are littered with

Iowa City’s Old Capitol Town

haven’t really eaten there until

delicious nuggets and treats

Center offers a mix of Taiwanese

you’ve tried one of their famous

that make consuming your leafy

rice dishes, Vietnamese curry

pie shakes. Keep an eye out for

greens a joy and the housemade

dishes and pho.

a new location opening on Coral

soup is entirely comforting on a

Ridge Avenue (with alcoholic

cold wintry day. One of the high-

Hudson’s Southside Tap

beverages!), a Hamburg Inn food

lights of this family-owned and

482 Hwy 1 W, Iowa City,

truck and the possible reopen-

-operated restaurant is the end-

319-499-1058,, $$

ing of Hamburg Inn’s Rochester

less pitchers filled with cucumber

A favorite stop off Highway 1,

Avenue restaurant.

water. It’s like a trip to the spa!

Hudson’s boasts 40 beers on

Happy Dogs Food and More

Heyn’s Ice Cream

making it the perfect place for a

2201 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids,

25 Cherry St, North Liberty,

quick drink or a bite to eat after



work. Expect a menu of beef, $$

811 S 1st Ave, Iowa City, 319-354-1981,

and blackbean burger options

Happy Dogs (formerly Bigg, $

comparable to those at Short’s

Daddy’s Dogs) now offers

Take a detour and visit Heyn’s

and Stella.

burgers, wings, brisket, gyros

for homemade ice cream in clas-

and more at its new 16th Avenue

sic and surprising flavors. They

Hurts Donut Company

SW location. Plus, if you are not

offer premium ice cream in glu-

1301 5th St #105, Coralville,

feeling like leaving the com-

ten-free, vegan, and dairy-free

319-499-1647,, $$

fort of your home, they deliver

flavors. Voted Best Cold Treat in

Hurts Donut Company is a chain

anywhere in Cedar Rapids,

Little Village’s 2019 Best of the

of gourmet donut shops open

Hiawatha and Marion.

CRANDIC awards.

“25 hours a day and 8 days a

Happy Joe’s Pizza

High Ground Cafe

the flavors are worth the wait.

102 2nd Ave, Coralville, 319-351-6900

301 E Market St, Iowa City,

Hurts offers between 60-70

5070 Lindale Dr, Cedar Rapids,


donut options throughout the


925 E 2nd Ave, Coralville,

week, from S’mores and Apple

3315 Williams Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids,


Pie to the Cereal Killer and

319-396-0626,, $$

1150 5th St #130, Coralville,

Cookie Monster. Try the Hurts

Serving the area since 1974,

319-519-6213,, $

Dozen, which includes 12 staff-

Happy Joe’s is known for being

Enjoy pour-over coffee, an

picked donuts for $12.

kid-friendly and inventing the

espresso drink or a hot cup of

taco pizza. Consider this pizze-

tea at this popular downtown

India Cafe

ria for your next event: a party

study space, or visit one of

227 E Washington St, Iowa City,

room is available at the Lindale

the two Coralville locations.


Drive location in Cedar Rapids.

All shops offer similar coffee,

50 W Burlington Ave, Fairfield,

Delivery is available at all Happy

espresso and tea menus as well

641-472-1792,, $$

Joe’s locations.

as salads, panini, wine and beer.

A popular lunch buffet with a

Haveli Indian

Hilltop Tavern

opens up for dinner in the

943 25th Ave, Coralville,

1100 N Dodge St, Iowa City,

evenings after closing in the



mid-afternoon. Order off the, $$, $$

menu to be able to choose your

Authentic Indian cuisine is in

A Northside Iowa City neighbor-

spice level—if you love the heat,

abundance at Haveli, which

hood classic since 1933, the Hill-

go as spicy as possible for full

offers a staggering 100-plus

top is a great place to watch the


menu choices. Anything is

Hawks, eat something fried or

good here, but the traditional

saunter into any day of the week

Iowa Brewing Company

thali meal provides a sample of

that you don’t feel like cooking.

708 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids,

classic dishes. Enjoy the Bolly-

You’ll find all your Midwestern

319-366-2337,, $

wood music videos playing on

comfort food like reubens, corn

This small Cedar Rapids brewery

loop as you consume far too

dogs, patty melts and breaded

boasts a staggering 18 house-

many pakora.

tenderloins. Check their website

brewed beers on tap, in addition

for the monthly lunch specials,

to plenty of guest taps. Check

which usually sell out.

out their events calendar for a

tap and a whiskey list to match,

week.” Lines may be long but

good variety, India Cafe also


nice roundup of trivia nights,

lighter experience, J&A Tap has

specials, live music and ping-

sand volleyball, live music and a

pong tournaments.

down-to-earth atmosphere for hanging out with a drink.

Iowa Chop House 223 E Washington St, Iowa City,

Jalapeño Mexican Restaurant


40 Sugar Creek Lane, North Liberty,, $$

319-853-0006, $$

This restaurant proudly empha-

Blink and you might miss this

sizes steaks and chops, which

modest restaurant, but inside

can be spiced up with bold fla-

you’ll find a warm and lively

vors such as blue cheese crust,

place serving some of the best

béarnaise sauce or bacon butter.

Tex-Mex around. First things

What really sets this place apart

first: order the mango chile mar-

is their vast, interesting and

garita. Then dive into the menu

thoughtful line-up of local and

of fajitas (five styles), tortas,

regional craft beers that you can

chimis and quesadillas.

learn about at their interactive, self-serve beer barn.

Java House 211 1/2 E Washington St, Iowa City,

Iowa City Yacht Club


13 S Linn St, Iowa City, 319-337-6464,

713 Mormon Trek Blvd, Iowa City,, $


This club features live music

1575 1st Ave S, Iowa City,

and drink specials and a classic


bar food in an historic building

555 Hwy 965, Ste A, North Liberty,

in downtown Iowa City. The

319-371-3100,, $

basement venue features tour-

Java House has everything a

ing and local shows and some

good coffee shop should have:

form of entertainment every

a cozy, warm ambience, fresh-

Monday-Saturday evening.

brewed coffee and a commitment to promoting community.

Iowa River Power Company

Stop by their Washington Street


location on Fridays at 2 p.m. to

501 1st Ave, Coralville, 319-351-1904,

watch a live Iowa Public Radio, $$$

show, or any other day of the

This Iowa City favorite has been

week to work on papers, catch

around for over 35 years, offer-

up with friends or relax with a

ing exquisite American cuisine

good book. If the downtown

and exceptional service with a

space is too packed for your

fantastic view of the Iowa River.

taste, check out their other

They combine the comfort of a

spots for a less busy but equally

welcoming, relaxed environment

charming Java House experi-

with the excellence of a fine

ence. Voted Best Coffeehouse

dining experience. Their brunch

in Little Village’s 2019 Best of

is to die for, and while their

the CRANDIC awards.

menu is pricey, the on-the-house mimosas more than make up for

Jefferson County Cider

it. This is a popular destination

1839 200th St, Fairfield,

for visitors and locals alike, so

641-451-4323, jeffersoncountycider, $

be sure to make a reservation

This Fairfield-based cidery is

for your weekend dinner at IRP!

a seasonal operation, but their

Experience the downhome bites in a retro setting at Gene’s inside Graduate Iowa City. Present this ad on your next visit and recieve a complimentar y chips and queso with your $20 purchase.* *Can’t be combined with any other offer or special. Limit one per visit per group. Valid until 12/31/2020.

Graduate Iowa City • 210 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, IA

CREATING Join Little Village with your business or nonprofit to access our reach of 700k+ in the Iowa City/ Cedar Rapids Area?

inventive and refreshingly dry J&A Tap

cider is on tap at many local

440 N Dubuque St, North Liberty,

establishments year-round. Plan

319-626-3033,, $

a visit in the warmer months

If you’re up for a challenge, try

when the food truck camps

the Big John—a $25 two-pound

out on the cidery lawn and live

burger served with a pound and

music is scheduled. If you’re

a half of tater tots. If you can

not up for the drive, pick up the

eat it in under 30 minutes, it’s

brand’s canned cider at your

free! But if you’re looking for a

local grocer.

319-855-1474 BREAD & BUTTER 2020


Prairie Kitchen Companion A passion for cooking, entertaining and all things kitchen is the driving force behind a new retail venture in Iowa City’s Northside Marketplace.



earing retirement from her position in the University of Iowa’s Tippie College of Business, Susan Felker was hungry for more creativity and deeper engagement in her life. She and her family, husband Kevin and son Alex, began fantasizing about what their next endeavor might look like. This next chapter, as it turns out, circled back to a shared family passion. “The love of cooking and all things kitchen; we’ve always had that in our family,” Susan said. “We talked about that as we were thinking about businesses and what Iowa City was missing and what we would love doing. We love being in the kitchen, it’s where we end up all the time.” Together as a family, they decided to pursue the idea of a community hub centered around food and the connection it fosters. “We wanted something we could all work on together and that we were all passionate about. We looked at several different ideas but we settled on the kitchen store,” Alex chimed in. “I love entertaining and having people around,” explained Susan as we stood in the construction zone of their new store, months before its planned debut. “The idea was, ‘How could we make that a business?’ ‘How can you be in your kitchen, have fun with your friends and family, cook, entertain and have that be your business?’ This idea really fit the bill.” 50


Susan and Kevin Felker welcomed shoppers during their preview pop-up shopping event in February 2020. FRANKIE SCHNECKLOTH

With Susan and Kevin’s business backgrounds (Kevin is a professor at Tippie’s Department of Business Analytics) and Alex’s experience in marketing and strategy, the family was keenly aware of what it would take to create a viable venture. They embarked on an extensive investigation to make sure the business side was sound. “It can’t just be fun; it has to be successful. We felt good about it,” Susan said. “You can never be 100 percent sure, but if you’re 90 percent sure and 10 percent terrified, you’re good. That’s where we’re at right now,” she laughs. Now, after nearly two years of scheming, the new retail outlet and demo kitchen, named Prairie Kitchen Store, is set to open in mid-2020. In February, Kevin guided me through the remodeled space that was previously the Motley Cow Cafe, pointing out areas for product display and plans for the former bar. The store will feature all

manner of kitchenware, from table ceramics to high-quality knives, linens to pots and pans. Soon, a wall of kitchen tools––think can openers, serving spoons and spatulas––will flank what used to be the restaurant’s dining room, and a cozy nook dubbed “The Dram Shop” will be stocked with glassware, bitters and other mixology musts. Where other kitchen supplies stores seek to provide shoppers a plethora of options for any given item, the team at Prairie Kitchen Store views the product mix they plan to offer as an exercise in restraint and curation. “If someone wants the best cheese grater, we want to have the best cheese grater. We don’t need 15 cheese graters. You need some choice, but you want just the best few types you can get,” Susan explained. The Felkers feel that too often, kitchen goods are plasticky gadgets that can quickly lead to a cluttered kitchen. To offset that tendency, the products for sale at PKS will


Jim’s Rib Haven 531 24th St, Rock Island, IL, 319-736-8084, $$

Come for the ribs—duh! Stay for the mac ‘n’ cheese. This hole-in-the-wall Quad Cities institution has been in business since 1967. Don’t miss it! Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack 1940 Lower Muscatine Rd, Iowa City, 319-354-7427 745 Community Dr, North Liberty, ZAK NEUMANN

319-665-2486,, $$

Jimmy Jack’s offers a selection of classic, delicious barbecue offerings. With tender smoked meats, addictive honey butter cornbread and house-made barbecue sauces, this casual, family-style restaurant offers the perfect place to sit and enjoy a taste of the South with a bottle of beer or one of their craft sodas. Joe’s Place 115 Iowa Ave, Iowa City, 319-351-5897,, $


Never a cover and 21+ only, Joe’s Place is a grown-up playground in the heart ZAK NEUMANN

of downtown Iowa City. It’s chock full of

Prairie Kitchen Store, located on Linn Street in Iowa City, will carry kitchenware, spices, tonics, teas and tools

pool tables, dart boards, foosball and more than 20 TVs on which to watch the Hawks play. In 2017, it became the first downtown Iowa City bar to offer a rooftop patio. (Don’t worry, there are TVs up there, too.) There’s also a window

be chosen based on a few guiding principles, which they hope will set their store apart from others in the market. Choosing items that are not only durable, but useful and beautifully designed, is of the utmost importance. Shoppers can expect to find trusted big-name brands like All-Clad and Wusthof alongside smaller artisan lines sourced both locally and across the country. Beyond just creating a retail haven for local foodies, the Felkers hope the educational component of their business will flourish, and plan to lead regular sessions in their kitchen-turned-classroom. The open kitchen of the former restaurant has morphed into a demo kitchen with unobstructed views of the action from a close distance. As they conducted their market research, the Felkers repeatedly heard requests for classes instructing participants on how to prepare healthy, weeknight dinners for families and skill-building exercises. “We’ve found listening to the community is pretty important,” Susan said. “You don’t want to set up your schedule like, ‘This is what we think is great.’ Most of our ideas will be spot-on, but you need to leave room to go in the direction of what customers want and need.”

They plan to deliver on these requests, offering weekly sessions ranging from noodle bowls to sheet pan dinners and more. Basic technique classes, like a knife skills course, are also part of the planned curriculum. And while the Felkers all fancy themselves avid home cooks, the classes will mostly be instructed by a handful of outside teachers. “It’s a mix of people who are just members of the community and are passionate about cooking and have something really good that they want to share, but also professional chefs,” Alex said. As for the former bar? It’s been envisioned as a small coffee bar that will serve caffeinated drinks and treats baked in-house, as well as craft beer and wine. Intended to transform what would otherwise be a standard retail experience into something more, the Felkers hope it adds something of a destination element to the space. The outdoor sidewalk patio further encourages this idea, inviting patrons to linger over a glass of wine or a cup of coffee as they soak up the sights and sounds of the neighborhood. “We hope it’s a place people want to be. That it’s more than just buying product and leaving,” Susan mused. “We’ll see what it morphs into.”

by the bar where hungry patrons can order a pizza. John’s Grocery 401 E Market St, Iowa City, 319-337-2183,, $

This Iowa City staple since 1948 continues to have a large variety of beer, wine and spirits from all over the world. John’s is committed to providing local options by offering things like: Bluebird coffee, sushi from Formosa, Oasis hummus, Dumpling Darling and more. John’s deli produces fresh bread, breakfast sandwiches and pastries every morning and offers daily lunch specials and fresh soups, all alongside their famous fried chicken. John’s Grocery is a must-visit for those on the Northside looking for daily essentials or a quick bite to eat. Jon’s Ice Cream Store and Restaurant 231 W Marengo Rd, Tiffin, 319-545-2558,, $

Tiffin may be fast growing, but it’s managed to maintain its small-town Iowa charm thanks in part to community stalwarts like Jon’s. The seasonal ice cream shop and diner—known for serving both BREAD & BUTTER 2020



hard and soft ice creams, and

Kae Apothecary

“Heavenly beers, brewed by

treats to satisfy any sweet tooth.

a killer breaded pork tender-

100 1st St W SW, Mt Vernon,

mere mortals,” including Kalona

Look for a Marion location with

loin—has been the beating

319-800-9288,, $

Classic Light Lager and Sucha

additional menu items coming

heart of Tiffin for more than 35

This holistic wellness shop offers

Much IPA, are also exported out


years. Jon’s walk-up window,

unique and carefully-crafted

of the historically Amish area to

dining room and drive-through

loose tea blends that can help

taps and shelves across eastern

Konomi Restaurant

are bustling all summer long

calm and soothe or boost and

and central Iowa.

843 Quarry Rd, Coralville,

as everyone from softball


319-351-2880,, $$

players to sweet-toothed

As one of the area’s best sushi Kalona Creamery

restaurants, Konomi will not

Featured listing

2206 540th St SW, Kalona,

disappoint when you on our trip

Kalona Brewing Company

319-656-4220,, $

to the Iowa River Landing loca-

Joseph’s Steakhouse

405 B Ave, Kalona, 319-656-3335,

A visit to Kalona Creamery

tion to try their stellar rolls and

212 S Clinton St, Iowa City,

(located in the former Kalo-

Teppanyaki-style cuisine.

seniors gather to enjoy a cone or Clipper Whipper.


na Cheese Factory) involves


numerous local treats from

Kool Moo

A place equally appropri-

cheese curds to specialty meats

1020 Old Marion Rd NE,

ate for special celebrations

to pastries. Dine in at the deli for

Cedar Rapids, 319-393-5576, $

or a Tuesday night dinner

a high-quality sandwich, soup

This sweet blast from the past

at the comfort of the dark

or salad.

is only open during the summer,

bar, Joseph’s offers a classic

serving ice cream and frozen

steakhouse menu filled with

Kathy’s Pies

seafood, steak and abundant

616 5th Ave SE, Cedar Rapids,

yogurt at a reasonable price.


Korean BBQ

something a bit lighter can

Hidden in the idyllic city of Ka-

945 6th Ave, Marion, 319-310-5509,

624 S Gilbert St, Iowa City,

rest easy knowing the menu

lona, this destination craft brew-, $

319-351-7000, $$$

also boasts small plates, sand-

ery and sophisticated scratch

This long-standing bakery in Ce-

A bridge over a koi pond guides

wiches and burgers.

kitchen restaurant focuses on

dar Rapids is regularly stocked

you into the restaurant, where

natural, local ingredients. Their

with an extensive selection of

the tastes of Korea come alive.

side dishes. Those looking for




Sit at one of their barbecue

La Rana Bistro

La Wine Bar and Restaurant

and more. After your meal, stick

tables and get the bulgogi, mari-

120 Washington St, Decorah,

180 E Burlington St, Iowa City,

around for a karaoke session.

nated beef grilled at your table.

563-382-3067, $$$

319-774-8541, la-wine-bar-restaurant.

The new American cuisine at, $$

Le Gourmet

La Bendicion Pupuseria

this family-owned bistro is not

La Wine Bar satisfies all of your

201 S Clinton St, Iowa City,

y Restaurant

to be missed. The intimate and

late-night Korean food crav-

319-471-0959, $

89 2nd St, Ste 2, Coralville,

cozy atmosphere is welcoming,

ings—from hot pots and Korean

Soboro bread, green tea sticks,

319-569-1091, $$

and the variety of specialty dish-

fried chicken to tuna kimbap.

red bean buns and cream buns

For less than 10 bucks, you can

es are to die for. Great cocktails

The Asian-style bar also serves

are just a few of the delicious

try a variety of Salvadoran pu-

and an extensive wine and beer

bubble tea, iced and hot fruit

Asian pastries offered at Le

pusas (a thick, doughy flatbread

selection make La Rana perfect

tea and alcoholic beverages,

Gourmet. They are the only

stuffed with yummy ingredients)

for a dinner out.

plus they offer live music, kara-

Korean restaurant in Iowa City

oke and an array of Asian board

to offer Asian pastries, and with

games to play.

their convenient Old Capitol

at this unassuming little spot. The cheese and pork pupusa is

La Regia Taqueria

a fan favorite, but don’t miss the

436 Hwy 1, Iowa City, 319-341-8226,

cheese and carrot or the cheese, $$

Lark and Owl

hassle for Iowa City locals and

and jalapeño. An order of fried

La Regia is Iowa City’s choice

221 S Gilbert St, Iowa City, 319-351-

students to grab one on their

plantains makes for a sweet

for traditional Mexican cuisine.

