Banditos, Stella owners collaborate on new restaurant to open in December

Located in the former Lou Henri, Ride will have a completely different look due to extensive renovations to the building. — photo by Adam Burke

The Iowa City dining scene continues to grow, and joining the lineup of new and soon-to-open eateries is Ride, a bike-themed restaurant on the corner of Iowa Avenue and Dodge Street.

Brothers Derek (owner of Banditos and co-owner of Short’s East Side) and Kevin Perez (co-owner of Short’s, Short’s East Side and Stella), along with Tom “Roc” Kemmerer (co-owner of Short’s East Side), are behind the restaurant that is set to open in December.

Ride is taking over the former space of Sunny’s and Lou Henri, though it will look quite different. The owners have completely renovated the inside of the building, including painting the interior and exterior; replacing all the flooring; new ceilings and remodeled bathrooms. The decor will play on the restaurant’s name by incorporating restored classic bicycles and other bike-themed memorabilia.

The exterior of the building has also seen some changes with a fresh coat of brick-red paint and a fence made of wood and corrugated metal around the outdoor patio space. In the warmer months, the patio will sell à la carte items like coffee, pastries and breakfast foods that will be easy to pick-up on the go.

While the details of the restaurant’s menu are still being decided, Kevin says that it will have a “diner feel,” and Derek describes cuisine as a “regional take on comfort food,” and they plan to use organic, local ingredients when possible.

“We’re not really foodies, but we like to eat. We like good food and we like good products,” said Kevin. “If food is fresh, it doesn’t necessarily need to be expensive.”

Ride already plans to source its pork from a farm in Waterloo and eggs from Kalona. Van Houzen Brewing Company in Newton will brew a beer specifically for Ride to pour at their full bar.

“We want to use Iowa products to the greatest extent that we can,” says Derek. “It’s a collaborative effort.”

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