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Best of the CRANDIC 2022: The winners!



Nearly 100 years after the CRANDIC train route first started running between Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, Little Village presents the fifth annual reader-selected Best of the CRANDIC awards, celebrating the best of the region.

Little Village readers cast their votes in 100 categories from Aug. 1–Sept. 30. They were also given the opportunity to explain why their choice is best; some of those answers are included throughout, including some bonus shout-outs at the end.

Now let’s reveal the winners!

Food & Drink

Best Wine Selection 🏆

Brix Cheese Shop and Wine Bar

209 N Linn St, Iowa City
brixcheeseshop.com

Brix Cheese Shop and Wine Bar in Iowa City’s Northside. — Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

Runner-up: John’s Grocery

 

Best Beer Selection 🏆

Big Grove Brewery

101 W Main St, Solon
1225 S Gilbert St, Iowa City
biggrove.com

They don’t just do IPAs. They have a good brown and other darker ales. —Michelle K.

Summer Jam is my new jam. —Brian D.

Mixtape Vol.1, a golden ale from Big Grove. — Lily DeTaeye/Little Village

Runner-up: John’s Grocery

 

Best Middle Eastern/Mediterranean Cuisine or Market 🏆

Oasis Falafel

206 N Linn St, Iowa City
319-358-7342
oasisfalafel.com

That hummus and its undeniable tastiness… #homersimpsondrooling —Andrea T.

Oasis Falafel owners Naftaly Stramer and Ofer Sivan in front of their Northside Iowa City restaurant in 2020. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Runner-up: Cortado

 

Best South Asian Cuisine or Market (India, Pakistan, etc.) 🏆

Masala Indian Cuisine

9 S Dubuque St, Iowa City
319-338-6199
masalaindiancuisine.site

Manny Ram, owner of Masala — Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

Runner-up: Exotic India

 

Best Atmosphere 🏆

Goosetown

203 N Linn St, Iowa City
319-351-1924
goosetownic.com

Runner-up: Rodina

 

Most Innovative Menu 🏆

Rodina

1507 C St SW, Cedar Rapids
319-200-2515
rodinaiowa.com

Everything that can possibly be sourced within 25 miles of the restaurant…is. —Seth R.

Love taking my parents there because dad always whines about the food naming and my bonus mom loves how fresh things are. It’s also a nice place to treat my mom to as it’s still pretty affordable for the quality of food provided. —Kayla M.

Runner-up: The Webster

 

Best Restaurant for a First Date 🏆

Rodina

Rodina serves its dishes family style. — Jav Ducker/Little Village

Runner-up: Pullman Bar & Diner

 

Best Barbecue 🏆

Mosley’s Barbecue and Provisions

525 S Gilbert St, Iowa City (location closing)
125 E Zeller St, North Liberty

Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

Runner-up: Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack

 

Best Sushi 🏆

Oyama Sushi & Steakhouse

5350 Council St NE F, Cedar Rapids, 319-832-1800
oyamasushi.com

Runner-up: Soseki

 

Best East/Southeast Asian Cuisine or Market (China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, etc.) 🏆

Thai Flavors

340 E Burlington St, Iowa City
319-339-8900
thaiflavors.net

Wide range of spice levels, great service, and consistent dishes! —Nolan P.

Fast, consistent, amazing and *leftovers*. —Alice V.

Runner-up: Thai Spice

 

Best Produce 🏆

New Pioneer Co-op

1101 2nd St, Coralville
319-358-5513
newpi.coop

22 S Van Buren St, Iowa City
319-338-9441

3338 Center Point Rd NE, Cedar Rapids
319-365-2632

Super clean with a great selection of curated products. Shopping here is always quick and easy. —Kelly S.