2836, $$

way to or from work or class.

ending to your meal.

The staff is efficient and friendly

An authentic Chinese breakfast

Town Center location, it is no

as they serve up tacos, tortas

might consist of fried dough

Leaf Kitchen

La Quercia

and a variety of vegetarian

and pickles or leek dumplings

301 1/2 Kirkwood Ave, Iowa City,

400 Hakes Dr, Norwalk, 515-981-1625,

options. For five straight years,

and a tea egg. At Lark and

319-338-1909,, $$, $

La Regia has been named the

Owl, you can try both, or go

Leaf Kitchen serves breakfast,

Served and revered throughout

best Mexican restaurant in

for a sausage-and-egg Chinese

lunch, brunch and gourmet tea.

the country, La Quercia makes

Johnson County. Voted Best

crepe. As the restaurant’s name

With unforgettable decor and an

delectable artisan cured meats

Latin/South American Cuisine

suggests, dinner is served

array of delicious options, Leaf

that would make an Italian weep

in Little Village’s 2019 Best of

here, too: barbecue skewers,

Kitchen serves up an unforgettable

with joy.

the CRANDIC awards.

braised chicken, cold noodles

meal. The Granola Pancakes are a stack of perfection on a plate.






RETURN TO ROOTS After years in the upper echelon of the culinary world, Sam and Riene Gelman are creating a space all their own in Iowa City. BY EMMA MCCLATCHEY


f you’re hoping to have a career in the restaurant industry, you better be open to change, says Sam Gelman. His own career has taken him from unpaid kitchen jobs in Iowa City to overseeing two of the most anticipated North American restaurant openings of the 21st century. Though he’s been near the top of the culinary industry for 12 years, Sam, his wife Riene and their son Charlie recently relocated from the Big Apple to Iowa City, where Sam was born and raised—and where they hope to dig into their next restaurant venture. Sam Gelman knew he wanted to be a professional chef since he was a student at Iowa City West High; he grew up drooling over meals on the PBS cooking show Great Chefs. To gain industry experience, he took a job at Givanni’s in downtown Iowa City—unpaid at first, until he proved himself—but a kitchen fire caused the restaurant to close temporarily, and he sought work elsewhere. Sam put in time with a catering company, and was hired by the University of Iowa to cook in the main kitchen and bakery of the State Room, a former Iowa Memorial Union restaurant. “I think the State Room is what I enjoyed the most,” he said. “I worked lunches a couple days a week, but actually being in a restaurant kitchen and cooking there—it was pretty cool.” He was accepted to the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, New York, and 54


Porchetta with apple, Brussels sprouts and polenta from Sam Gelman’s pop-up dinner in February. FRANKIE SCHNECKLOTH

after graduating, took a fateful job at Clio, an acclaimed Asian restaurant in Boston, Massachusetts, which Sam said was “firing on all cylinders at the time” under the direction of Chef Ken Oringer. Riene was working in the front of the house at Clio. Unlike Sam, Riene, who grew up in Tuscon, Arizona and studied sociology at the University of Arizona, wasn’t looking for a career in restaurants when she moved to Boston. “I kind of just fell into the industry the way I think everybody [does] who doesn’t find their passion early on,” she said. “Clio is where I really fell in love with it, where I saw the beauty and the potential of all this industry has to offer.” She honed her food and wine expertise as a Clio server, and developed a friendship with Sam and other kitchen staff while chatting and catching drinks after their 10-plus-hour shifts—“how many relationships in this industry start,” Riene said. With other restaurant workers, “there’s an understanding and respect [for the fact that] it’s not a 9-to-5 job where you’re home every night.”

Sam and Riene hit it off. But after two and a half years at Clio, he decided to move on. “It’s highly competitive in the kitchen,” Sam said. “Later on, it becomes a different kind of challenge: It may not be about the challenge of trying to get to the next station, but get to the next step in your career.” He took this next step by moving to New York City with his friend Greg, settling into a small apartment in Astoria with around $1,000 in his account and no furniture. He worked at Geoffrey Zakarian’s restaurant Country for a bit, then an Italian joint called Fresco by Scotto. He reconnected with Riene on a visit to Boston. “The romance was flourishing again, I guess,” Riene said. “Greg was like, ‘Just move in!’ So I did. I came to New York with more stuff than he did but a lot less money and no job.” Riene began her own hustle, working 80hour weeks at 11 Madison Park for a time, then “moving up the ranks” at Craft, a highend farm-to-table restaurant from Chef Tom Colicchio. She felt a spark there—the job




Leonardo’s 2228 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-364-5537,, $$

Step into the time machine and go back to the ’60s at this retro restaurant with red and black leather walls and antique jukeboxes decorating every booth—a classic destination in Cedar Rapids for over 60 years. Pizza is the star in their extensive menu but other offerings like burgers and sandwiches never disappoint. Open until midnight during the weekends and 11 p.m any other day of the week, Leonardo’s is the perfect stop SAM & RIENE GELMAN

for a late night bite. The Lift 180 Main St, Dubuque, 563-584-9712, $

Hidden away on Lower Main, this well-curated live music venue and basement bar has a great selection of craft and domestic beer in a TV-free environment. Lighthouse Inn Supper Club 6905 Mount Vernon Rd SE, Cedar Rapids,

“For me, dining out is not about eating the weirdest thing that you can but finding new things you enjoy, or a product that is really, really awesome.” —Sam Gelman

319-362-3467,, $$

The third oldest restaurant in Iowa, this supper club serves traditional American entrees in an old-fashioned environment. Built in 1912, the Lighthouse has a storied past. Rumored to be a place for Chicago mobsters to “beat the heat” during Prohibition, as well as a favorite spot of infamous guests such as Al Capone and John Dillinger, Lighthouse Inn is a go-to for a dose of history with your meal. Lincoln Wine Bar 125 1st St W, Mount Vernon, 319-895-9463,, $$$

A Mount Vernon favorite, Lincoln Wine Bar is a long-running wood-fired pizza joint that delivers some of the area’s best wood-fired pies, a selection of tinned fish and, of course, wine and beer. Lion Bridge Brewing Company 59 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-200-4460,, $$

Their award-winning creative brews and inspired food (please, don’t skip the dessert!) in a modern industrial space are perfect for groups large or small. Little Bohemia Tavern 1317 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-366-6262, $

Better known to locals as Little Bo, this charming historic saloon is one of the oldest bars in Cedar Rapids. The rustic 56


satisfaction that insulates restaurant workers from burn-out. “There was a lot of extra staff education, wine tasting on a regular basis, having an opportunity to go to breweries or oyster farms and really engaging the staff with the day-today aspects of it,” Riene said of Craft. “You always felt good at the end of the day.” Meanwhile, in 2007, a 26-year-old Sam Gelman settled into his own niche. He met Chef David Chang while at Momofuku Ssäm Bar, then scored the job that put him on the international culinary map: helping to open Momofuku Ko in Manhattan as the sous-chef. Sam became a character in an in-depth New Yorker profile of Chang in 2008, as the Momofuku cohorts prepared to open Ko, a small-plate “Asian-accented American” restaurant that made seemingly simple but innovative dishes like crispy Brussels sprouts and Gua bao famous. The piece identifies Sam as an Iowan with a love of fishing, picky about spoons and aprons. Reporter Larissa MacFarquhar looked on as Chang, Sam and Peter Serpico refined the Ko menu: Gelman was suddenly overcome with the significance of the moment. He whooped and grabbed Chang in a big hug. ‘It’s the dream, dude!’ Chang cried. ‘The dream kitchen!’ ‘I love you, dude!’ Gelman yelled, still hugging. “It was super high-energy,” Sam recalled. “There was a lot going on, there was great momentum behind the company and behind

Dave Chang, and it was a really fun time to be there.” Chang is a veritable celebrity chef, known for his liberal use of obscenities, self-deprecation, open-minded attitude about a la carte and fast foods, and affinity for setting up his friends in new, highly anticipated restaurants. Sam worked with him directly for 12 years. “Dave always forced you to challenge yourself and to learn from mistakes and to try new things and think outside the box. Dave wanted you to push yourself and push your team constantly. It was gratifying,” Sam said. By 2010, Ko earned two Michelin stars, an honor it’s maintained for over a decade. Meals at Ko (around 20 small courses over four hours) run around $255, reservations only, but walk-in customers can enjoy a la carte items for less than $10. They also offer a three-daya-week lunch menu twice the cost of dinner. “A tasting menu restaurant with fine-dining, quality food in a tiny little space with backless chairs and 14 seats and an open kitchen—nobody had done that,” Sam said. “That was groundbreaking stuff at the time. And now you see it that all over the place.” “We were one of the few restaurant companies that was offering health insurance for employees,” he added. “That was something unheard of back in the late 2000s.” In 2013, Sam was tasked with opening and serving as executive chef of the Momofuku Toronto complex, containing three restaurants and a pastry outpost (Momofuku Milk Bar, famous for its Crack Pie). Sam’s work in

Toronto—including sourcing foods from local providers, hiring local Canadian staff and pioneering the “best restaurant in Toronto,” according to the Globe and Mail—earned him high praise. Now in his mid-30s, he and Riene moved back to New York City, where they raised their son. Sam served as vice president of operations for Fuku, Momofuku’s fast-casual fried chicken sandwich mini-chain. But with kindergarten fast approaching, the Gelmans decided it was time to move to Iowa, for the great schools, to be close to family and to embark on a project all their own. They plan to open a “modern American contemporary” restaurant in Iowa City— something innovative, but complementary

“There’s nothing better, for me, than watching kids grow up through the years in restaurants that you work at.” —Riene Gelman to local tastes. Sam said he hopes to utilize Iowa-raised proteins and vegetables while also tapping into the suppliers he trusted in the past for clams, shellfish and more exotic ingredients. “I think what we’re going to be doing is going to be, hopefully, different enough, but still approachable,” he said. “We want people to be comfortable. For me, dining out is not about eating the weirdest thing that you can but finding new things you enjoy, or a product that is really, really awesome. … We want to be different. We want to be unique.” While the name, concept and menu are still under wraps, Riene said their restaurant will be something they can believe in, offering great wine, food and community. “I think [a restaurant is] a safe haven, a place where you can have a drink with your girlfriend at the bar and cry about whatever is happening in your life. And a place where you can have family celebrations,” she said. “There’s nothing better, for me, than watching kids grow up through the years in restaurants that you work at.” While Michelin stars are not likely to rain upon an Iowa City restaurant (and the Gelmans will miss New York bagels, sushi and Korean barbecue), they said they’re excited to build a new life here. “I just would ask people to just be open in general, to embrace new things,” Sam said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to gain the trust of people who put their meal in our hands.” 58



decor and genuine Bohemian dishes like the


cooler temperatures with options for cocktail

goulash transport you to an old Czech town.

1611 32nd St NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-200-1002,

fountains and fondue., $

The Local Craft – Ale House

The food lineup at Loosies might be small,

Lu’s Deli

4001 Center Point Rd NE, Cedar Rapids,

as is the restaurant itself, but it’s mighty.

1010 3rd St, Cedar Rapids, 319-200-2221,

319-320-7644, $$

Everything here is made with care and packed, $

When you need a burger topped with mac

with flavor. Known for loose-meat sandwiches

Named in honor of owner Laurie Konecny’s

and cheese, head to The Local Craft. The

and loose-meat-topped hot dogs, this place

grandmother, this NewBo deli takes a simple

menu is stacked with foods perfect for pair-

also serves malts, shakes, root beer floats and

and unfussy approach to the humble sand-

ing with the restaurant’s rotating selection of

homemade pie.

wich. Using family recipes, Lu’s provides cus-

beers. You’ve got breaded pickles with ranch

tomers with homemade sandwiches, soups,

dressing, a prime rib hoagie with melted

Los Compadres

provolone, and towering burgers and platters

2825 6th St SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-826-1870,

of cheese curds., $$

Lucky Penny

Los Compadres promises unique flavors from

1705 Boyson Rd, Hiawatha, 319-200-4312,

The Local Crumb

traditional recipes. Don’t skip the tableside, $$

221 1st St NE, Mount Vernon, 319-535-0623,


Lucky Penny uses high-quality ingredients

salads and desserts.

throughout their classic menu of pizzas,, $

Located in the First Street Community

LP - Street Food

sandwiches and burgers, creating a casual,

Center, Local Crumb is a great place to buy

302 3rd Ave SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-364-4042,

comfortable atmosphere that’s right whatev-

artisan loaves of bread from a baker who is, $$

er the occasion.

passionate in the pursuit of his craft. The bri-

The menu here features street food favorites

oche! The bagels! The sourdough! Everything

like ramen, lettuce wraps, skewers and more.

Maestro Empanadas

is well worth the carbs. Available for pre-or-

A balanced wine and beer menu pairs nicely

423 10th Ave, Coralville, 319-621-7481,

der and pick-up in Iowa City on Wednesdays

with the internationally inspired food. Visit, $

and Thursdays in Cedar Rapids.

during the winter months and make a reser-

This counter service restaurant offers a

vation for one of their private heated “igloo”

delicious selection of made-from-scratch

dining spaces; a great way to embrace the

empanadas, soups and desserts.



half-portions of handmade pasta, soups, salads, sandwiches and Italian specialties 1 1 - 5 DA I LY 121 Io wa Av enue, Io wa City

319.337.2010 | bastaio 60



Maggie’s Farm Pizza

check out Mama’s satisfying, homemade

for two decades. In addition to serving all

1308 Melrose Ave, University Heights,


iterations of grilled cheese sammies (such as ham and cheese and quesadillas), Marco’s

319-351-4588,, $$

Napoli-style pizza is the focus here, but their

Mammitas Coffee

also offers gyros and tacos from the owner’s

pies are only the beginning. The best way to

224 S Linn St, Iowa City, 319-569-1067, $

other food trucks.

do Maggie’s is to bring a crew and order a

There are a few things that set Mammitas

full spread of salads and antipasti—including

apart from the average coffee shop. For one,

Marquee Pizzeria

meatballs, burrata, roasted brussels sprouts

its offering of Latin drinks—horchata and

920 E 2nd Ave #123, Coralville, 319-333-1018,

and creamy polenta. Get enough pizzas for

dulce de leche—and Mexican sweet breads., $$

everyone to try a couple of varieties and be

For two, a flower shop holds court in the

Marquee brings Modena, Italy wood-fired

sure to stick around for housemade gelato

back of the cafe. This means you can stop in

pizza traditions—including naturally leavened


for a hot espresso drink for yourself and then

dough—to Coralville’s Iowa River Landing.

order a vibrant bouquet for a friend.

You’ll also find refined antipasto (the Gilroy

Mai Pho

Fries are can’t-miss) and pasta dishes on

2315 Edgewood Rd SW, Cedar Rapids,

The Map Room

their menu, as well as broad selection of

319-396-4337,, $$

416 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-362-0417, $$

house cocktails, wine and beers on tap,

The menu at Mai Pho (also known as Pho

This miniature restaurant is your ticket to

served in Marquee’s sophisticated indus-

Mai) is loaded with traditional Vietnamese

international flavors. Using the burger as the

trial atmosphere. Stop by during the warm

dishes, each more intriguing than the last.

vehicle, Map Room’s menu evokes the flavors

months when the garage door is opened to

In a casual, colorful dining room, sample

of major international cities, transforming the

enjoy a breeze with your pizza.

familiar dishes, like their signature pho, or try

ubiquitous into the inspired. Masala Indian Cuisine

a Vietnamese savory crepe. Marco’s Grilled Cheese

9 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, 319-338-6199,

Mama’s Deli and Catering

117 N Linn St, Iowa City, 319-519-6777,, $$

125 E Washington St, Iowa City, 319-341-0700,, $

Masala has started including meat options, $

Welcome to the brick-and-mortar home of

on its menu to appeal to a broader audience,

The next time you’re looking around down-

the popular food truck that’s been dishing

but their vegetarian dishes truly shine. When

town Iowa City for a place to grab lunch,

out grilled cheese sandwiches to locals

the lunch buffet features malai kofta, make




sure you have plenty of time for a nap after:

Mesa Pizza

soup, salad, cottage cheese or applesauce.

It’s impossible to not eat way too much of

114 E Washington St, Iowa City, 319-351-6372,

Dishes include homestyle favorites like chick-

these delicious, vegetable-and-cheese balls, $

en-fried steak, baked white fish and grilled

and their accompanying tomato cream sauce.

Mesa does pizza like no one else in the

liver and onions.

Voted Best South Asian Cuisine in Little Vil-

Iowa City downtown area. Their innovative

lage’s 2019 Best of the CRANDIC awards.

creations demonstrate their skill at mixing

Midtown Station

flavors, from the Pulled Pork and Onion Rings

715 2nd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-200-1094,

Mas Margaritas Mexican Restaurant

pizza to their Chili Cheese Fries slice. The line, $$

588 Boyson Road NE, Suite 124, Cedar Rapids,

stretches out the door until after bar close

Who doesn’t love a restaurant that serves

319-826-1800, $$

on weekend nights, so if you want to avoid a

breakfast all day? At hip Midtown Station,

Come for the micheladas—Mexican beer

crowd, check out their lunch specials!

you can get rumchata French toast at any hour, but you’ll also be tempted to try the

jazzed up with spices, chiles and tomato juice—and stay for the pozole and chile

Micky’s Irish Pub

share plates of homemade wontons or pou-

verde. Nearly everything here is homemade,

11 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, 319-338-6860, $$

tine with housemade gravy. That is, if you can

from the tortillas to the sauces. The casual

The atmosphere is friendly, the pub grub hits

resist the bourbon burger with a cedar glaze.

and convivial atmosphere makes it a great

the spot and the beer is ice-cold. Micky’s

place for families to gather or friends to meet

patio is a great place to relax in the summer,

Mikhael’s Restaurant

up for a drink.

and their cozy booths for warming up in the

1426 6th St SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-366-3644, $

winter. Their kitchen is now open till 1 a.m.

Considered the best breakfast in town by

Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights.

many a local, this family-style restaurant

Melting Bite

serves lunch and dinner using only the fresh-

1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-224-0425, $$

What started as a home-based bakery

Midtown Family Restaurant

est ingredients. Their Shipwrecks are a menu

expanded to NewBo City Market and added

200 Scott Ct, Iowa City, 319-351-9303

favorite, or if you prefer sweet to savory,

savory Indian food to the menu, focusing on

1069 Hwy 1, Iowa City, 319-351-9323,

try the cinnamon French toast. You will not

the fare typical of a street food vendor., $$

regret it.

