Need a rest stop? Try one of these trailside, parkside and lakeside restaurants for a cool drink, quick snack or heaping scoop of ice cream.
1. The Pedalers Fork
Off of Cedar River Trail
2010 Sylvia Ave NE, Cedar Rapids
You’ll deserve a stop at the Pedalers Fork after that climb! Nestled on a hill, their large menu includes everything from burgers, salads and tacos, to mac and cheese bowls and six different types of nachos. Enjoy regular specials and an extensive tap beer and cocktail selection while you watch the trail traffic from the shaded patio out back. If you find yourself riding by on a Sunday morning, check out their extensive brunch buffet.
2. Sag Wagon
Off of Cedar Lake Loop
827 Shaver Rd NE, Cedar Rapids
On any given sunny summer day, the Sag Wagon is a cyclist hot spot. The spacious outdoor area is sprinkled with picnic tables, adirondack chairs, a sand volleyball court, firepit, and various yard games. Its convenient location on the trail means you won’t be the only one wearing spandex biking shorts.
3. Clock House Brewing
Off of Cedar River Trail
600 1st St SE, Cedar Rapids
Clock House Brewing has something for every type of beer drinker–even the nonbeer drinkers! Their rotating line-up consists of light lagers, dark porters, hazy IPAs and sours. You’ll also find guest ciders, wines and selters in the rotation. Their neighbors at Black Sheep Social Club are responsible for the appetizers and quick bites on the menu, even serving their crowd favorite duck fat fries.
Off of Cedar River Trail, near Osborn Park
203 16th Ave SE, Cedar Rapids
Grab a seat at the large outdoor area, or if you’re lucky, perhaps the swingset table will be unoccupied! Kickstand’s spacious outdoor seating and Bottoms Up draft system make this a regular stop among cyclists. Their food menu includes a large selection of appetizers, pizzas, burgers, sandwiches and wraps. They even serve breakfast for those early morning riders.
5. The Shack Tavern
Off of Cedar River Trail, near the Roller Dam
2545 Old River Rd SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-366-3629
The Shack Tavern is tucked on a gravel road, not far from the trail. Enjoy great views of the Cedar River from their tiki bar, grain bin bar or their front patio while enjoying a housemade lemon press drink—the perfect thirst quencher. Also a popular motorcycle bar, there’s room for two types of bikers here.
6. House Divided Brewery
Off of Cedar Valley Nature Trail, near Ely City Park
1620 Dows St, Ely
Like its hometown, House Divided Brewery is small but mighty, with plenty of space to park your bike. They have several of their own beers on tap, as well as various seltzers, ciders and wine, and you’re served a basket of popcorn to accompany your beverage. If the popcorn isn’t enough to tide you over, their menu has quick bites and bar food favorites. (Read a review.)
7. Big Grove Solon Brewpub
Near Lake Macbride Trail
101 W Main St, Solon
Like its bigger, younger brother in Iowa City, Big Grove’s Solon Brewpub is known for its relaxed environment, signature beer and diverse menu. You can sit outside on their back patio or soak up the air conditioning and cozy atmosphere indoors while enjoying everything from comfort food to small bites.
8. Bobber’s Grill
On the Coralville Lake, near Lake Macbride State Park
850 Scales Bend Rd NE, North Liberty
Dock your boat or park your RV and enjoy a snack lakeside. The social center of the Scales Pointe marina and campground, Bobber’s Grill is both a general store and a watering hole, surrounded by excellent views, picnic tables, a playground and plenty of space to play and wander.
9. Club 76 The Lodge
2349 Mehaffey Bridge Rd NE A, North Liberty, 319-626-6046
The Lodge serves cold beer, throws a mean steak night and caters to a crowd of local veterans, campers, boaters, Harley drivers and cyclists — all the folks who cross paths while enjoying the Iowa River and Macbride Nature Recreation Area on a summer day. Sunday Fundays featuring CR rock band the Surf Zombies begin June 12.
10. Ramen Belly
Near Iowa River Trail, Iowa River Corridor Trail
1010 Martin St, Iowa City
Ramen Belly opened last spring in IC’s picturesque Peninsula Neighborhood, serving up a light meal to dog owners visiting the nearby Thornberry Off-Leash Dog Park, and the runners, bikers and Frisbee golfers that coalesce in Peninsula Park. Refuel with short ribs, pot stickers, classic ramen and even ramen in a blanket — ramen noodles nestled in between two tonkatsu filets. (Read a review.)
11. Jon’s Ice Cream and Restaurant
Off historic Hiawatha Pioneer Trail
231 W Marengo Rd, Tiffin, 319-545-2558
Come on, grab some ice cream — you’ve earned it! Jon’s is the perfect summer stop (and drive-through) after a hike in Kent Park or game in Tiffin City Park. The historic business has an extensive menu of soft-serve and hand-dipped ice cream, novelty desserts (a massive “trash can sundae” with gummy worms! Cheesecake on a stick!), fried appetizers and sandwiches.
Emma McClatchey contributed to this article, originally published in Little Village issue 307.