Runner-up: Buffalo Ridge Orchard

 

Best Late-Night Food 🏆

Burgers from George’s Buffet

17 S Dubuque St, Iowa City
319-351-9614

George’s burger. — Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

Runner-up: Marco’s Grilled Cheese

 

Best Restaurant to Cure Your Hangover 🏆

Bluebird Cafe

650 W Cherry St #9, North Liberty
319-626-2603
bluebird.cafe

112 E Main St, Solon
319-624-2031

Bluebird Diner

330 E Market St, Iowa City
319-351-1470

Bluebird Diner in Iowa City’s Northside. — Jav Ducker/Little Village

Runner-up: Hamburg Inn

 

Best Breakfast/Brunch 🏆

Dandy Lion

111 S Dubuque St, Iowa City
319-358-6400
thedandylionic.com

Most consistently crispy hashbrowns in the area. —Adam Z.

The Lodger Special! The cakes! —Andrea T.

Dandy Lion in Iowa City’s Ped Mall, November 2022. — Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

Runner-up: Bluebird Cafe

 

Best Pub Food 🏆

Micky’s Irish Pub

11 S Dubuque St, Iowa City
319-338-6860
mickysirishpub.com

720 Pacha Pkwy #8, North Liberty (New location!)
319-626-2201

Those pretzel bites tho. —Madde H.

Runner-up: Shakespeare’s

 

Best Grocery Store 🏆

New Pioneer Co-op

Runner-up: John’s Grocery

 

Best CSA (community-supported agriculture)

Rainbow Roots Farm

3167 Rapid Creek Trail NE, Iowa City
rainbowrootsfarm.com

Serving both Iowa City & Cedar Rapids, Corbin [Scholz] and her crew utilize sustainable farming practices to grow a great variety of produce every week—including the tastiest tomatoes and melons I’ve ever had. They also partner with Sunrise Movement Cedar Rapids to provide produce to local food pantries. —Bridget W.

Their produce is always excellent and the workers are easy to work with. Whenever we have a question it is answered with knowledge and patience. They are the best! —Maureen W.

Rainbow Roots is growing food with sustainable farming methods and is women-owned! —Darrow C.

I can’t say no to this big veg energy. —Clarity G.

Real organic and beautiful generous CSA shares! —Beth B.

Sustainable practices, wonderful produce, women owned and women make up the crew. —Lynn G.

Rainbow Roots Farm, courtesy of Corbin Scholz

Runner-up: Echollective

 

Best Place for a Business Lunch 🏆

Pullman Bar and Diner

17 S Dubuque St, Iowa City
319-338-1808
pullmandiner.com

I really feel like Pullman’s was the one that started the big Iowa City restaurant revival. —Melanie M.

This is always my first choice for brunch due to the great vibes, hospitality, and the mimosas!! —Vanessa C.

Pot stickers. Enough said. —Dylan P.

Pot stickers are to die for. —Riley O.

People eat dinner at Pullman Bar and Diner, 17 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, July 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Runner-up: Goosetown

 

Best Seafood 🏆

St. Burch Tavern

127 Iowa Ave, Iowa City
319-341-7700
saintburchtavern.com

Runner-up: Rodina

 

Best Farmers Market Vendor 🏆

Over the Moon Farm and Flowers

Delaware County
overthemoonfarmandflowers.com

Shae and Anna run a fabulous farm. They provide top-class products that are locally grown for their community. They really care for their livestock and make sure the farm-to-table can remain a local option. —Christine S.

They go the extra extra mile to deliver their incredible products from beautiful flowers to their beef, pork and poultry. They are quite Over the Moon!! —Roger H.

The meat is fantastic and the flowers are beautiful and fresh! The owners are amazing women! —Denise H.

This local couple brings gorgeous flowers, produce and happy animals to the local scene. —Phoebe C.

Runner-up: Feedwell Kitchen and Bakery

 

Best Cold Treats 🏆

Heyn’s Ice Cream

25 E Cherry St, North Liberty
319-665-2249
heynsicecream.com

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

Runner-up: Yotopia

 

Best Liquor Store 🏆

John’s Grocery

401 E Market St, Iowa City
319-337-2183
johnsgrocery.com

The best selection I’ve ever seen, and I just moved here from Phoenix. —Brian D.