Enjoy traditional American cuisine with no fuss and no frills, just good food and solid service. Every entree comes with a roll, veggie and choice of potato, plus a starter of




The Mill Restaurant

Mirabito’s Italian

yourself at this local business that supports

120 E Burlington St, Iowa City, 319-351-9529,

40 Sugar Creek Ln, North Liberty, 319-459-1342, $$

the children in our community., $$

A strip mall setting may not be the first

Specialty pizzas, saucy wings and deep-fried

place you look for well-executed Italian


pickles are a good reason to visit any restau-

cuisine, but in North Liberty, that is exactly

303 2nd St, Coralville, 319-338-7400,

rant. The Mill has all this and more. Opening

where you’ll find it. This small, locally owned, $$

in 1962 as a coffee house/restaurant/folk

family business offers exceptional Ital-

Monica’s offers an extensive selection of deli-

music venue, The Mill has been an outlet for

ian-American staples in a casually sophisti-

cious gluten-free menu items, making it truly

Iowa City talent for over 50 years, and a pre-

cated environment.

a restaurant for all. The upscale Italian-Amer-

miere location for those searching for dinner

ican comfort food is served up by friendly

and entertainment. Feel like staying in? No

Moco Game Room and Hot Dog Bar

and accomodating servers in a sleek, modern

worries, The Mill also offers free delivery to

1602 E Ave NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-320-6040, $

take on a diner.

those in Iowa City.

The eclectic decor and warm atmosphere of Moco encourages you to linger, which is

Mosley’s Barbecue and Provisions

Millstream Brewing Co.

a good thing as it gives you plenty of time

525 S Gilbert St, Iowa City, 319-338-1419

835 48th Ave, Amana, 319-622-3672,

to sample their wildly creative takes on the

Mosley’s Barbecue and Pizza, $

classic hot dog. ’Dogs come topped with

125 E Zeller St, North Liberty, 319-626-4227,

Venture out to the Amana Colonies for a visit

anything and everything you can imagine,, $$

to one of Iowa’s oldest craft breweries. This

from hard-boiled eggs to Captain Crunch

Delicious wafts of smoked meat will lure

European-style microbrewery got its start

cereal. (Don’t knock it till you’ve tried it.)

you in from the street, and the sunny patio,

with just two beers. These days, it boasts

simple but comfortable interior and rotating

more than 15 different styles of brew and

Molly’s Cupcakes

selection of beers will keep you in your seat

a couple of killer sodas, as well as the Brau

14 S Clinton St, Iowa City, 319-333-1297,

for the better part of an afternoon, if you’re

Haus, an authentic German Bierhalle with, $

not careful. A second location opened in

delicious German-style pub food.

Check out Molly’s for a specialty cupcake

North Liberty and serves the same delicious

from their menu or, if those don’t suit your

barbecue and drinks.

fancy, build your own! Molly’s contributes part of their profits to local schools, so satisfy your inner child’s sweet tooth and treat

Your one-stop for sushi, rice bowls, and ramen... bubble tea, smoothies, and sake! 227 S Dubuque Street, Iowa City • (319)-351-1800 BREAD & BUTTER 2020



Break Your Fast Right From eggs Benedict to burritos, these spots serve up a substantive morning meal. ZAK NEUMANN

Micky’s Irish Pub 11 S Dubuque St, Iowa City

ranchero sauce, and are served with rice,


This longtime downtown Iowa City estab-

refried beans and plenty of fresh tortillas.

1202 3rd St SE #101, Cedar Rapids

lishment is well known for classics like the

You can also order the Huevos con Chorizo,

This NewBo neighborhood espresso bar is often

Conglomerate sandwich and fish and chips.

which tosses delicious crumbled Mexican

functioning in full-throttle mode. After your

Micky’s egg rolls pass the test, too, but their

sausage in alongside scrambled eggs.

favorite caffeinated cup of heaven or exotic

(actual) egg dishes get extra credit. The

tea, it’s time to make a breakfast selection. The

restaurant offers a full breakfast menu on

Breakfast House Café

breakfast burritos were recently recognized by

the weekends, pairing perfectly with an Irish

820 6th St SW, Cedar Rapids

Food Network as some of the best in the coun-

coffee or mimosa. Ever want a quesadilla

This is the very definition of a hole-in-the-

try, so you can trust they’re a stand-out choice.

and breakfast dish at the same time? Micky’s

wall breakfast joint. A small but mighty

The tortilla is loaded with refried beans, eggs

has the solution: the Breakfast Quesadilla is

kitchen cooks up some of the greatest

and cheese with the option to add vegetables,

stuffed with fluffy scrambled eggs, bacon,

pancakes and French toast you’ll ever have.

potatoes or chorizo for a hand-held meal that’s

cheese and black beans and served with

Order those as your side or for the table be-

perfect to the last bite. The cafe also makes a

sour cream, salsa and avocado on the side.

cause their omelets can’t be passed up. The

great quiche of the day and some of the best

Don’t pass on the Irish Eggs Benedict,

Cheesehead—with melted cheddar, Swiss

biscuits and gravy around.

either. This morning meal is a riff on a classic

and American—or the Iowa Farmer—with

eggs Benedict, subbing in corned beef for

bacon, sausage and ham—both take

traditional ham.

simple ingredients and craft them into a morning dish that will keep you returning to this cafe again and again. Bluebird Diner 330 E Market St, Iowa City Northside Iowa City is home to many legendary spots, Bluebird Diner among them. This diner serves breakfast all day and steals the show. The menu showcases omelets and some of the best pancakes in town, but also more inventive dishes that give the restaurant a leg up


on other diners around. Take for example the Huevos Epsteinos—griddled parmesan

Skillet Café

polenta cakes topped with smoked pork

101 1st St E, Mt Vernon

green chili and over-easy eggs—or the

With a name like Skillet Café, you’d expect an

Mexico Lindo Grill and Cantina

Krakatoa omelet, which erupts with bacon,

amazing breakfast, and that’s exactly what

1857 Lower Muscatine Rd, Iowa City

jalapeños, red onion, cilantro-lime cream

you’ll find. Put historic Mount Vernon on your

Originally located in West Branch, Mexico

cheese and pepper jack. The real star just

radar and let Skillet Café’s eggy lure draw you

Lindo has recently expanded to the south-

might be the St. Blue sandwich, Bluebird’s

in. The Philly Steak and Reuben are both fan-

east side of Iowa City. The restaurant has

take on the Chinese-American staple,

tastic ways to get your day going, but don’t be

a huge menu, rounded out with a couple

the St. Paul sandwich. Slices of toasted

confused; we’re not talking about sandwiches,

breakfast items (served all day) for those

sourdough bread provide the foundation

here. These are omelets, baby! Their menu also

of us who need an egg fix during lunch and

for an egg foo yung patty piled with pulled

features made-from-scratch corned beef hash,

dinner, too. The Huevos Rancheros come

pork, mushrooms and cabbage. Curious

and it’s a truly beautiful thing—especially with a

with fried eggs topped with a rich and spicy

and delightful.

couple runny eggs placed over the top.








Mt Hamill Tap

frozen meat and seafood, as well

1467 155th Ave, Donnellson, 319-469-

as a deli.

2221, $$$

If the dozens of cars lined up

New Pioneer Co-op Café

at this roadside bar don’t make

1401 5th St, Coralville, $

it abundantly clear, this place

Affordable breakfast, lunch and

is both legendary and a local

snacks on-the-go with local

favorite. Let’s be clear: everyone

and organic ingredients are

comes for the broasted chicken.

now available in the Coralville Public Library. Options range

Mystic Chocolate

from healthy to indulgent,, 319-362-

with gluten-free, vegan and

3054, $

paleo-friendly choices, just like

Born out of her raw, vegan des-

in Co-op stores.

sert company, Sweet Raw Joy, owner Laurie Moritz produces

New Pioneer Food Co-op

“plant medicine” in the form

22 S Van Buren St, Iowa City,

of artisan, stone-ground raw


chocolate infused with medicine

1101 2nd St, Coralville, 319-358-5513

flower extracts and essences,

3338 Center Point Rd NE,

quartz crystals and, most re-

Cedar Rapids, 319-365-2632,

cently, CBD oil., $$

With locations in Iowa City, Napoli’s

Coralville and Cedar Rap-

500 Marion Blvd, Marion,

ids, the New Pioneer Co-op

319-377-2100,, $$

provides a selection of both

Make time for a visit to Napoli’s

prepared foods and groceries,

where you’ll find made-from-

in addition to beer and wine.

scratch Italian standards ranging

Focusing on local and organic,

from noodles, entrees and

New Pi supports over 125 local

desserts. Gluten-free options are

producers who are committed


to respecting and protecting our environment. New Pioneer does

NaRa Thai Cuisine

the label reading so you don’t

1725 Blairs Ferry Rd, Marion,

have to and promises to follow

319-200-4004,, $$

high quality standards in the

NaRa offers an authentic but

products it offers; genetically

approachable menu of Thai

modified foods, artificial colors,

appetizers, noodle and rice dish-

sweeteners, flavors or preser-

es, as well as street food and

vatives are not allowed in any

special dishes.

products on the shelves. Voted Best Grocery Store and Best

The A-Team Alan Swanson Tim Conroy Alan Swanson

Mobile/Text: (319) 321-3129 Email:

Tim Conroy Mobile/Text: (319) 321-3679 Email: Left to Right: Alan Swanson and Tim Conroy Blank and McCune, The Real Estate Company 506 E. College Street, Iowa City, IA 52240 Office: (319) 354-9440 Alan Swanson and Tim Conroy are licensed to sell real estate in Iowa.

Need Pizza

Produce in Little Village’s 2019

207 2nd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids,

Best of the CRANDIC awards.


Office-dwellers come for a slice

NewBo City Market

at lunch, bar-hoppers visit for

1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids,

their wide selection of Iowa beer


and late-night eaters stop by, $$

for their delectable New Hav-

A variety of artisan vendors

en-style pizza.

serve up a swath of foods in the dynamic NewBo City Market—

Nelson’s Meat Market

part business incubator, part

1140 Old Marion Rd NE,

gathering place, part food court.

Cedar Rapids, 319-393-8161,, $$

No. 18 Karaoke and Bubble Tea

Looking for an old-school,

223 S Gilbert St, Iowa City,

high-quality butcher? The team

319-333-1265, $

at Nelson’s Meat Market is

Rent a room with your friends

knowledgeable and the glass

and enjoy a Boba tea or a

cases boast a variety of rare

smoothie while jamming out to

cuts and preparations, fresh and

the karaoke machine! BREAD & BUTTER 2020











































JUNE 1 - JULY 31







Brew like a Barista Employees at four locally owned coffee shops share their behindthe-bar experience and some tips for making your morning cup of coffee like the pros. What elevates a simple cup of coffee? Katie Ford, manager at Press Coffee, 2201 E Grantview Dr #102, Coralville: “Use good water, good water above everything else. A lot of times what people get frustrated with when they can’t recreate what they’re drinking at a coffee shop is because of the


water quality.” Tyler Steuber, barista at Cafe Muse, 65

Anything one should not order?

Brad Danielson, owner at Cafe Saint Pio,

Cameron Way #108, North Liberty: “My

99 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids: “There are

personal advice for always having good

these really cool things called vacuum

coffee is that you look at when the cof-

pots which, when they are done right,

fee was roasted. From when it was

make a really great cup of coffee. They

roasted until two to three weeks

were super popular back at the turn of

later, where you have a

the century, all the way up until the ’50s. If

fresher coffee, it kind of

disgusting. There’s something

brings a fresh cup of coffee

wrong about putting such a

you’ve got freshly roasted coffee, we like to open the bag up and let it air out for a couple of days. There are gases

door there’s something wrong with you. Cold espresso to me is

small drink into a paper cup. That’s

making it. I do also think that

my pet peeve. Everything else is

having a good grinder is worth

just down to preference.”

a lot in making your cup of coffee.”

MB: “I’m here to help you find what you want to drink, and hopefully

What is your guilty pleasure drink?

that if you brew that

ounce drink by the time you hit the

for yourself and the person

that come off the coffee

BD: “I had somebody ask for a shot of espresso to go. If you can’t finish a one-

steer you away from certain drinks. I’m trying to open

MB: “Holiday drinks. I love some mint

your eyes to what

coffee right

in some things. Like, put some mint in a

coffee is rather than

away it won’t

matcha latte; it feels like Christmas.”

[just] a caramel

taste as good as if you wait a day or two.” Michael Beyne, manager at Dash Coffee Roasters,

latte.” KF: “Right now it’s kind of a play on the white mocha: our Cinnamon Roll Latte.

Where does

It’s got some brown sugar, syrup and

your shop shine?

some cinnamon, and the white mocha base of it. Back in the day in 2003,

BD: “As far

287 N Linn St, Iowa City and 120 3rd Ave

when I first started working in a coffee

as what people

SW, Cedar Rapids: “Use a proper grinder,

shop, my go-to was a white mocha, so

would say is great,

not pre-ground coffee, [and] scales. Make

every so often I’ll have one of those,

what I hear all the

pour-overs at home instead of pressing a

but typically it’s brewed coffee or an

time: We have the



best chai. We have great



white mochas. You want it to be your straight-up shot of espresso, that’s what I hope is the best thing we offer. That’s what it really comes down to. Any really good job is going to be focusing strictly on that shot, because you can’t hide it when it’s just a shot by itself, not with any flavoring or any syrups or chocolate or anything else.” KF: “The French press. I feel like that’s what sets us apart from everybody else in the area, because everybody else does a drip or a pour over, and we do everything by French press as far as our brewed coffee goes. That way the grounds and the water have four minutes to marinate together, kind of like a routine. Otherwise everything else goes through a filter and the coffee-to-water time together is very minimal.” TS: “We’re able to get coffee from different places around the U.S. I think that it’s been pretty cool to be able to get good coffee and bring it to North Liberty and then kind of distribute that out to people who live there or in Iowa City, and just kind of have them taste that good coffee that we want our customers to appreciate.” BREAD & BUTTER 2020


er Cobble Hill Eatery and Dispensary, 219 2nd St SE, Cedar Rapids. The

Amaro 101

restaurant is the only spot in the area to offer amari flights. For $28, you

A beginner’s guide to the eclectic liqueur with Claire Ottley, manager at Lincoln Wine Bar.

start the night or a digestif for a post-feast treat, or feel free to mix-and-


ver the past few years, Italian liqueur amaro (the singular word for amari) blew up in the United States as both a

can sample four .75 oz pours of herbal liqueur. The knowledgeable service staff will happily guide you toward your ideal variety, or you may choose your own adventure from the bar’s selection. Pick a flight of aperitifs to match to taste the wide range of flavor profiles under this classification.


stand-alone drink and a mixed-beverage component. Many variations trace their lineage to Italian family recipes from the 19th century and are created in monasteries or pharmacies. Claire Ottley, the food and drink director at Mount Vernon’s Lincoln Wine Bar, first became acquainted with the drink while working at a bar in Memphis, Tennessee. After doing some

WIDE FLAVOR RANGE Amaro is made by macerating a variety of herbs, roots, flowers, bark and/or citrus peels with alcohol. Each bottle incorporates anywhere from 10 to 40 different ingredients. As a result, flavor profiles vary immensely, from fruity to cinnamon-infused to Coke-like.

research and becoming intrigued, she started stocking up. “Whenever my partner or I were traveling, we would pick


up a bottle or two, so we have a pretty beefy collection at this

Unlike non-potable liqueurs like Angostura or Peychaud’s, amaro

point,” she said. “Most of our bottles have a fun story or a trip

is consumable as a stand-alone beverage. Nonetheless, it’s still

type of memory tag.”

typically more bitter than other alcoholic beverages.

Now a well-versed amaro fan, she says the Mexican amaro Fernet Vallet is her favorite because “it’s a flavor experience, unlike anything [she’s] ever had.” “I always feel like part of what’s fun about amaro is challenging your palate to experience something that it’s not typically going to experience.” 70


VERSATILITY While amaro began as an after-dinner digestif, incorporating it into cocktails allows you to enjoy it at any time of day. It can also be sipped alone, drunk on ice or mixed with tonic water or syrup, among other variations.


If you’re looking for a restaurant to assist in your amari education, consid-

GET INTO AMARI VISIT BARS AND RESTAURANTS AND SAMPLE While purchasing bottles of liqueur to try is nice in theory, experimenting can be rather expensive. To save money and prevent shelves of unused bottles from accumulating, try variations of the drink at a local bar or restaurant. “Most of the time, for servers and bartenders, the best part of their job is getting to talk about the product and what they’ve taken so much time to learn and study,” Ottley said. “Don’t be afraid to just ask people about what they know, and ask if you can taste something.” DO RESEARCH Once you’ve tried various amari and determined what flavors you enjoy, doing research will help you get a better feel for what other variations exist and what your palate would enjoy. Ottley recommends James Beard-award winning author Brad Thomas Parson’s book Amaro. In addition to educating the reader on the liqueur, the book provides recipes detailing how to incorporate amaro into everyday cocktails. “There are tons of cocktail recipes that are amaro driven,” Ottley said. “If you’re a learner by reading, it’s a great way to learn a little bit more about them so you could feel a bit more set up


for success purchasing certain bottles before


just grabbing them blindly.”


EASE YOURSELF INTO THE DRINK Due to amaro’s relative bitterness, Ottley recommends taking things slow. Good starting points include sweeter variations, such as Noni-


no, or highly popularized versions like Camino and Aperol. “Slowly work your way to being able to


taste it on its own,” she said. “However, if you’re accustomed to bitter stuff, like black coffee and super bitter dark chocolate, I would definitely encourage you to jump right in and test it out.”

Brian Johannesen

EXPERIMENT Ultimately, Ottley believes that experimentation


is the only way you’ll determine what version of


amaro is best for you. “A lot of the classic amaro cocktails are just three or four ingredients that you might already have in your house,” she said. “It’s such a crazy large, broad category that there’s always something to learn and always something to taste. It just continues to give and to be fun to learn about and taste.”






After a day in the field (or office!), quench your thirst with a refreshing glass of the newest brew in Kalona.

Nodo and Nodo Downtown


is not to be missed. Pair these options with a

urrounded by farms as far as the eye can see, it was only a matter of time before this local brewery, the area’s rich farming history and Amish and Mennonite communities collided. Haymaker’s Punch, a traditional beverage for thirsty hay farmers working the fields, is now on tap at Kalona Brewing Company. Made with apple cider vinegar, fresh ginger root and honey, this lightly carbonated and fermented drink is considered nature’s Gatorade: hydrating, electrolyte-filled and refreshing on a hot summer day––or, let’s be honest, just about any day. It’s tangy and zippy with a hint of sweetness, and is a great stand-in for a beer or alcoholic beverage without feeling the FOMO pangs of ordering iced tea, seltzer or soda. Available by the glass and growler at the brewery only: 405 B Ave, Kalona.

