Marquee Pizzeria & Bar brings a “Brooklyn meets Little Italy” atmosphere, communal dining and brick oven pizza to the Iowa River Landing this fall.
From their tables, guests will watch Neapolitan-style thin-crust pizzas crisp in the brick oven, which is on its way to Coralville from Medina, Italy. There will be 10-12 pizzas on the menu topped with simple, quality ingredients including both local and imported specialty products and multiple sauces.
The menu will also include classic appetizers like meatballs, charcuterie, cheese boards and burrata (mozzarella infused with cream.) Salads, sandwiches and hearty family-style entrees like spaghetti and meatballs will round out Marquee’s offerings.
They will serve dinner until 10 or 11 p.m. and stay open for drinks until bar close. Live music and happy hour are part of the picture, but the owners hope to maintain more of a casual restaurant vibe than a bar feel.
Co-owner Sam Hall said the communal dining concept came first, and pizza was a logical way to make that happen with the bonus of nostalgic appeal, taking guests back to meals shared with family and friends.
“We really want everything to kind of be shared throughout your table. So if you have four friends, you order four or five different things, everything is kind of shared, everyone has a little bit of each.”
The high-backed bar will be a central focal point, stocked with a wall of spirits including specialty products and Italian liqueurs. The bar program will focus on beer and cocktails, but will also offer wine with a focus on Italian producers. Like the food, the cocktails will emphasize classics (like Old Fashioneds, Aviations and daiquiris) but also include surprise elements like mezcal and Malört.
The empty space is a blank canvas, and the owners will keep some of its current industrial character (high, exposed ceilings and concrete floors) and add brick finishes, Italian terra cotta tile and custom cabinetry and woodwork.
Partners Hall, Ravi Patel, Raj Patel and Sajni Patel have collaborated in the hotel industry but this is their first joint foray as restaurant co-owners. Hall, whose restaurant experience includes a stint as general manager of Blackstone, presented the idea to the other partners.
Hall said he has seen potential in the Iowa River Landing since he moved to the neighborhood early on in its development. When Trader Joe’s announced it was coming to the area, he felt it was a good time to lend his vision to the expanding scene.