600 N Dodge St, Iowa City, 319-512-5028, $$ 5 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, 319-359-1181,, $$

Whether it’s a sandwich, soup or salad, you won’t be disappointed by your meal at Nodo. Items are made fresh by a friendly staff who serve up a quality meal at a reasonable price. Huge salads filled with fresh ingredients make deciding between a salad or sandwich quite the dilemma. The Egg Sandwich is a deliciously affordable way to start any day, and the mango relish on the Ham and Mango side of Brew City Fries or sweet potato fries (with a side of droolworthy garlic aioli) for just $2.50, and you’ll have any meal covered. Oasis Falafel 206 N Linn St, Iowa City, 319-358-7342,, $

Living up to its name, Oasis Falafel offers a food oasis in Iowa City for those craving its Middle East offerings. Stop in for their famous falafel and hummus, and if you see they have matzo ball soup, get it. Voted Best Middle Eastern/Mediterranean Cuisine, Best French Fries and Best Restaurant for Delivery in the 2019 Best of the CRANDIC awards. Old 218 Tap 108 E Main St, Hills, 319-679-2277, $

This archetypal small-town bar and grill serves a cold beer in a friendly atmosphere. Old Capitol Tofu 3569 Dolphin Dr, Ste D, Iowa City,

What started as a goal of making the best food using the best local ingredients has resulted in the creation of some of the finest tofu around. Available for purchase at local grocery stores and on restaurant menus across eastern Iowa. One More Bite 1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids,, $

This husband and wife collaboration began as a food truck but graduated into a stall in the NewBo City Market offering an eclectic variety of hot sandwiches, wraps and fries. One Twenty Six, One Twenty Six Lounge and Moonrakers 126 E Washington St, Iowa City, 319-887-1909,, $$

Located on Washington Street, One Twenty Six has been a staple in the downtown dining scene for years. The menu features French-American cuisine made with local 72




and organic ingredients when possible, and is open for dinner or lunch. If you’re looking for a lighter dinner, head upstairs to One Twenty Six Lounge for burgers, wood-fired oven pizzas and a selection from the One Twenty Six menu, or hop over to Moonrakers for a selection of affordable small plates, pizzas and entrees. Orchard Green Restaurant and Bar 521 S Gilbert St, Iowa City, 319-354-1642,, $$$

Orchard Green’s menu features a variety of American-Mediterranean dishes as well as the classics. They use fresh ingredients and routinely change up their menu with the seasons. They invite you to fine dine in their premier dining room or enjoy a more casual meal in their intimate first-level lounge. Oryza Asian Cuisine and Bar 5 Sturgis Corner Dr, Iowa City, 319-800-0088,, $$

Family-owned Oryza is a delight of Asian cuisine, offering customers a large selection of high-quality, flavorful Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai and Korean dishes. Monday through Friday, lunch diners can take advantage of their amazing lunch special: an entree, appetizer and soup for under $8! Visit for well-executed dishes at fair prices in a casual atmosphere. Oyama Sushi 1853 Lower Muscatine Rd, Iowa City, 319-337-8801 5350 Council St NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-832-1800,, $$

You can expect the same quality cuisine at both the Iowa City and Cedar Rapids locations, from their rolls to their cooked dishes. Palisades Cafe 117 1st St W, Mount Vernon, 319-895-4041,, $$$

There isn’t a more charming main street in all of Iowa than the one in Mount Vernon. This little town of 4,000 is a bucolic Midwestern college town done right, and Palisades Cafe is just the kind of everyday luxury that, like the town itself, you might try once and then wonder what you’ve been doing with your whole life. The sun-drenched atmosphere and food are fresh, locally inspired and satisfying, with an approachable modesty. The cafe is open Tuesday-Saturday for lunch and dinner, and for brunch on Sunday, and the menu changes every month. Paradise Bar and Grill 5200 Fountains Dr NE, Ste 100, Cedar Rapids, 319-318-2070,, $$

This Indian restaurant and bar offers traditional and Indo-American fusion recipes and drinks. BREAD & BUTTER 2020



Drink Up From smallbatch wines to unique liquors, you’ll find what you’re looking for at these retailers. First Avenue Wine House JAV DUCKER

3412 1st Ave NE, Cedar Rapids 319-298-9463 Travel and wine enthusi-

Benz Beverage Depot

wines. Be sure to mark your

ast Traci Weber took her

501 7th Ave SE, Cedar Rapids

calendars: Benz’s annual

husband’s dream of one day


Beerfest takes place the

owning a wine shop and

Specializing in service and

Saturday before Mother’s Day

turned it into her reality. She

selection, Benz Beverage

and promises live music and

purchased an old home on

Depot is the place to head

an afternoon spent sampling

First Avenue and converted

in Cedar Rapids for that

craft beers.

it into a retail outlet, using

selection at big-box stores.

special bottle of liquor you’ve

the rooms (three floors!) of

This year marks the shop’s

been trying to track down.

Vineria Wine Shop

the old house to showcase

17th anniversary, and you can

They carry the area’s largest

264 Blairs Ferry Rd NE,

boutique wines of both

still find Weber on site hand-

selection of spirits and beer

Cedar Rapids, 319-373-6141

domestic and international

selling and recommending

and have more than 1,200

Owner and certified som-

origins, as well as gourmet

rare and interesting bottles

different bottles of wine.

melier Jose Reyes operates

foods and giftables. The

from around the world to her

Regular complimentary

Vineria Wine Shop on the

rows of bottles that line

loyal customers. Additionally,

tastings are scheduled on the

northeast side of Cedar Rap-

the shelves of the shop are

the shop regularly hosts tast-

first and third Friday of the

ids, a specialty shop for both

typically low-production

ings and events that provide

month from 5-7 p.m., offering

wine enthusiasts and those

wines from small vineyards,

opportunities to both learn

patrons bits of knowledge

looking to try something new.

meaning you won’t be able

from and chat with visiting

on everything from cider to

Stocking bottles from around

to find the same quality or


mead, craft beer to luxury

the world, you’re sure to find

SAIGON’S CORNER Authentic Vietnamese Cuisine

201 S. Clinton St., Iowa City • (319) 333-7233 74



hese spots are not specialty shops by any means—you can find anything from fried chicken to fresh baked bread and even get

your prescription refilled—but they provide a damn good selection.

Bread Garden Market

Hy-Vee Wine and Spirits

225 S Linn St, Iowa City

Various locations


Check out Hy-Vee Wine and

You’ll find over 1,000 bottles rang-

Spirits, 310 N 1st Ave, Iowa City,

ing from bargains to bestsellers

which regularly hosts local sales

and high-end labels in the back

reps for well-attended monthly

corner of this downtown grocer.

tastings (usually a Friday towards

This section is staffed certified

the end of the month) that bounce

wine experts ready answer your

between craft beer, liquor and wine.

every inquiry. Wine by the glass

Hy-Vee Wine and Spirits, 2001

highly drinkable wines for

by the full (or half!) glass,

is available on-site, so settle in for

Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids,

everyday sipping and bottles

snack on a rotating selection

a drink and talk shop. They also

has a great selection and knowl-

to commemorate life’s special

of cheese boards or enjoy

offer monthly wine pairing classes

edge of whiskies and bourbons, but

occasions. Take advantage of

larger plates for lunch or din-

which should definitely be on your

doesn’t skimp on the rest either.

their monthly ticketed wine

ner. The staff is knowledge-


tastings and classes and be

able and helpful—whether

sure to visit their wine bar

behind the counter or table-

during happy hour for a great

side—and will happily assist

401 E Market St, Iowa City

deal on gourmet pizzas and

you in choosing a bottle of


wine by the glass.

wine from their curated port-

This corner grocer fits a cozy wine

folio, and an adventurous

room, a well-stocked beer room

Brix Cheese Shop & Wine Bar

cheese to pair with it. They

and a great selection of liquor

209 N Linn St, Iowa City

also offer classes ranging

within their small footprint. They


from basic wine knowledge

founded BrewFest (now in its 25th

On the northside of Iowa

to more nuanced topics,

year) and help in coordinating the

City, Brix attracts oenophiles

such as blind tasting. Space

annual Northside Oktoberfest. The

and turophiles alike. This

is limited and classes often

staff is very knowledgeable and

retail-dining-tasting space

sell out, so keep your feelers

eager to help you hunt down the

offers customers the oppor-

out for announcements and

perfect bottle of booze.

tunity to sample select wines


John’s Grocery


375 3RD ST. SE, CEDAR RAPIDS (319) 200-2994 ORDER ONLINE AT:





Parlor City Pub and Eatery

tabs on the lively atmosphere of this local

the food is what you’re here for, and it’s some

1125 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-247-0000,

watering hole.

of the best Vietnamese in the area., $$

The extensive menu at Parlor City ranges

Peking Buffet

Pinoy Cafe

from burgers to sandwiches to pizza. Order

93 2nd St, Coralville, 319-333-1369, $

1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-343-8081, $

a Juicy Lucy and a pint of something on tap.

This place has a plentiful selection—Ameri-

Pinoy Cafe offers a taste of classic Filipino

This bustling tavern is a great spot to catch a

can-Chinese favorites, self-serve ice cream,

food with entrees, desserts and beverages.

live show of both local and nationally touring

sushi and more. The buffet setting ensures an

Rotating “Dish of the Week” specials bring


opportunity to try it all.

new items to the menu.

Paul’s Tavern

Phong Lan Vietnamese Restaurant

Pita Pit

176 Locust St, Dubuque, 563-556-9944, $$

216 8th St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-365-5784, $

517 2nd St Unit 1, Coralville, 319-351-7484,

Touted by locals as “one of the original blue

Family-owned and -operated, this Vietnam-, $

collar bars” in Dubuque, don’t expect too

ese restaurant offers fresh and authentic

Pita Pit offers the efficiency and affordability

many frills. Paul’s serves a limited menu

cuisine, specializing in pho. The digs here

of a fast food stop with the freshness of a

of sandwiches and burgers prepared on a

are humble, and reminiscent of a mom-and-

homemade wrap. Choose from a variety of

vintage broiler, and pours a good cold beer

pop place in small-town Iowa, aside from the

meat and veggie options to make your next

or a strong drink. Taxidermied animals keep

Asian artwork and statues on the walls. But

meal exactly how you want it.




ootleggin’ Barzini’s brothers Clark and Edgar McGuire were already acclaimed entrepreneurs prior to purchasing their liquor store. In 2005, they won the Small Business of the Year award for their delivery service, Whateva’ We Can Deliva’. “It was ahead of its time, but we delivered anything and everything you wanted,” Clark laughed. “We noticed that 70 percent of our 76


sales were liquor and said, ‘Hey, you know what, let’s make a profit on the back end.’ So, we bought the store.” The alliteration in their business’s name is no accident, Edgar said. “We knew we wanted Bootleggin’ in the name. For the second part, we wanted something with a B, but we didn’t want Bootleggin’ Bill or Bootleggin’ Bob. We’re big fans of the Godfather movies, and there’s a Don Barzini on there. We liked that name, and it just had a good ring to it.” Bootleggin’ Barzini’s officially opened its doors in Coralville on Jan. 26, 2006. Nearly 14 years later, the store has torn down a wall, doubled in size and greatly expanded its liquor selection.

The McGuire brothers credit their success to carrying a broad range of products and sharing their extensive liquor expertise, gleaned from working in the industry for over a decade, with customers. They take particular pride in being able to service customer requests that other local stores can’t, special-ordering products that aren’t typically found in Iowa. “Edgar and I are both here every day, and we talk to the customers and get to know people,” Clark said. “We’re a big part of the community around here, just from listening to the customers on what they’re looking for and staying on track with trends.” In order to expand service, Bootleggin’ Barzini’s recently launched a website, three years in the making, that allows customers to purchase liquor products online. While the brothers considered opening more physical stores, they’re hesitant to risk their current success by expanding too fast. “As a business owner, growing can be risky, and if you don’t grow properly or slowly, you can really put yourself in a pinch,” Edgar said. “We’ve been maintaining and building up a customer base and getting more unique products, focusing more on just doing what we’re doing right. For the time being, the brothers plan to continue selling liquor in the Iowa City/Cedar Rapids area. “The liquor industry is always changing, and we always have to evolve with it,” Edgar said, “It’s not easy, [but] I would say the customer service is above and beyond. Once we get to know your palate, we can help you find other things that you would’ve never tried on your own.”

A festival exploring the unknown, discussing the creative process, and presenting new work.

October 16–17, 2020 PRESENTED BY





Poindexter Coffee

affordable, quality barbecue near campus

loads of magazines, cookbooks and fiction.

210 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, 319-337-4058,

and Northside residents alike. They’ve got the

Voted Best Place to Read a Book in Little

“old” classic dishes on hand, but be sure to

Village’s 2019 Best of the CRANDIC awards.

poindexter-coffee, $

try their “new” barbecue cuisine like the Pops

Downtown Iowa City’s hip new Graduate Ho-

Dawgs or the BBQ Cuban sandwich.

tel boasts an on-site coffee shop, Poindexter

Prairie Soup Company 425 2nd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-362-0972,

Coffee. A wall covered in more than 170,000

Prairie Canary, $

No. 2 pencils references Iowa City’s rich liter-

924 Main St, Grinnell, 641-236-0205,

Is Prairie Soup Company downtown Cedar

ary history and the cafe offerings are worth, $$$

Rapids’ best-kept lunch secret? This fresh

lingering over, whether you’re a student on

This airy open concept cafe brings a modern

and popular daytime spot serves homemade

the run or an out-of-town guest.

vibe to small-town Iowa. Creative, inspired

soup as well as panini, salad and deli sand-

dishes for both lunch and dinner paired

wiches. The staff is friendly, the service is

Popoli Ristorante and Sullivan’s Bar

with unique craft cocktails, wine and beer

quick, and they’re accessible via the skywalk

101 3rd Ave SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-363-1248,

make this restaurant well worth the drive to

for convenience during inclement weather., $$$

Grinnell. Press Coffee Company

The People’s Savings Bank, designed by Louis Henry Sullivan in 1912 and now named

Prairie Lights Cafe

2201 E Grantview Dr, Coralville, 319-887-1500,

to Preservation Iowa’s Most Endangered

15 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, 319-337-2681,

Properties list, houses Popoli Ristorante and, $

This neighborhood spot was named for their

Sullivan’s Bar—an upscale steakhouse with

Things to love about Prairie Lights Cafe: 1.

coffee—they specialize in French-pressed

an Italian twist. The original architecture of

Perfectly executed cafe drinks. 2. Unique and

java from local roasters. Press also sells

the bank is remarkable and the food is of

innovative drinks like the Espresso Tonic. Try

Daylight Donuts to accompany your well-

note as well. Be sure to make it to their all-

one and thank us later. 3. The view from the

brewed cup of coffee. Flop in an overstuffed

you-can-eat prime rib nights on Thursdays.

cafe windows where you can sip your coffee

chair or couch and warm up by the fireplace

and watch the traffic on Dubuque Street.

during the colder months, and take in the

Pop’s BBQ

4. The Matcha Man Latte, a ginger infused

hillside views on the tucked-away patio

130 N Dubuque St, Iowa City, 319-354-7677,

matcha drink. 5. Perfectly small cookies from

during summer., $

Deluxe Cakes and Pastries for when you need

Since 2015, Pop’s has been known for their

just a tiny nibble of sweet. 6. Proximity to

typo! NotNot a a typo!

L E P I C - K R O E G E R, R E A L T O R S®



L E P I C - K R O E G E R, R E A L T O R S®


Pullman Bar and Diner

opportunity to nerd out.

food for both dinner and Sunday brunch in a century-old gable-roofed barn with views of

17 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, 319-388-1808,, $$$

Quinton’s Bar and Deli

the adjoining orchard. The housemade cider

This train car-inspired diner has become an

215 E Washington St, Iowa City, 319-354-7074

from Wilson’s Orchard flows freely from the

Iowa City favorite for foodies and casual din-

2500 Corridor Way, Coralville, 319-625-2221

taps along with craft cocktails, wine and beer.

ers alike. The menu is worth exploring; every-

450 1st St SW #101, Cedar Rapids, 319-200-4192,

Rapid Creek Cidery also caters and hosts

thing from cocktails to appetizers, breakfast, $$

special events and weddings on-site.

to burgers is executed well. The best part?

Stop by Quinton’s after enjoying a show

The open kitchen offers a front row seat to

downtown for their house specialties—like


watch the master chefs work their magic.

their Notorious P.I.G. or Drunken Mac N’

1101 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-560-5090,

Cheese. They have food and drink specials, $$


every day of the week. Be sure to try their

Not only can you order organic smoothies

895 Blairs Ferry Rd, Marion, 319-826-6667,

spuds before you leave!

and cold-pressed juices at Rawlicious, you can also try a medicinal shot (the Immunity, $$

This lively, rustic setting houses some of the

Ramsey’s Wine Bistro

Fighter boasts turmeric, ginger, pineapple

best classic barbecue in the area. Sometimes

1120 7th Ave, Marion, 319-447-1700,

and black pepper oil), snack on gluten-free

the wait for a seat can be long, but it’s worth, $$

bell pepper chips and guac, or indulge in a

it for some of QDogs’ tasty fare. The menu

Uptown Marion’s unofficial living room, you

vegan “tuna” sandwich. Rawlicious also offers

features tender brisket, savory ribs and corn-

can go to Ramsey’s almost any night of

full-service spa treatments at Brightside

bread so good you’ll dream about it. It’s also

the week and find live music and a casual,


a great spot for live blues music.

friendly atmosphere. Tell the staff what you like and let them pick a glass of wine for

Red Ginger

Quarter Barrel

you while you relax with your friends over a

2419 2nd St, Coralville, 319-354-1071,

616 2nd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-200-4140, $

cheese plate, salad or sandwich.

This spacious industrial brewpub serves up

1301 S Gilbert St, Ste #6, Iowa City, 319-338-3336,

a nice selection of craft beer and creative

Rapid Creek Cidery, $$

pizzas. But the biggest draw here is the ar-

4823 Dingleberry Rd NE, Iowa City, 319-541-7684,

A sleek, contemporary interior hides behind

cade games lining the brick-walled interior,, $$

this strip mall storefront in Coralville. Once

offering gamers and nostalgia-seekers an

This farm-to-table restaurant serves rustic

inside, have a seat at one of the handful of





A Cure for What Ails Ya Sometimes all you need is soup. Here are some great spots. Her Soup Kitchen 625 S Dubuque St, Iowa City If the name of this restaurant didn’t clue you in, let’s make things crystal clear: Her Soup Kitchen makes great soup. At this family-run restaurant, all soups are made fresh daily with produce and ingredients from local gardens and producers when possible. There’s usually a selection of two or three from a list of roughly 20 recipes they cycle through. The most requested? That title is easily awarded to HSK’s tomato bisque, mushroom bisque or ham and white bean. Don’t let hot weather keep you away—cold soups slide into rotation during summer months. JiangHu Asian Street Food The sour, spicy flavors in the saozi noodle soup at JiangHu are addictive. Try it once and you’ll find countless reasons to order it


110 E Court St, Iowa City

EAT SOUP FOR A GREAT CAUSE Alta Medea-Peters, director of community engagement at DVIP, and City High Rotary Interact Club volunteers. COURTESY OF DVIP

Empty Bowls Luncheon to End Hunger as a benefit to raise money for the CommUnity Food Bank and the Solon Food Pantry. Since 2010, the Solon chapter of the Empty Bowls project has raised more than $23,000 to date for hunger-related causes. Students spend all year crafting ceramic bowls, recruiting volunteers and promoting the event. And in the early morning hours on the day of the luncheon, the students can be found in the

Domestic Violence Intervention

supper is open to all and raises

The bowls are a parting gift for

school’s Family Consumer Science

Program’s “Souper Bowl” Created

money for victims of intimate

attendees, intended to represent

room, preparing massive amounts

by DVIP Executive Director Kristie

partner abuse, human traffick-

community, giving and remem-

of soup for their hungry guests. At-

Fortmann-Doser almost a quarter

ing, stalking and harassment and

brance for victims.

tendees of the Empty Bowls event

century ago, the annual Souper

serves over 1,900 survivors. Gen-

Bowl event challenges the myth

erous area restaurants regularly

Solon High School Art Club

to benefit hunger-related charities

that more violence occurs against

contribute more than 40 soups to

“Empty Bowls Luncheon to End

(suggested amount: $10) and to

women around the NFL Super

the event, and donated ceramic

Hunger” Each spring, the Solon

keep their one-of-a-kind bowl after

Bowl. This all-you-care-to-eat soup

bowls are used to serve the dinner.

High School Art Club hosts the

their meal.



are encouraged to make a donation

again and again. When you need a warm-up on

Garden Market’s name pop up. A staple for

a chilly day: saozi noodles. When you’re feeling

fresh, fast food in downtown IC, Bread Garden

the beginnings of a head cold: saozi. When

offers a rotating selection of soups that cater

you’re too lazy to pack your lunch: saozi. When

to carnivores, vegetarians and vegans. Bread

it’s Tuesday: saozi. Ladles of meaty, tangy

Garden’s version of tomato bisque, called Tus-

broth are poured over tangles of noodles, black

can Tomato, is craveable, and is a daily staple.

mushrooms, diced pork, carrots and tofu in a

Their simple lentil soup becomes something

bowl so big it must certainly be meant to be

truly flavorful and magnificent rather than just

shared by two. In reality, it’s a dish easily tackled

a simple winter lunch. The best day is when

by one. Be sure to safeguard your leftovers in

the Italian Sausage White Bean Rapini variety

the fridge; everyone will have their eyes on this

shows up in the mix. The spicy, tomato-y

one. If you’re that guy who digs into someone

broth is mixed with housemade Italian sau-

else’s saozi, at least be smart enough to not

sage, a generous heap of creamy white beans

wear white. The chili-oil broth stains on your

and handfuls of hearty kale. It somehow

shirt will be a dead giveaway.

manages to be light, yet filling and incredibly

Little Village is available in more than 700 locations around Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and the surrounding communities.

satisfying. It’s equally perfect for cold winter Konomi Grill 843 Quarry Rd, Ste 140, Coralville

days or when the air conditioner is cranked in the office and you need a warm up.

The ramen at Konomi comes highly recommended and certainly does not disappoint. The

West End Diner

chefs and kitchen staff at the restaurant take

809 6th Ave, Marion

their time crafting this seemingly simple dish,

A refurbished historic house is home to

spending 18 hours making just the broth. The

Marion’s new West End Diner. Opened in fall

resulting base for all the additional ingredi-

of 2019, the clean, rustic but modern interior

ents—choose from pork, chicken, short ribs or

provides the perfect atmosphere for diners

oxtail and corn, scallions and mustard greens—

to tuck into their breakfast or lunch order. Ev-

is hearty, creamy and soul-satisfying liquid

erything is made from scratch and the menu

gold. The generous portion could make for two

here offers a range of coffee and espres-

meals, but if you’re determined, trust there’s

so drinks, cafe staples and family favorite

room in your belly for this big bowl of broth to

recipes. The approachable menu guarantees

slosh around.

a satisfying meal and when you’re searching for something comforting in bowl form, try one of their housemade soups. Broccoli

225 S Linn St, Iowa City

cheddar and chicken and wild rice are always

Ask anyone for soup recommendations in

on the menu and a featured variety rotates in

Iowa City and you’re bound to hear Bread

on a weekly basis.

FIND A COPY NOW: Donated bowls for the DVIP Souper Bowl. ZAK NEUMANN

Bread Garden Market

little village mag .com /distro Want to carry LV at your business? hit us up at

distro@ BREAD & BUTTER 2020



VegFriendly Burgers

cle to sample their international delights. Packed with veggies, lentils, chickpeas and spices, the burger is so good people demand it regardless of if they are vegetarian or not. “I can’t remember the last time I ordered a beef burger,” mentioned one local carnivore when asked about the restaurant’s vegetable-forward option. “I order the veggie burger and top it with meat gravy,” quipped another.


The Mill

416 3rd Street SE, Cedar Rapids

120 E Burlington St, Iowa City

Known for their burger-centric menu

The Black Bean Burger at The Mill is

through which you can travel the world,

well-seasoned, made in-house and served

owners Mitch and Christina Springman

with guacamole. A thinner-than-typical

make sure their culinary creativity is acces-

patty makes this option stand out in a sea

sible to all diners by crafting a housemade

of black bean burgers; it seems to hold to-

veggie burger that can be used as a vehi-

gether longer than many other black bean patties and makes for an abundance of crispy surface area. Short’s Burger and Shine


18 S Clinton St, Iowa City

Iowa beef patties, but they’ve also crafted a

Short’s Eastside

section of their menu that highlights black

521 Westbury Dr,

bean burger-specific preparations. Most are

Iowa City

Southwest inspired, save for one that plays


with Greek flavors, but all are satisfying and

1006 Melrose Ave,

promise to fill you up. You can find the same

Iowa City

black bean burger menu at Short’s Eastside

Short’s Burger

and sister restaurant Stella.

and Shine was the leader of the pack

Trumpet Blossom

in the burger-cen-

310 E Prentiss St, Iowa City

tric restaurant and

Chef Katy Meyer excels at making craveable

craft-beer craze of the

vegan food, and her housemade Red Bean

last decade. Over the

Veggieburger is no exception. A mixture

years, they’ve added

of red beans and miso and a smattering of

housemade black

spices, this plant-based patty sits atop a

bean burgers that you

perfectly toasty vegan bun with a slick of

can substitute for their

vegan barbecue aioli. Yum!


Certified Authentic by the Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani and the Verace Pizza Napoletana 208 East Main Street, Solon, IA 319-624-2080 • 82



sunken booths, the expansive bar or a table IMPOSSIBLE BURGER

in the open dining room. Order a bowl of au-

Tin Roost

thentic ramen or a selection of fresh, quality

840 W Penn St, North Liberty

sushi. A new location opened in Iowa City

Pullman Bar and Diner

late 2018 offering a similar menu and setting.

17 S Dubuque St, Iowa City St. Burch Tavern

Red Vespa

127 Iowa Ave, Iowa City

208 E Main St, Solon, 319-624-2080, $$

Reds Alehouse

As the first pizzeria in Iowa to be certified

405 N Dubuque St, North Liberty

by the Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani


and the Verace Pizza Napoletana, Red Vespa

11 S Dubuque St, Iowa City

proudly features authentic Italian cuisine.


Their cheese is housemade and makes their

900 E 2nd Ave, Coralville

brick-oven pizzas even more delicious. Don’t

951 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar

miss out on their Italian-American specials,


though—the meatball sub is to die for.

30hop uses the popular prepared Impossible patty to cater

Reds Alehouse

to health and environmentally

405 N Dubuque St, North Liberty, 319-626-2100,

conscious customers, but takes, $$

it a step further by providing

Reds Alehouse may have begun as a neigh-

a fully vegan “burger” option.

borhood restaurant for the North Liberty

The “burger” is nestled on a

crowd, but it’s morphed into a destination

bun slathered with housemade

for patrons from all around the area. The vast

tofu mayo, topped with vegan

selection of microbrews on tap makes this a

cheese and shiitake mushrooms,

great choice for beer-lovers and the large pa-

and is a real treat, proving that

tio is an ideal spot to spend a lazy weekend

Find the big-name meat replacement patties

shifting your diet doesn’t have to mean

afternoon. Drink responsibly: happy hour at

at many local restaurants, including:

going without.

Reds brings two-for-one drinks!





Big Grove

834 Park St, Grinnell, 641-236-3657,

5 S Dubuque St, Iowa City

1225 S Gilbert St, Iowa City, $$

600 N Dodge St, Iowa City

101 W Main St, Solon

Fully embodying their slogan, “Local Foods

If you’re on the hunt for a burger alternative,

Micky’s Irish Pub

Global Flavors,” Chef Kamal Hammouda

Nodo has an option that just might be up

11 S Dubuque St, Iowa City

mixes local ingredients and recipes from

your alley. Swap in a NexVeg Hemp Smoky

Zombie Burger

the Middle East to create Relish’s diverse

Southwest vegetable patty in place of your

1451 Coral Ridge Ave, Coralville

menu. Always looking to bolster the Grinnell

beefy burger and you won’t be disappointed.

Zombie Burger offers a completely veg-

community, Relish frequently hosts local

A mix of hemp, oats, seeds and spices, this

an-friendly burger experience with their

musicians, adding to the already comfortable

high-protein whole-food plant-based patty

“Lucille” or “Undead Glenn” menu options.

and charming atmosphere of the historic

has a texture akin to falafel and is great for

Using the Beyond Meat patty and topping

Victorian home in which Relish is situated.

those looking to reduce their meat consump-

it with vegetables, vegan sauces and

tion, pack a few more vegetables into their

mayos, the resulting burger is a delicious

daily diet, or simply enjoy a delicious lunch.

choice for vegans and meat-eaters alike.

Iowa City

319-354-7074 215 E. Washington St.

Iowa City Coralville 319-354-7074

215 E.319-625-2221 Washington St. 2500 Corridor Way Ste 5

Cedar Rapids 319-200-4192 450 1st St SW #101

Coralville Des Moines 319-625-2221

319-625-2221 2500 Corridor Way Ste 5 506 E. Grand Ave

Cedar Rapids 319-200-4192 450 1st St SW #101

Des Moines 319-625-2221 506 E. Grand Ave






nown for their killer tofu, Old Capitol Food Co. has experimented with a new condiment over the last year, gaining quite a few fans. What originally began as a way to make use of the leftover trimmings from their packaging process has now evolved into a full-fledged product of its own. Meet Mayu: a tasty, smooth and creamy mayonnaise alternative made from the brand’s signature tofu. It’s a protein-rich option, and clocks in at a quarter of the fat and calories for those watching their macros. The spread’s delectably silky texture is owed in part to the first-rate quality of the tofu Old Capitol produces. Because there is no calcium used in the production process—just nigari, or magnesium chloride—the resulting tofu avoids the chalky mouthfeel associated with many other commercial brands, and it blends into an amazing mayo dupe. Find Mayu in the refrigerated section of your local Hy-Vee and New Pioneer Food Co-op, or at the Iowa City Farmers Market. 12 oz. jar, $5.49

12 7 I O WA AV E N U E , I O WA C I T Y ( 319 ) 3 41 - 7 7 0 0 | S A I N T B U R C H TAV E R N . C O M

Life’s Celebrations...

Made from Scratch Make Scratch cupcakes part of every celebration: Cedar Falls | Waterloo | West Des Moines | Corallville 1-855-833-5719 | 84



ReUnion Brewery 516 2nd St, Coralville, 319-337-3000,, $$

ReUnion’s hyperactive brewing program starts with the lightest German lagers and ends with hoppy IPAs and boozy barrel-aged monsters, stopping at Belgians, sours and lots of other experimental destinations along the way. The menu here follows suit, offering everything from street tacos to pizzas and calzones, sandwiches, burgers, hefty pasta dishes, plenty of kid-friendly stuff and, of course, brunch on Sundays. ReUnion Brewery beers are now available in cans. Riley’s Cafe 836 1st Ave NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-364-4779 568 Boyson Rd NE #150, Cedar Rapids, 319-8263667,, $$

Either of the Riley’s Cafe locations make for a great start to the day, featuring countless breakfast, brunch or lunch options on the daily. In dining rooms decorated with tchotkes, flair and memorabilia, you can enjoy a classic Shipwreck or opt for the steak and eggs. Roasters Coffee House 1059 N Center Point Rd, Hiawatha, 319-393-6001 1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-202-2039,, $

The friendly staff will set you up with freshly roasted beans for your morning cup at home or prepare you a perfectly brewed drink. The plush seating and cozy interior of the Hiawatha location encourages a moment’s pause to savor your jolt of caffeine. Rodina 1507 C Street SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-200-2515,, $$$

A blend of German, Czech and Midwestern comfort foods, Rodina delivers on the comfort without the typical heavy hand—everything feels light and fresh, yet simultaneously




sumptuous and luxurious. Their well-curated food and beverage menus make ordering a breeze and the interior is inviting and warm while retaining a modern, airy feel. Voted Best Chef (Samuel Charles), Best Bartender (David Basinger) and Best New Business in Little Village’s 2019 Best of the CRANDIC awards. Ruby’s Pizzeria 223 2nd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-200-4800,, $$

Accessible via the skywalk, Ruby’s is a quick-casual spot in downtown Cedar Rapids for a lunchtime slice or for a whole pie dining in for dinner. Rustic Hearth Bakery ZAK NEUMANN

1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-200-4008, $



urveyor of high quality oils and aged balsamic vinegars, Harvest Oil and Vinegar has the area’s freshest ultra premium (UP) olive oils from around the world. Created in small batches by farmers exercising sustainable practices and time-honored traditions of quality, you can be assured you won’t find oils like these at grocery stores, or even another speciality oil shop. Passionate about treating skin from the inside and embracing the benefits of olive oil, local dermatologist Kimberly Schultz, M.D. opened Harvest Oil and Vinegar in 2014. Forging a relationship with a group who sources from exclusive olive groves around the world, Schultz was able to access high-quality fresh oils from small boutique operations. “We have some of the freshest oil you can get. It’s fresh-crushed oil, meaning the small growers around the world crush the olives, pack it up and ship it directly to us. There’s no preservatives or additives,” explained Emily Huinker, director of marketing. Harvest prides itself on offering a wide variety of UP olive oil and balsamic vinegars. (Ultra Premium olive oil is a new category of olive oil that denotes the highest 86


quality oil in the world.) Additionally, all of the oils and vinegars Harvest stocks are unique and versatile, making them perfect to experiment with: saute, drizzle or cook with them, combine them with balsamic or use them in marinades. “Our traditional flavor is certainly the mainstay of balsamic, though everyone has their favorite,” Huinker said. In addition to their tried-and-true Traditional Balsamic––the finest grade of aged balsamic from Modena, Italy––they also carry a Black Mission Fig balsamic vinegar, which is their most popular aged balsamic and goes well with a variety of meats and poultry, and Tuscan Herb Olive Oil, a delicious blend of herbs, sun-dried tomatoes and garlic-infused olive oil that you can use in everything from salad dressings to marinades. Though the physical store has since closed, operations have shifted to focus on maintaining their online shop. Products are available for purchase through their website (, or at Infinity Skin Care (1100 5th St, Coralville), Home Decor by Manchester (708 5th St Ste #8, Coralville) or Walker Homestead (3867 James Ave SW, Iowa City).

The crew at Rustic Hearth takes the extra step to set their product apart from the competition by milling their own flour for their fresh handmade goods. Options rotate but include baguette, sandwich and sourdough loaves, cinnamon rolls and doughnuts. Ruzicka’s 301 N Dubuque St, Solon, 319-624-2870,, $

Visit Ruzicka’s for an array of homemade sausages, steaks and roasts—a meat locker full of top-quality cuts of meat direct from local farmers, right here in Iowa. Their famous Jalapeño Salami has been made using the same recipe since the ’70s. If you’re planning a large event and don’t feel like cooking for a crowd, Ruzicka’s does a bang-up job catering graduation parties, family reunions and weddings as well. Sag Wagon Deli and Brew 827 Shaver Rd NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-366-3265, $

This small cycling-themed watering hole is a popular spot for bikers at the end of a trail ride around Cedar Lake. In warmer months, send a location scout or come early as the small-capacity bar fills up quickly. A spacious outdoor patio handles bar overflow and entertains with Giant Jenga, cornhole and sand volleyball. Saigon’s Corner 201 S Clinton St, Iowa City,, $$

Their extensive menu of fresh Vietnamese food is sure to please; there’s something on the menu everyone will love from traditional favorites to original creations. Saigon’s Corner also makes the best broth!


Saigon Market 803 2nd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-363-2900,

Saigon Market is a small store, but what they lack in square footage, they make up for in selection. Stocked with a plethora of southeast Asian grocery staples, you’ll have your choice of instant noodles, kitchen supplies, sauces and well-priced produce. The staff here is helpful and accomodating. Saloon Tequila Bar 112 E College St, Iowa City, 319-354-3837,, $$

Located on the Iowa City Ped Mall, Saloon offers a Southwestern menu to be enjoyed at any time. For the best experience, sit on their patio while enjoying one of their many margarita offerings and watch the action on the Ped Mall. Salt Fork Kitchen 112 E Main St, Solon, 319-624-2081,, $$

Head to Solon and catch a meal at Salt Fork Kitchen, among the area’s first true farm-totable concept restaurants. You’ll find plenty of traditional items, but the specials are really where it’s at. Sam’s Pizza 441 S Gilbert St, Iowa City, 319-337-8200,, $$

Get Sam’s pizza and calzones delivered to your doorstep, or stop in and enjoy a beer at their full-service bar with your meal! They offer a wide variety of specialties, toppings and crusts to make your food exactly how you like it. Sanctuary Pub 405 S Gilbert St, Iowa City, 319-351-5692,, $$

Founded in 1972, this casual pub offers 27 different imported and craft beers and happy hour specials Monday through Saturday. Their food menu features interesting and delicious dishes and they even have vegan and gluten-free options for those with specific di-

P h o n e p ic s d o n ’ t c u t i t.

ets. Check their events calendar for regularly scheduled live music.


Saucy Focaccia


1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-200-4019

3 19.855.1 474

5100 Fountains Dr NE Ste 100, Cedar Rapids, 319-294-6772,, $

The menu cornerstone—classic burgers on focaccia buns—are delightfully messy and equally delicious. Their housemade burger sauces let you dress up your basic burger however you like or go crazy with one of their inventive specials. EVENTS





Gather your friends to connect in the kitchen.


raditional book clubs often get a bad rap. While well-intentioned at the beginning, over time, they have a tendency to devolve and become less about the actual books and more about socializing and enjoying food and drink. Take this not as a suggestion to abolish your on-task book club, but consider an alternative option—one that skips the reading assignments and gets straight to the snacking.



FIND YOUR BOOKS Prairie Lights Books and Cafe 15 S Dubuque St, Iowa City 319-337-2681 Prairie Lights boasts a great selection of new favorites and tried-and-true classics. Don’t see what you’re looking for? Staff will happily place a special order with a bit of notice. Next Page Books 1105 3rd St, Cedar Rapids 319-247-2665 This small but mighty bookshop in NewBo has a smattering of popular cookbooks but will gladly order in titles they don’t stock. Cedar Rapids Public Library 450 5th Ave SE, Cedar Rapids 319-261-7323 The cookbook section at the Cedar Rapids Public Library tops out at nearly 5,000 items—enough to keep you cooking and eating for years to come.

Enter: Cookbook club. For this book club, you’ll swap novellas, nonfiction and poetry for tomes of delicious, inspiring recipes that have been calling your name, and flex your culinary skills. Select a cookbook and a monthly meeting date. Group members each cook a recipe or two, and bring the resulting dishes to the meeting for all to try. It’s a great way to slow down, expand your palate and connect with people, sharing a meal without the inherent timetable and distractions of dining out. Here are some cookbook club pointers to get you started: Choose your group Now is not the time to invite Tom, Dick and Harry; create a select group of members for 88


Iowa City Public Library 123 S Linn St, Iowa City 319-356-5200 With over 4,000 titles available for checkout, you’re sure to find something on just about anything you’re interested in. Have a suggestion to add to their collection? Visit

your club. It could be your five closest friends, a few couples you often dine out with or a handful of interesting folks you’ve been meaning to get to know better. Just be sure your list is comprised of people who enjoy being in the kitchen, as there’s no sense in forcing someone who hates to cook to slave over a complicated step-by-step. Six people seems to be a perfect

number and many recipes are developed with 4-6 servings in mind. Sure, you could double measurements to ensure the dish feeds more mouths, but better to save the math for your second stab at the recipe. Rotate hosting While the prep and cooking duties are divvied


up naturally, it’s nice to rotate hosting duties every meeting so no one is stuck with a bunch of dishes, or tasked with cleaning their house in addition to cooking, every month. The host can suggest the cookbook and select and share recipes. Typically, the host lays claim to a main dish to anchor the meal and the remaining recipes are selected first come, first serve.

Set a tone When picking your cookbooks, be adventurous and choose books from a variety of different regions and cultures. Or, use it as an opportunity to hone in on the classics. You can certainly purchase a cookbook just for the club, but don’t make it a requirement. When it comes to purchasing,

it can be nice to wait until after you’ve sampled some of the recipes, as it’s a great way to decide if the book is something you want to cook from again. Browsing the stacks at your local library is also an amazing way to dig up something older or more niche that you wouldn’t find at a bookstore. BREAD & BUTTER 2020



The Sausage Foundry

know how hard it is to find good

1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids,

Korean food outside of Korea—


check out Seoul Grill! Their, $$

hours are limited so be sure to

his might not be the most conventional breakfast, but if you’re in

With a mission focused on

stop by the first chance you get!

the mood for something other than oatmeal, eggs or a smoothie,

local products and sustainable


Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowl Recipe and photo by Val Rath


it’s certainly worth a try. The Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowl is hearty and

production, this NewBo Market


satisfying but also feels light and fresh. On top of that, the recipe is super

retailer prepares handmade ar-

819 1st Ave, Iowa City, 319-337-7275,

simple, and calls for just a few ingredients that you probably already have

tisanal sausage and meat prod-, $$

on hand. It stores really well in the fridge, perfect for breakfast on-the-go

ucts, many made from heritage

Wherefore art thou tater tots?

or even as a pre-prepped or post-workout meal option.

pork breeds.

This neighborhood bar serves

Prep time: 5 min / Cook time: 20 min / Makes two servings

Schera’s Algerian

town. The friendly staff and

American Restaurant

reasonably priced drinks make

some of the best pub food in

• 2 small sweet potatoes, peeled

Optional Additional Toppings

107 S Main St, Elkader,

Shakespeare’s a must for anyone

• 1/4 cup coconut milk

(1 tablespoon each)

563-245-1992,, $$

looking for a laidback bar on the

• 2 tablespoons collagen peptides

• Sweet plantain chips

This gem in sleepy, small-town

eastside of Iowa City.

• 1 tablespoon maple syrup or honey

• Cacao nibs

Elkader is worth the short drive

• 1/4 cup blueberries

• Hemp hearts

to experience first hand. They

Short’s Burgers Eastside

• 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

• Pumpkin seeds

have a great beer and wine

521 Westbury Dr, Iowa City,

• 1/4 teaspoon cardamom

• Unsweetened coconut flakes

list for those into that sort of

319-338-7743,, $$

• Sea salt, to taste

• Almond butter

thing—small-batch craft brewers

Short’s Burger & Shine

and a few low-intervention

18 S Clinton St, Iowa City,

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Bake the sweet potatoes for 15-20

wines—and an assortment of Al-

319-337-4678,, $$

minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for at least 10

gerian specialties peppered with

Short’s Burger & Shine Marion


approachable American plates.

780 11th St, Marion, 319-200-1020,

Cut the sweet potatoes into chunks and place them into a food

Scott’s Family Restaurant

There are 26 different burg-

processor* along with the coconut milk, and process until smooth.

1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE,

er options at Short’s, along

Stir in the collagen peptides, maple syrup, cinnamon, cardamom

Cedar Rapids, 319-550-4517,

with chicken and blackbean

and sea salt., $$

alternatives, so the menu never

From all-day breakfast to patty

gets old. The beef is sourced

melts and meatloaf, there’s

within Iowa’s own state lines,

something on the menu for

and they pride themselves on

everyone in the family. Hit

their vast selection of Iowa craft

the breakfast buffet on the

beers and ciders. Be sure to

Note: You can store this breakfast bowl in the fridge for up to five

weekend, or treat yourself to

taste the stellar Short’s Whiskey

days. Keep in an airtight container for optimal freshness and reheat

all-you-can-eat cod and shrimp

distilled in partnership with the

on the stove or in the microwave.

on Fridays or Sirloin Steak Night

Cedar Ridge micro distillery in

on Saturdays.

Swisher. Voted Best Burger in, $$

Transfer the mixture to a bowl. Top with fresh blueberries. Add any optional additional toppings, if desired. Serve warm or cold.

*Don’t have a food processor? No problem! Place the sweet

Little Village’s 2019 Best of the CRANDIC awards.

potatoes into a bowl and mash with a potato masher or fork. Then

Scratch Cupcakery

stir in the coconut milk, collagen peptides, maple syrup, cinnamon,

927 E 2nd Ave, Coralville,

cardamom and sea salt. Top with blueberries.


Siamville Thai Cuisine, $

3635 1st Ave, Cedar Rapids,

With more than 125 cupcake


flavors on the menu, Scratch ro-

This shopping-center eatery

tates through a regular selection

presents an impressive variety

daily, offered in mini and stan-

of Thai plates. Siamville offers

dard sizes as well as gluten-free

a fine dining experience at a

and vegan options. If you’re one

budget-friendly price.

of those folks who eats the cupcake for the frosting, you can

Sidekick Coffee and Books

make a special order for their

1310 ½ Melrose Ave, Iowa City,

delectable buttercream with a


bit of advance notice., $

This is a coffee shop designed Seoul Grill

with the digital detoxer in mind;

201 S Clinton St, Iowa City,

there’s no Wi-Fi but plenty of

319-338-5747, $$

books to read and seating suited

Have you ever tried Korean

for conversation. Sidekick brews

food? If not, or if you already

Intelligentsia coffee, the direct



trade roasting company out of

renovated, the former Atlas

Chicago. Order a cup of drip and

Restaurant and Bar turned St.

Ranch-Style Roasted Chickpeas

a scone, grab a novel from the

Burch Tavern offers diners a

By Cadry Nelson

shelf, then silence your phone

taste of days gone by, with sup-

and unwind.

per club and tavern vibes. Come in for inspired modern Midwest-


hese roasted chickpeas are flavored with the same seasonings as every Iowans’ favorite salad dressing. After roasting in the oven, the

chickpeas become crispy around the edges. They’re great for snacking

Sing-A-Long Bar and Grill

ern fare and old supper club

on right out of the bowl, or you can throw them on top of a salad as an

100 First St SE, Mount Vernon,

favorites like Burch’s raw oyster

alternative to croutons.

319-895-9464,, $$

bar with a daily oyster happy

Located in the oldest building

hour. Downstairs, The Den offers

on Main Street in Mount Vernon,

a relaxing space to unwind over

Sing-A-Long Bar and Grill

cocktails, beer and select food

• 1 15-ounce can chickpeas

centers around a 1910 player

items in an enticing lounge

• 1/2 teaspoon organic canola oil

piano and encourages patrons

setting. Voted Best Seafood in

• 1/2 teaspoon granulated onion

to select a song from the 200+

Little Village’s 2019 Best of the

• 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder

available scrolls and join in

CRANDIC awards.

• 1/4 teaspoon dried parsley

the chorus. Offering signature

Prep time: 5 min / Roast time: 20 min

• 1/8 teaspoon dried dill

cocktails and made-from-


scratch, homestyle cooking,

1006 Melrose Ave, Iowa City,

this restaurant fosters a sense

319-887-5564,, $$

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Drain and rinse chickpeas. Allow to

of community and connection

Sink your teeth into a mouth-

completely dry on a clean kitchen towel. Wet chickpeas won’t brown.

through music.

watering burger made with

• 1/8 teaspoon salt

Iowa-bred beef, a housemade

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread chickpeas over

Skillet Cafe

vegetarian blackbean burger

the baking sheet. Top with oil, granulated onion, garlic powder, dried

101 1st St NE, Mount Vernon,

or a grilled chicken sandwich

parsley, dried dill and salt. Use your hands to toss the chickpeas so

319-895-8540,, $

topped with anything from man-

they’re evenly coated with seasonings. Distribute evenly across the

Occupying a corner spot on

go jalapeño salsa to prosciutto

baking sheet.

the main drag in Mount Vernon,

and stone-ground mustard. For

the Skillet Cafe serves up fresh

something a little different, try

Roast for 20 minutes (or until tan and crisp on the outside),

made-to-order breakfast and

the gumbo or jambalaya.

stopping once or twice to shake the pan for even browning.

lunch dishes in a comfortable environment.

Stop On Bye 1616 6th St SW, Cedar Rapids,

Sno Biz of Iowa City

319-362-0788,, $$

812 S 1st Ave, Iowa City,

The broasted chicken is the

319-558-8012, $

highlight on the menu at this lo-

Sno Biz of Iowa City is shaved

cal, family-owned restaurant and

ice made right. With an array of

the small-scale bar allows every

fruity flavors and a friendly staff,

seat to be the best in the house

this seasonal operation takes

for watching the game.

the classic snow cone to the next level. Mix and match your

Studio 13

favorite flavors to create your

13 S Linn St, Iowa City,

ideal summer treat.

319-800-1354,, $

As Iowa City’s only LGBTQ+ bar, Soseki Sushi Cafe

Studio 13 has events and spe-

and Sake Bar

cials almost every night of the

227 S Dubuque St, Iowa City,

week. Anyone 19 and older can

319-351-1800,, $$

come by for their infamous drag

Fresh sushi, poké bowls, noodles

shows, featuring seasoned pro-

and donburi—a little bit of

fessionals and beginners alike.

everything is available at this

Studio 13’s mission is to promote

newly opened sushi joint in

diversity and create a welcom-

downtown Iowa City. Visit for

ing environment for everyone

great lunch combos and a selec-

in the community, so all people

tion of sake as well.

are welcome to dance the night away amidst the flashing lights

St. Burch Tavern and The Den Lounge

and techno beats.


127 Iowa Ave, Iowa City, 319-3417700,, $$

Thoughtfully reimagined and BREAD & BUTTER 2020




Sumo Sushi and Ramen

Sun Cafe

else you might need to make

122 E Washington St, Iowa City,

953 S Riverside Dr, Iowa City,

your favorite dish at home.

319-338-9988,, $$$

319-351-2287, $

To fully experience all that

This adorable Vietnamese

Tap N’ Tacos

Sumo has to offer, you’ll need

restaurant is a great place for

808 5th St, Unit 8, Coralville,

more than one visit: At least

richly spiced pho pure in flavor.

319-354-5250,, $$

three trips to savor the ramen


t’s not clear, but it does show up in two of the most important works in pre-Shakespeare English literature. Both times it refers to someone getting drunk. Its first known use is in The Canterbury Tales, although it seems likely Chaucer was using a phrase already in circulation, not inventing a new one. In “The Reeve’s Tale,” a miller named Symkin and his wife—Chaucer doesn’t give her a name—drink “strong ale” for hours. “So was hir joly whistle wel ywet,” Chaucer writes, circa 1400. One hundred years after that, there’s another hard-drinking wife, but this time she gets a name. Gill is the wife and accomplice of Mak, a sheep-stealing lowlife. Gill is loud, mean and huge (“greatt as a whall”), but can sing the Lord’s Prayer once she’s “wett hyr whystyl.” The pair appear in a popular religious play of the early 1500s, in which they steal a sheep from the three shepherds who venerate the newborn Jesus in the manger. Mak and Gill get away with the theft, but the three shepherds get to meet the Christ Child— whom they give “a bob” of cherries, a bird and a tennis ball (“tenys” being a fashionable, new game)—so it’s happy endings all around. Exactly what message believers should get from The Second Shepherds’ Play is, like the origins of “wet your whistle,” unclear. (Also unclear is how Mak and Gill know the Lord’s Prayer before adult Jesus first recites it.)

This establishment in the heart of

dishes, then three more visits

Sykora Bakery

Coralville features tacos, tortas

to explore the sushi menu. The

73 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids,

and other Mexican entrees. Mul-

buttery sashimi is fresh as can

319-364-5271,, $

tiple TVs will keep you up to date

be, and the menu of special rolls

This family-run bakery tucked

on whatever sports you follow,

features fun surprises, such as

in the historic Czech Village

and an outdoor patio space is

the L.A. with smoked salmon,

offers handmade rolls, bread,

available for warm weather dining.

mozzarella cheese and deep-

cakes and classic pastries, but

fried avocado.

be sure to save room for a bowl

Taste Of India

of goulash!

1060 Old Marion Rd NE, Unit D,

Sushi House

Cedar Rapids, 319-294-6999,

2665 Edgewood Pkwy SW, Cedar

Szechuan House, $$

Rapids, 319-396-1990, $$

320 E. Burlington St, Iowa City,

This spacious Indian restaurant

A long-running family-owned


and buffet on the northeast side

and -operated eatery serving, $$

of Cedar Rapids serves gener-

Chinese and Japanese cuisine,

The menu can be daunting, but

ous portions of Indian favorites.

Sushi House’s inclusive menu

the rewards at Szechuan House

ranges from sushi and sashimi

are worth the investment. The

TCB Pool Hall

to rice and noodle bowls that

food is super authentic and

114 E College St, Iowa City,

are delivered by a highly atten-

is often sublimely delicious.

319-887-2665, $

tive staff.

Under new ownership, the

The great beer selection,

restaurant was recently remod-

well-maintained pool tables,

Sushi Kicchin

eled, though the menu remains

shuffleboard and darts make

201 S Clinton St, Iowa City,

mostly the same.

this bar feel like a suave hangout from another era.

319-338-1606, $

If you love sushi (and we know

Taj Mahal Restaurant Grocery

you do) stop by Sushi Kicchin

3939 Center Point Rd NE,

Teddy’s Bigger Burgers

for their fast, affordable menu

Cedar Rapids, 319-294-4953,

324 E Washington St, Iowa City,

that is sure to hit the spot., $$


Their dumplings and rolls—both

If you’ve never ventured into the, $

available in veggie options—are

grocery section of Taj Mahal,

Garlic fries. You need these in

fresh and flavorful. This is a

this is some of what you’ve

your life immediately. This Ha-

great place to stop by for lunch

been missing: homemade Indian

waii-based fast-food franchise

if you are in a hurry to get back

sweets and savory samosas, a

makes creative burgers, sand-

to the office.

kaleidoscope of colorful grains

wiches, fries and ice cream.

and legumes, and any kind of Sushiya

nut you can imagine. Smells of

Thai Flavors

745 Community Dr # A,

chicken tikka masala and saag

340 E Burlington St, Iowa City,

North Liberty, 319-626-6666, $$

paneer waft through the grocery

319-339-8900,, $$

This strip mall sushi place in

from the kitchen next door and

Thai Flavors is Iowa City’s go-to

North Liberty is everything you

compel you to buy Aloo Bhujia,

authentic Thai food destination

wouldn’t expect from a strip

a spicy fried potato noodle

for dine-in, carry-out or deliv-

mall sushi place. With sophis-

snack, and Besan Laddu, sweet-

ery. The atmosphere is cute and

ticated dishes (e.g. broiled

ened gram flour balls (a favorite

casual, and your check won’t

yellowtail collarbone, Wagyu

of the young woman working

break the budget. They adhere

beef), fresh nigiri, sashimi and

the register, who promises you

to the unofficial tenant of Thai

small plates, Sushiya is as good

can’t eat just one).

food: flavor building. Their

as any sushi on the coasts, or

entrees feature interesting and

anywhere, really. It has some

Taj International Food

delicious flavor combinations,

of the freshest fish in the area,

2419 2nd St, Ste 2, Coralville,

such as their Red Curry cooked

combined with great service and

319-354-1901, $

A small store offering an

bamboo shoots, sweet basil and

ment. A visit to Sushiya makes

extensive selection of Indian

coconut milk.

for a truly wonderful experience.

ingredients and imports where you can find a small selection of produce and just about anything



with carrots, bell peppers,

an exceptionally clean environ-

Welcome! Iowa City offers big-city amenities with small-town hospitality, and is a focal point for arts and culture, education, and fun. Our community enjoys an extensive parks and recreation system that includes miles of trails, nearly 1,000 acres of prairie, wetlands and forested areas, with almost every resident living within half-a-mile of public open space. Iowa City features a vibrant, walkable downtown, and in 2008, was designated the first UNESCO City of Literature in the United States. Numerous professional publications consistently rank Iowa City as a highly favorable place to do business, receive an education, enjoy arts and culture, and is a perfect place to retire. Our City is also committed to being a leader in sustainability to ensure that we have a livable community now and in the future. In 2018, the City adopted a Climate Action and Adaption Plan, a 35-step guide for the city as a whole to act upon to become a globally responsible and locally adaptable community. Steps include embracing electric vehicles and alternative fuels, expanding community gardens, and moving towards more energy efficient buildings. To learn more about our plan and how you can help, visit

Iowa City is committed to Climate Action... The City of Iowa City and the 74,000 residents who live here have already made giant leaps in being a more climate conscious and resilient community. The City’s newet climate action goals are: Achieve a 45% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by the year 2020. Reach NET ZERO emissions by the year 2050. How will that happen? You play a key role - in the place where you live or work, in the way you travel and where you eat and shop.


The United Nations recently released a report outlining food’s outsized impact on creating global warming. Unlike many climate reports, this one had an upside: food production has the potential to be one of the greatest solutions to the climate crisis, and the methods already exist. For anyone who eats, this is excellent news about your ability to make a positive impact through your food purchasing habits. What we choose to buy, or avoid, is a vote for the kind of future we’d like to see. And we know today that is especially true when it comes to food. Here are several ways to flex your consumer power to create a more positive world, starting at the grocery store. BY SHEILA ONGIE 94



Sustainable Shopper

Do you need it? Not buying something new is

spend less and waste less product. And, some

always the most sustainable option. After all,

stores will allow you to bring a reusable con-

“reduce” comes before reuse and recycle for

tainer to fill. Grocery store bulk aisles can con-

a reason. But assuming you can’t subsist on

tain everything from granola, beans, chocolates

air alone, grocery shopping is in your future.

and snacks, pastas, nuts, baking ingredients

Whenever possible, make a shopping list ahead

like flour and oats and so much more. Look for

of time and do your best to stick to it. Or, at the

freshly ground bulk peanut butter, coffee beans,

very least, shop mindfully to avoid picking up

olive oils and vinegars and even liquid soaps.

extras that are destined to become waste.

Fresh produce aisles may also feature bulk greens, carrots, mushrooms and more. Hug a farmer. When you choose to buy items that are produced locally, you’re supporting your neighbors and a strong local economy. Plus, since locally grown food hasn’t traveled far, it is likely to be fresh, nutritious and have a lower carbon footprint than its well-traveled counterpart. It is common for grocery stores to label items made locally, so take an extra look and choose the option from nearby. It will make all the difference to your local farmer. Reduced packaging. What is recyclable can

BYOB. Whenever possible, bring your own reus-

change from community to community, so be-

able shopping bag, produce bags and refillable

come familiar with what is acceptable to recycle

containers for the bulk aisle (if your store of

in your area. Then, choose to purchase products

choice allows it). While you’re at it, bring your

in reusable, compostable or recyclable mate-

reusable mug, stainless steel straw and water

rials, if they need to be packaged at all. And

bottle for the necessary caffeine and hydration

though it may seem counterintuitive, never toss

for your errands.

an item in the recycling unless you’re certain it belongs there; when in doubt, throw it out.

Bulk. Ever needed a teaspoon of turmeric, and found the remaining 95 percent still in your

Organic or regeneratively grown. The largest

cupboard 11 years later? Me too. Shopping

part of food’s impact happens before it reaches

the bulk aisle is a triple win. When you’re able

the grocery store, when the food is being grown

to purchase the exact amount you need, you

or produced. Certifications like organic, or grow-

ing methods like regenerative agriculture, can indicate a more positive impact overall, including benefits to water quality, soil carbon sequestration, increased biodiversity and reduced use of synthetic chemicals.

Understanding food’s carbon footprint. Food isn’t all created equal when it comes to carbon intensity. The Nature Conservancy has a wonderful and easy-to-use carbon footprint calculator that allows customization of your average weekly diet. With this you can see how your impact changes with your dietary choices.

fresh cut, beautifully arranged, locally-sourced flowers

Use it up. We’ve all felt the pull of an impulse buy (10 avocados for $10? Yes, please!) but without a clear plan for how and when you’ll use something, it becomes likelier to spoil or spend an eternity in the dark corners of your pantry. If food waste were a country it would have the third largest carbon footprint in the world, after China and the U.S., so the potential for impact is huge. Plus, you paid for that food—enjoy it! Some of these tips are a breeze and others can require some time for habit-forming. Stick with it, and be kind to yourself when you forget to bring reusable bags, or find a moldy surprise in the fridge. It will get easier over time, especially if your sustainability quest is a fun challenge rather than a source of stress. The bottom line: If you’re interested in reducing


your ecological impact, start with what you’re consuming, and look no further than your local

2 07 N O R T H L I N N ST R E E T, I OWA C I T Y • 319.338.1332 • WILLOWANDSTOCK.COM

grocery store. BREAD & BUTTER 2020



Joanna Mouming’s premium tonic syrups elevate the classic gin and tonic. BY ANJALI HUYNH


elf-proclaimed lover of entertaining guests, New York native Joanna Mouming thoroughly enjoys hosting dinner parties for family and friends. Following one such night, her friend’s son noted, “She has a way with ingredients.” Over a decade later, this offhand comment would become the tagline for an up-and-coming business with a singular goal: reinventing the British classic, gin and tonic. The former social worker’s career in the food industry began when she discovered Kalona Organic (now Kalona SuperNatural) dairy products at New Pioneer Co-op. Amazed by the products’ superior taste, she learned as much as she could about organic foods. “I’d be telling strangers, ‘You know, you should really be buying this milk because it’s much better, not to mention it’s local,’’


she said. “So when I wrote my cover letter to work for the company, I said, ‘I’m already selling your product to strangers.’” After working with Kalona SuperNatural for a number of years, Mouming shifted to Frontier Natural Products, where she became aware that she had a “nearly perfect palate.” This asset, paired with her love of cooking, disposed her towards improving flavors of existing foods and drinks. The inspiration to create a tonic syrup first struck as Mouming reflected on her distaste for traditional tonic waters, finding them overly sweet and flavorless. “I am a fan of gin, but I think that commercial tonic water is pretty blah and kind of garbage,” Mouming said. “People buy quality gin and then mix it with this really not-sogreat ingredient. Because I was working with spices, it was very natural for me to think, ‘How could I play and make something that’s kind of better than the commercial stuff?’” While tonic water is cheaper due to its natural flavor and lack of juices, tonic syrups are made by steeping and heating citrus juices, spices and cinchona bark. Mouming’s tonic syrups include fresh juices sourced from Florida, making the syrup’s flavor “brighter.”






Pleased with the end product, she began sharing her tonic syrup with family and friends. After receiving positive feedback, Mouming took the syrups to the Iowa City Farmers Market in May 2018. This was not her first time retailing products locally, as she had sold fermented pizza doughs at the Iowa City Farmers Market years before bringing her tonic syrups to market. “What I like to do is give people high-quality ingredients to make their own things,” she said. “If you have better pizza dough, you’re going to make a better pizza, and if you have a better tonic syrup, you’re going to make a lot better cocktail than with tonic water. I like to give people that kind of success and ingenuity in the kitchen.” Gaining a following at the Iowa City market, Mouming developed plans to sell at the Cedar Rapids, Des Moines and Davenport farmers markets as well. She initially paid hourly rent to use a restaurant kitchen while they were closed; to service requests, she used the largest pot that could fit on the stove, fondly called “Big Betty.” However, in order to accommodate greater demand, she opened a commercial kitchen and purchased a warehouse facility, and has even added a second

pot dubbed “Large Marge.” Mouming officially launched her brand Joanna’s Premium Tonic Syrups in April ahead of the 2019 farmers market season. She takes particular pride in her brand’s design, which depicts a silhouette of a woman resembling herself, as she strove to incorporate more femininity into alcohol branding. “Something that kind of gets to me in the bar culture is that everything looks so masculine, but women are taking part in it just as much as men,” Mouming said. “I really wanted it to look like it came from a woman, and I wanted it to look like it tastes good on the label. I really do think we achieved that quite well.” Joanna’s Premium Tonic Syrups now offers two tonic syrup flavors, the original and orange fennel. Aside from gin, the syrups can be paired with other liquors, such as rum, tequila and vodka, as well as sparkling water for mocktails. Mouming believes the product’s versatility only adds to its marketability, saying, “People want to be mixologists, but buying the ingredients to do that can be kind of expensive and

daunting. This gives people one ingredient to actually make a lot of different types of cocktails.” Aside from farmers markets, Mouming’s tonic syrups now appear in numerous restaurants throughout Iowa City, Cedar Rapids and Des Moines, such as Pullman Bar and Diner, Trumpet Blossom Cafe, Bread Garden Market and Cedar Ridge Winery and Distillery. She’s also received orders nationwide in areas ranging from upstate New York to Minnesota to California. “I’ll ask, ‘How did you learn about this?’ when I get the order, and they’ll say, ‘Oh, I was driving through Iowa City and I had dinner at Pullman or I went to a wedding at the Kirkwood Hotel and I had it at the bar,’” Mouming said. “People don’t know [the brand] because it’s a young company, but they really like to share it with ZAK NEUMANN


“Once you start drinking this, you may never want commercial tonic water again.” —Joanna Mouming friends when they’re entertaining or give it as gifts because it’s unexpected.” As business continues to boom, Mouming intends to keep her focus on producing tonic syrups for the time being, noting that they’re less commonly sold in the Midwest, so competition is minimal. But she’s dreamt up expansions, ranging from increasing the number of restaurants carrying her brand to opening up a restaurant herself. Above all else, however, Mouming plans to continue getting high-quality items into the hands of as many consumers as possible. “It was very fun when I would sell a hundred bottles at my first Des Moines farmers market, to think that a hundred households were trying my tonic syrup that weekend,” Mouming said. “Once you start drinking this, you may never want commercial tonic water again.”


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Thai Spice

Three Samurai Japanese Restaurant

1210 S Gilbert St, Iowa City,

1801 2nd St, Coralville, 319-337-3340,

319-351-2581,, $$, $$

Thai Spice is known for their authentic,

Three Samurai offers sushi, poke bowls and

flavorful dishes. Their menu is extensive, so

Japanese inspired entrees, as well as incredi-

you’ll be sure to find something you like. The

ble lunch specials at $10 or less.

friendly staff is happy to help if you can’t decide between the Kang Dang or the Red

Timmerman’s Supper Club

Curry! Voted Best East/Southeast Asian

7777 Timmerman Dr, East Dubuque, 815-747-3316,

Cuisine in Little Village’s 2019 Best of the, $$$

CRANDIC awards.

Timmerman’s Supper Club has been a Northeastern Iowa institution for years. Situated on

Thai Spice Noodle House

the bluffs of the Mississippi River, the expan-

725 Mormon Trek Blvd, Iowa City, 319-339-1999, $$

sive dining room has amazing views. Expect

The noodle-focused menu ranges from soups

classic steakhouse and supper club fare and

to entrees with some favorite appetizers,

you won’t be disappointed.

salads and rice dishes thrown in for good measure.

Ting’s Red Lantern 540 Boyson Rd NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-294-8666, $

Thew Brewing Company

On the hunt for traditional Chinese staples

301 2nd Ave SW, Cedar Rapids,

in Cedar Rapids? This is your place. Food is

319-343-8439,, $

This brewery in Cedar Rapids’ Kingston

delivered in an unpretentious setting and portions are generous.

Village produces a wide variety of different beers using a system that lends itself well

Tomaso’s Pizza

to smaller batches and experimentation.

3234 Center Point Rd NE, Cedar Rapids,

The taproom at Thew doesn’t serve food


but does allow guests to bring outside food

1111 7th Ave, Marion, 319-377-6102

in from nearby restaurants. Stay tuned for

1061 N Center Point Rd NE, Hiawatha, 319-393-5610,

regularly scheduled visits from local food, $$

trucks during warmer months. Bonus: Thew is

One of a handful of long-running pizza

proudly LGBTQ-friendly!

establishments in the area, Tomaso’s remains a powerhouse on the Cedar Rapids pizza

Thirsty Camel

scene. Choose from a range of crusts includ-

18747 IA-70, Conesville, 319-725-6891, $$

ing a thin New York-style, middleweight De-

First opened in 1970, the Thirsty Camel

troit crust with a cheesy caramelized edge, or

delivers on fried appetizers, salad bar and

a thick and doughy Chicago deep-dish. The

rotating nightly specials, letting you sample

original Mombo Combo is a crowd pleaser,

all this roadside supper club has to offer. Try

but feel free to create your own masterpiece.

the Camel Turds or the catfish. Toppling Goliath Brewing Co. Tin Roost

1600 Prosperity Rd, Decorah,

840 W Penn St, North Liberty, 319-626-2331, $$


Tin Roost provides a relaxed and social

This brewery got its start in 2009 after

atmosphere for customers to enjoy food and

smashing success in homebrewing. Now

drinks with friends. Their extensive menu

brewing over 30 beers and distributing to

includes all the American classics with a

more than eight states, the brewery’s previ-

Southern twist, homespun cocktails and over

ously small and humble taproom has been

36 beers on tap. Relax by one of their three

transformed into a 100-barrel brewery with

fire pits in the winter or on their spacious

canning and bottling lines, taproom, restau-

patio in the summer.

rant and event center all under one roof.

Tip Top Cakes

Trumpet Blossom Cafe

708 5th St, Coralville, 319-359-1191,

310 E Prentiss St, Iowa City, 319-248-0077,, $, $$

Whether you need a high-end wedding

At Trumpet Blossom, being vegan does not

cake, a cup of coffee or a delectable pastry,

mean sacrificing your favorite comfort foods.

Tip Top Cakes has what you are looking for.

Their brunch, lunch and dinner menus have

Adam, the owner and an award-winning

something for everyone at the table to enjoy.

baker, strives to amaze his customers from

Come by in the evening to attend one of the

his custom cakes to cupcakes.

many events they host and enjoy one of their excellent cocktails as well.




Tuscan Moon Grill on Fifth 203 5th St, Kalona, 319-656-3315,, $$$

It is more than worth the drive to Tuscan Moon—a fantastic surprise awaits you. Entrees are all top-notch, but order the lobster if it’s available. The vast patio and a charming enclosed outdoor bar allow you to make use of the space even in cold weather. Twelve01 Kitchen and Tap 1210 1st Ave, Coralville, 319-338-1201, $$$

Formerly the River City Beefstro (facepalm), Twelve01 is connected to the Radisson Hotel and Conference Center and Hampton Inn, just off of I-80 at the 1st Avenue exit in Coralville. The rebranded Twelve01 offers breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week and is recommended for the Amish Chicken with Asparagus, Beef Brisket and Grilled Reuben. Uptown Bill’s Coffee House 730 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, 319-339-0804,, $

Uptown Bill’s is a gathering place where individuals of all abilities are welcome. Part coffeehouse, part performance venue and part community meeting place, Bill’s is dedicated to encouraging the differently abled to live their best life. The soda pop selection is by far the most diverse in Iowa City, giving customers an array of options when it comes to root beer in a bottle. Catch up with friends, or grab a book and read away! Uptown Snug 760 11th St, Marion, 319-200-6996, $

You won’t find any food at this upscale Irish pub, but beyond Guinness and a solid lineup of beers, the bar is well-equipped for whatever cocktail your night on the (Up)town might call for. Cozy up fireside during the winter and enjoy the back patio in summer, overlooking the Uptown Artway—one of several Marion alleyways activated with public art installations year round by ArtPlace America grantees ImaginArt in the Alleys. Urban Pie 200 State St #101, Cedar Falls, 319-260-2045 1138 7th Ave, Marion, 319-200-2399,, $$

This fast-fired personal pizza concept started in Cedar Falls with a second location in Marion. The menu inspires with topping combinations you won’t find anywhere else—including a dessert pizza and a breakfast pizza—but you can always build your own, too. (That goes for the salad as well.) Breadsticks and wings round out the menu of this fast-growing, family friendly startup.

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Take the Kids to Dinner These restaurants are great for kids and parents alike. Big Grove Brewery and Taproom 1225 S Gilbert St, Iowa City Wait… a brewery on a list of kid-friendly establishments? You bet. The casual atmosphere of Big Grove lends itself well to dining out with kids in tow. The menu of international street food offers choices for both adventurous and discerning eaters and the brewery is known for their great selection of brewed-on-site beers for the 21+ crowd. While the main dining and bar area feature traditional booths and tables, the back game room is equipped with shuffleboard, foosball and ping-pong to occupy waning attention spans. In the warmer months, when youngsters have just got to move around, there’s a fencedin lawn where the kids can run, free-range. For parents who are comfortable with a “longer leash,” there’s a new playground close by; Riverfront Crossing Park is just across the bridge behind the brewery. The taproom is usually relatively loud and busy, so there’s a good chance no one will notice when your kid is wailing and having a melt down.

opportunity to soak in your surround-

bounced around the grounds on a hayrack

ings during daylight hours. The cidery is

tractor ride.

housed in a huge century-old barn north Bread Garden Market

day, its location just can’t be beat. The din-

225 S Linn St, Iowa City

ing room overlooks neighboring Wilson’s

The great thing about Bread Garden?

Apple Orchard, and in the warmer months

There is something for everyone. You can

you can sit on the patio and fully immerse

custom order a burger, sandwich, pizza

yourself in the sights and sounds of the

or tacos just the way you like from their

orchard. The ciders on tap are crisp and

digital kiosks. The pay-by-weight hot bar

refreshing, and the shakshuka mouth-wa-

and salad bar have a rotating selection

teringly good, as is the Braunschweiger

of salads, kitchen-fresh dishes and soups,

toast, but there are plenty of options for

and the macaroni and cheese is a genuine

Wilson’s Apple Orchard /

the younger crowd on the menu, too.

crowd-pleaser. Adults can make a pit-stop

Rapid Creek Cidery

After you fill up on brunch, trot down to

at the wine and cheese bar for a more ma-

4823 Dingleberry Rd NE, Iowa City

Wilson’s to walk it off. The orchard is open

ture snack, but no one is immune to the

Rapid Creek Cidery chef Matt Steigerwald

August through October for U-Pick visi-

siren song of the gelato and pastry case,

crafts a beautiful seasonal and locally

tors. Kids can pick apples to their heart’s

where you’ll find everything from home-

sourced menu for both brunch and dinner,

content, feast on apple cider and dough-

made cookies and doughnuts to a colorful

though brunch affords you the delightful

nuts in the retail barn and get carted and

selection of creamy gelato. The Ped Mall


of Iowa City, and on a blue-sky summer



pizzeria, part arcade and definitely family friendly. The menu highlights specialty pizzas (meat, vegetarian and vegan options available) named after Mario Kart characters, but also innovative sandwich preparations and shareable appetizers. The beer list has plenty to choose from—many of them brewed in-house—and features guest taps as well as cans and bottles. And as for the arcade games—there are 40 of them! You’ll find video games and pinball machines; some are free play, the rest range from 25 cents to $1. The kiddos can absorb some arcade history and blow through some pocket money, and adults can enjoy pizza and a beer from a watchful spot nearby. Kids are allowed at Quarter Barrel anytime the kitchen is open. Once they stop serving food, it’s a sign to


pack up and head home.

Sidekick Coffee and Books 1310 1/2 Melrose Ave, Iowa City


This new neighborhood coffee shop is a great spot for those with tiny companions and an appetite for reading. A full-service coffee bar whips up lattes, cortados and hot chocolate and displays pastry cases lined with freshly made treats from Tip Top Cakes and ice cream from Heyn’s. playground is within eyesight of the dining

Floor-to-ceiling bookshelves are lined with

area, so kids can venture off and run wild,

a curated selection of books for purchase,

stopping back occasionally for a few bites

and while they stock titles for both kids

of food and to rehydrate.

and adults, children’s books are the main focus. Owned by a former first grade teacher, Sidekick aims to foster an atmosphere where reading and learning are encouraged and children are welcomed. Every detail has been thoughtfully considered for the smallest of patrons—the hexagonal reading nooks are just right for tiny bodies to lounge and cozy up with a


good book, and the shop features creative and engaging storytime and multi-sensory experiences on a regular basis. One more unique feature? The cafe is a wifi-free zone Quarter Barrel Arcade and Brewery

in an effort to inspire person-to-person

616 2nd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids

connection, making it a great spot to

Another brewery on the kids’ list? Well,

spend quality, distraction-free time with

Quarter Barrel is part local brewery, part

your sidekick. BREAD & BUTTER 2020



Retail in Detail Local artisans making it easy to set the table.

Modela Owner Patti O’Neill partners with artisans in Oaxaca, Mexico to produce beautiful collections of home goods that marry traditional techniques with modern aesthetics. O’Neill travels regularly to Mexico to collaborate with her artisans and share the process, and brings back fresh goodies multiple times a year. Look for tabletop ceramics, hand-woven textiles and beeswax candles to dress up your dining table. Shop online or sign up for their newsletter to be notified of pop-up events. Tom Langdon Photographer and artisan Tom Langdon crafts food-grade serving boards from downed trees. Made from locally sourced walnut, cherry and hickory, these platters are the perfect neutral backdrop for an array of cheeses or snacks, but are equally elegant as stand-alone pieces.

Shumpei Yamaki Pottery Potter Shumpei Yamaki’s work is functional and stunning at once. Using traditional Japanese pottery techniques and wood-fire kilns, the resulting ceramics feel sophisticated yet earthy, and are sure to heighten the experience of your afternoon tea or bowl of ice cream.



Susan Shinnick people/susanshinnick Iowa City fiber artist Susan Shinnick brightens up the world of drab kitchen textiles. Using a patterned linen as a starting point, Shinnick overdyes the fabric in a range of hues to create vibrantly saturated napkins, placemats and aprons that bring a playful twist to your table. Find her on Etsy or visit her at the Iowa City Farmers Market.

105 S Dubuque St, Iowa City | (319) 519-2104 | ZAK NEUMANN






hese days, there’s very little difference—the words are pretty much used interchangeably. But that wasn’t always the case. Dinner has been the English word for the main meal of the day since the French word disner (which meant “a large meal”) entered the language in the 13th century. For centuries, that meal typically happened six to eight hours after sunrise, so dinner was the midday meal. There was a smaller meal at the end of day, whose name—supper—also made the jump from French in the 13th century. (The French soper literally meant “evening meal.”) But starting in the late 18th century, the Industrial Revolution brought an increasing regimentation to daily life, and time started to be measured by clocks instead of natural rhythms. Work moved away from the home, so fewer people could access their own kitchen for a large midday feast. The meal at the end of the workday became more substantial, and “dinner” moved into the early evening. The change happened in cities before the countryside, as Noah Webster’s 1828 definition of supper shows. “The dinner of fashionable people would be the supper of rustics,” he wrote. As for the now-smaller midday meal, a 16th-century word of uncertain origin for something eaten between big meals came in handy. The word? Lunch.



Urban Greens

of this strip mall restaurant

quettes, the fried catfish and the

makes it a great place for a din-

housemade ginger beer. Don’t

A purveyor of delicate micro-

ner date. Vino’s offers traditional

miss this Cedar Rapids secret.

greens and sprouts grown in a

Italian dishes executed well, a

hydroponic environment, Urban

full bar and an extensive wine

Walker Homestead

Greens expanded their offerings

list. Stop by RG Books’ lounge,

3867 James Ave SW, Iowa City,

to include a beautiful mix of

adjacent to Vino’s, after enjoying

beet, kale, cabbage, broccoli

your meal, for an after-dinner

This 85-acre farm is the perfect

and bok choy greens and other

drink and relax in comfy seating

backdrop to inspire an agricul-

lettuces. Find them at the Iowa

as jazz and blues music plays

tural educational experience. If

City Farmers Market and at local


you’re interested in growing a

grocers like New Pioneer Food

variety of foods, raising animals

Co-op, Bread Garden Market


and have an appreciation for

and Hy-Vee.

4100 River Ridge Dr NE,

farm life, fresh foods, culinary

Cedar Rapids,

sensations and good wines,


319-393-8727,, $$

Walker Farmstand is a destina-

849 Quarry Rd, Coralville,

Visit this casual cafe atmosphere

tion. The location also plays host


for your favorite Italian-Ameri-

to The Farmer’s Table, a sea-, $$

can dishes like pizza, pasta and

sonal dinner series that brings

Nestled in the Iowa River Land-

calzones, and a full bar.

farmers and diners to a common table. A newly added event and

ing, Vesta features Mediterranean-inspired cuisine and offers

Vivian’s Soul Fod

venue site makes it perfect for

both a gluten-free and dairy-free

2925 Williams Pkwy SW, Cedar

your next group gathering.

menu for those with dietary re-


strictions. The spacious patio is


The Wedge Pizzeria

a favorite perch during summer, $$

521 Highway 1 W, Iowa City,


This family-owned eatery serves


traditional Southern soul food, $$

Vineria Wine Shop

staples such as fried chicken

The Wedge offers takeout and

264 Blairs Ferry Road NE,

and collards. All Vivian’s meats

delivery of their many special-

Cedar Rapids,

are wood and charcoal smoked

ty pizzas, in addition to a few


every day for that real, down-

calzone options. Made with, $$$

home smoke flavor. Voted Best

local and organic ingredients

Snag a seat at the bar to

Soul Food in Little Village’s

whenever possible, the Wedge

partake in a guided tasting of

2019 Best of the CRANDIC

offers a large selection of

a wine flight paired with pizza


pizza for vegetarians and even offers a vegan cheese option.

or tapas. The flights feature up to 10 wines and include whites,

VUE Rooftop

If you’re searching for a pizza

reds and sparkling. Don’t be

328 S Clinton St Ste A, Iowa City,

with a taste all its own, try the

afraid to ask questions; the staff

319-519-4650,, $$

Nutcracker pizza. An enchanting

is knowledgeable about wines

Iowa City’s first high-rise rooftop

creation of cheese and peppers,

from around the world.

bar and restaurant, located in

the Nutcracker features basil

the newly built Hilton Garden

pesto and is topped with pista-

Vine Tavern and Eatery

Inn, offers primo views of down-

chios. It will change the way you

330 E Prentiss St, Iowa City,

town Iowa City and beyond. De-

look at pizza.


light in that superior feeling that

39 2nd St, Coralville, 319-338-7770,

washes over you while casually

West End Diner, $$

sipping a martini and dining on

809 6th Ave, Marion, 319-892-3012, $

Students and residents head to

steak 12 floors above all those

This bright and light eatery

the Vine for the bar food and

regular peons below. Voted Best

makes its home inside of a

daily food and drink specials.

View in Little Village’s 2019

restored historic building sur-

The Iowa City location has

Best of the CRANDIC awards.

rounded by a grassy lawn and

a more classic college-bar

string light-lit patio. If you stop

atmosphere, with dimmed

Wadadly’s Island Flavorz

by in the morning, opt for the

lighting and giant TVs, while

2000 Wiley Blvd SW, Ste 106,

Best Ever Breakfast Sandwich

the Coralville location is more

Cedar Rapids, 319-390-1600, $$

(a heaping, melting tower of

spacious and family friendly.

Sure there’s a burger and

deliciousness). And any hour of

chicken wings on the menu, but

the day suits an order of churros

Vino’s Ristorante

where can’t you find a burger

or the apple tart with crumble

3611 1st Ave SE, Cedar Rapids,

these days? What you’re really


319-363-7550,, $$

here for are the jerked chicken

The surprisingly intimate setting

and pork, the salmon cro-


The Whippy Dip

Wildwood Smokehouse

121 College Dr, Decorah,

and Saloon

563-382-4591, $

4919 Walleye Dr SE, Iowa City,

The Whippy Dip’s long lines


through the summer season are, $$$

a sure sign of the town’s love

Every saloon worth its sawdust

for this Decorah institution. Op-

needs a pool table and a dance

erational since 1954, you’ll find

floor, and Wildwood has both.

the standard ice cream shop

Don your best cowboy boots on

favorites as well as “Tornadoes,”

nights when the saloon offers

the Whippy Dip’s take on the

live music. And always bring

patented Dairy Queen Blizzard.

your appetite for the barbecue

STRENGTHEN The historic Englert Theatre and FilmScene on the ped mall


A state-of-the-art cinema and nurture our festivals


Our education, outreach, access, and collaboration efforts

dinners of smoked chicken, White Star Ale House

pulled pork, burnt ends, beef

305 2nd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids,

brisket, wings and, of course,


Texas toast., $$

A popular downtown hangout

Wilson’s Orchard and

with creative American food

Rapid Creek Cidery

and almost 100 beers available!

4823 Dingleberry Road NE,

White Star has daily specials

Iowa City, 319-354-5651,

and free late night entertain-, $$$

ment on Fridays and Saturdays.

Apples plucked right from the tree, hard apple cider, apple pies—you name it. When it

Featured listing

comes to apples, there are

Wild Culture Kombucha

myriad ways to savor Wilson’s

210 N Linn St, Iowa City,

Orchard. The u-pick farm is, $

open seasonally, while Wilson’s Rapid Creek Cidery is open year-round. The cidery serves brunch and dinner featuring upscale, New American cuisine, plus wine, beer and cider-centric

Building the


cocktails. Wig & Pen Pizza 1220 Highway 6 W, Iowa City, 319-354-2767 363 N 1st Ave, Iowa City, 319-351-2327

Iowa’s first kombucha taproom

201 Hwy 965 NE, North Liberty,

is open in downtown Iowa City!


We serve our own naturally, $$

brewed kombucha, plus all-local

Popular with families and sports

beer, wine, cider, mead, coffee,

fans, Wig & Pen is the perfect

tea and snacks. While you enjoy

spot for those looking for Chi-

your drinks, relax in our comfy

cago-style pizza in the Hawkeye

lounge area with one of our

state. Take a seat at the bar—all

board games, or grab a seat at

locations provide a classic pizze-

the bar and munch on our selec-

ria and pub atmosphere that will

tion of made-in-Iowa food.

make your day or evening more enjoyable. Try the popular Flying Tomato pizza. This award-winning thin crust pizza is cooked in a deep-dish pan with whole slices of tomato and flooded with a variety of cheeses. Voted Best


www.strengthen grow

Pizza in Little Village’s 2019 Best of the CRANDIC awards.



I’D LIKE TO JOIN A CSA, BUT... Rebuttals to four common concerns about CSAs. BY HELAINA THOMPSON


hopping for weekly produce at the farmers market is most certainly a noble endeavor, but becoming a CSA member is a true local-foods level-up. The CSA model asks members to pay in advance for a season of weekly vegetables (sort of like a magazine subscription), allowing farmers to finance their production prior to the growing season. This gives farmers some peace of mind amidst a dynamic market and changing climate. But yes, joining a CSA can be a big commitment. We sought advice from CSA members and their farmers for readers who may be thinking, “I’d like to join a CSA, but...”



It’s too much My kids food for won’t eat it! “You might be surprised,” says me and my Laura Krauss, farmer of Abbe Hills Farm. “Try giving kids raw partner to vegetables. Crunch helps.” manage. Being part of a CSA is a “Bringing home a heavy sack of beautiful veggies can be a bit daunting!” admits Clarity Guerrera, who, along with her partner, is a member of Bountiful Harvest Farm CSA. For smaller households, some CSAs offer half shares. Two families can also split a full share by alternating weeks. And because vegetables are often picked the same day that they are delivered, they will last in the refrigerator for over a week. “I like to wash everything I can right when I get home. This way, ingredients are ready to go all week,” Guerrera says. “Touching each veggie as I wash it helps me plan the week’s meals around certain ingredients.”

learning experience for children that extends beyond the kitchen—CSA members and their kids are encouraged to visit the farm, harvest produce and meet their farmers. Plus, kids love picking out vegetables for their families at weekly drop sites (and it’s a great way to practice colors and counting).

I feel bad about letting food go to waste if I don’t use it all up. If your CSA has a “buffet style” setup, you do not have to take what you don’t want or need. “At the end of each pick-up day, we donate any extra vegetables to a number of food pantries and food relief organizations in the area,” says Carmen Black, farmer of Local Harvest CSA. “So you can rest assured that if you just can’t take any more kale, the food you leave will not go to waste.” Many vegetables—including kale, peppers and tomatoes—can be frozen and saved for the colder months. And while produce is in season, farmer Laura Krauss logically recommends, “Eat more!”


CSA GUIDE About Field to Family: We envision a strong, community-based Eastern Iowa food system where people eat with the seasons, farmers make a living and our ecosystem is diverse, abundant, and healthy. Field to Family coordinates the Farm to School program, Farm Stands in Food Deserts, an online local farm listing and is launching a wholesale Food Hub that works to expand access to locally-grown food for more people in the community. Visit to learn more.

Abbe Hills Farm

Echollective Farm, LLC

Laura Krouse

Derek Roller and Molly Schintler

825 Abbe Hills Rd, Mount Vernon




Pick-up at Abbe Hills Farm, Thurs-

Pick-up locations: Iowa City


Farmers Market, Wednesdays 5-7 p.m., Saturdays 7:30 a.m.-12 p.m.;

Bountiful Harvest Farm

NewBo City Market, Thursdays

Angie Scharnhorst

5:30-6:30 p.m.

Solon Iowa Grown Market ZAK NEUMANN

A CSA is too expensive for me and my family.

A CSA share may not be in everyone’s budget, but before you rule it out based on your finances, check with the farmer. Many farmers are willing to work with members and offer a handful of “work-for-share” memberships. Payment plans are often available as well to those who prefer not to pay in full outright.


Garden Oasis, LLC

Terrance Holub

3262 York Ave, Coggon

Pick-up at Iowa City Farmers Mar-


ket, Wednesdays 5-7 p.m.

Buffalo Ridge Orchard

Pick-up locations: Collins Aero-

Marcus and Emma Johnson

space Recreation Center, Wednes-

1337 Rollins Rd, Central City

days 4-5 p.m.; Center Point Foods,


Wednesdays 1-8 p.m.; Coggon

Market & Catering, Wednesdays

12:30-7 p.m.; Iowa City Farmers

Pick-up locations: Hiawatha Mar-

Market, Saturdays 7:30 a.m.-12

ket, Sundays 10-1 p.m.; Iowa City

p.m.; 2003 206th St, Indepen-

Farmers Market, Wednesday 5-7

dence, Wednesdays 3:30-5 p.m.;

p.m.; Dubuque Farmers Market,

Garden Oasis, Wednesdays and

Saturdays, 8 a.m. - 12 p.m., Buffalo

Thursdays 1-5 p.m.

Ridge, Saturdays 9 a.m. -2 p.m. Honorable Farm Cultivate Hope Urban Farm

Kyle Laws

Zach D’Amico

Walker Homestead

437 G Ave NW, Cedar Rapids

3867 James Ave SW, Iowa City




Pick-up at Walker Homestead,

Pickup location: Cultivate Hope

Sundays 12-5 p.m.

Urban Farm, Thursdays 4-7 p.m.





Iowa Grown Market

Sundog Farm/Local Harvest CSA

Bethany Fischer and

Carmen Black

Vincent Waters

5025 120th St NE, Solon

2613 Newport Rd, Solon



Pick-up locations: 926 5th St SE,

Pick-up at Iowa Grown Market.

Cedar Rapids, Mondays 5-6 p.m.;

Delivery available in West Branch

131 N Market St. Solon, Mondays 5-6 p.m.; Sundog Farm, Mon-

Kroul Farms

days after 4 p.m.; North Liberty

Matt Kroul

Community Pantry 5-6 p.m., Mc-

245 Hwy 1 S, Mount Vernon

Donough Structures, 340 Highland

Ave, Iowa City, Thursdays 5:15-6:30


319-895-8944 Pick-up at Kroul Farms Wednes-

Trowel and Error Farm

day-Friday; delivery within 20

Carly McAndrews and

miles of farm

Bryant Mann 4811 Melrose Ave, Iowa City

The Millet Seed Farm


Jon Yagla

S 7th Ave, Iowa City


Pick up locations: Raygun Iowa

City, Wednesdays 4:30-5:45 p.m.;

1200 10th St NW, Cedar Rapids,

Pick-up at The Millet Seed, Tues-

Wednesdays, 6-7:30 p.m.; Marion

days or Fridays, 5-6:30 p.m.

Public Library, 6:45-7:45 p.m..; Trowel and Error, Wednesdays,

Morning Glory Farm

4-6 p.m.

Donna Warhover 681 Hwy 1 S, Mount Vernon

Wild Woods Farm


Kate Edwards

4065 245th St NE, Solon


Pick-up locations: Back In Line

Chiropractic, Hiawatha, Mondays

4–5:30 p.m.; Iowa City Farmers

Pick-up locations: McDonough

Market, Wednesdays 5-7 p.m.; Mer-

Structures, 340 Highland Ave,

cy Medical Center, Cedar Rapids,

Iowa City, Mondays 5:15-6:15 p.m.;

Thursdays 3-4 p.m.; Morning Glory

Wild Woods Farm, Thursdays

Farm, Thursdays 4–6 p.m.

5:30-6:30 p.m.; Solon Dairy Queen, Thursdays after 4 p.m.; Coralville,

Rainbow Roots Farm

Mondays 4-5 p.m.; Pearson, Thurs-

Corbin Scholz

days 3:30-4:15 p.m.

3167 Rapid Creek Trail, Iowa City 319-331-3991 Pick-up at Rainbow Roots, Mondays or Thursdays, 4-7 p.m.













A few tricks for identifying local on the menu


You want to support a food system



that creates and retains jobs in


agriculture, enhances our environ-


ment and keeps food dollars in our


local economy, so how can you tell


if a restaurant or cafeteria includes food sourced from local farmers? FROM THE IOWA DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE AND LAND STEWARDSHIP


Check out the chart above for a comprehensive list of fruit and vegetable grow seasons

in our region. Learn what grows


Check the menu. Does it reflect the season or is it the same menu year-round? If it’s the

same year-round, the seasonality


Ask your server! Iowa farmers raise livestock for meat and dairy, and grow fruits, mush-

rooms, vegetables, grains, legumes

in Iowa and when. If you’re eating

of foods probably does not influ-

and herbs. Even it if is specified on

tomatoes in January rather than

ence their menu choices.

the menu, ask if they are currently

July, August or September, those

using their crops. “Who is your

tomatoes are most likely not local.

produce farmer? Where do you

If you’re eating a strawberry in

get your Iowa pork? Are these

June, it might be from a local

mushrooms grown in Iowa?” Don’t

farmer! Peppers in the spring? No.

be afraid to get the details. If they

Sweet potatoes in May? Probably

can’t name a farm or a farmer, ask

not local, unless stored from the

them if they work with a local food

winter. Asparagus in May? Could

distribution hub, such as Field to

be local!

Family’s Food Hub. If the answer


Encourage them to source seasonal local foods for their menus. Chefs want to make

their customers happy. If you want local, let them know!


is “no,” they are most likely getting


their food from non-local sources.




AWARDED BEST PUB 2015, 2016 & 2018

Yumei’s 901 1st Ave SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-378-2910, $$

Offering an excellent selection of fresh Asian produce that is hard to find anywhere else in Cedar Rapids, this Asian grocer stocks a wide selection of fresh and frozen grocery items at great prices. Yummy Restaurant 119 E Washington St, Iowa City, 319-569-2989, $

The self-serve buffet at Yummy includes both a hot bar and cold bar stocked with Chinese, Japanese and American dishes. The real draws, though, are the Asian desserts. Choose between iced sweet rice soup, mango sago, brown sugar milk tea, Thai rolled ice cream and more. Yotopia Frozen Yogurt 132 S Clinton St, Iowa City, 319-338-0500, $

This is downtown Iowa City’s only locally owned frozen yogurt shop. Whether you like your froyo sweet or tart, Yotopia has you covered. A wide variety of flavor options combined with a massive selection of candy toppings will keep your taste buds guessing every time you stop in. Zeppelins Bar and Grill 5300 Edgewood Rd Ste 500,


Cedar Rapids, 319-393-3047,, $$

Find upscale casual dining with in a contemporary ambience at Zeppelins. Their menu includes all of the expected American staples with a few notable standouts (like the Parmesan Fries) and great happy hour deals. Zombie Burger


1451 Coral Ridge Ave, Coralville, 319-625-2252,, $

With a menu made for horror movie fans, Zombie Burger offers several options for their creative burgers. Stop by and grab one of their impressive burgers with a shake and split a meal while out at Coral Ridge Mall.

fresh • local • organic 201 Third Ave. SW, Cedar Rapids • • 319-200-2791 Open Monday-Friday 7 am - 2 pm • Follow us on social media @crgroundswell 110