Everyone is helpful and not creepy or pretentious. —Alice V.

Images of John and Erma Alberhasky on the walls of John’s Grocery. — Sid Peterson/Little Village

Runner-up: Benz Beverage Depot

 

Best Restaurant Staff 🏆

Pullman Bar and Diner

Simple. I can personally vouch that everyone there has a passion for what they do. Supporting each other and ensuring the best possible service and establishing a new standard in the restaurant industry for service and a knowledgeable staff. —Riley O.

Never a bad experience, friendly, knowledgeable, helpful, passionate about their job. —Tami K.

Runner-up: The Webster

 

Best Latin/South American Cuisine or Market 🏆

La Regia Taqueria

436 Hwy 1 W, Iowa City
319-341-8226
laregiaia.com

Fish tacos with your choice of hot sauces. Si si! —Dan D.

La Regia Taqueria, Iowa City, 2019 — Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

Runner-up: Mesa 503

 

Best Restaurant for Delivery/Takeout 🏆

Thai Flavors

Runner-up: Blue Elephant

 

Best Craft Brewery 🏆

Big Grove Brewery

Runner-up: Lion Bridge Brewing Company

 

Best Vegan Options 🏆

Trumpet Blossom Cafe

310 E Prentiss St, Iowa City
319-248-0077
trumpetblossom.com

Trumpet Blossom never fails to deliver amazing vegan foods to a city which needs more of them. Nearly everyone I bring there (vegan or not) demands to go back a few weeks later. The combination of flavorful, unique dishes with stellar cocktails is truly a game-changer. —Kyle B.

I dream of those sweet potato fries with their maple cayenne aioli…. —Bridget W.

First place we ate the day we arrived. Always excellent. —Brian D.

That patio with the sound of the creek and the beautiful mural by Thomas Argan. **Chefs kiss** Reuben me. —Jessica S.

Trumpet Blossom’s
Rainbow Bowl — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Runner-up: Oasis Falafel

 

Best Soul Food 🏆

Vivian’s Soul Food

2925 Williams Pkwy SW, Cedar Rapids
319-396-2229
vivianssoulfoodcr.com

Briana Smallwood shows off the Sunday menu at Vivian’s Soul Food in Cedar Rapids. — Jav Ducker/Little Village

Runner-up: Sugapeach Chicken and Fish Fry

 

Best Chicken Wings 🏆

Pullman Bar and Diner

Runner-up: The Vine

 

Best Pizza 🏆

A & A Pagliai’s Pizza

302 E Bloomington St, Iowa City
319-351-5073
pagliaisic.com

Consistently wonderful food and service. —Lori M.

Pagliai’s Pizza in Iowa City — Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

Runner-up: Wig and Pen

 

Best Burger 🏆

Short’s Burgers

521 Westbury Dr, Iowa City
319-338-7743
eastside.shortsburger.com

Runner-up: Pullman Bar and Diner

 

Best Doughnuts 🏆

Donutland

1681 S 1st Ave, Iowa City
319-338-1429

4307 Center Point Rd NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402
319-393-0735

Classic donuts that don’t need a million toppings to hit the spot. —Kelly S.

Donutland donuts — Genevieve Trainor/Little Village

Runner-up: Hurts Donuts

 

Best Appetizers/Small Plates 🏆

Goosetown

Runner-up: Rodina

 

Best European Cuisine or Market 🏆

Baroncini Ristorante Italiano

104 S Linn St, Iowa City
319-337-2048
baroncinirestaurant.com

Baroncini Ristorante Italiano and Pizza took home third place for People’s Choice Best Entrée. — Adria Carpenter/Little Village

Runner-up: Basta

 

Best Gluten-Free-Friendly Options 🏆

Trumpet Blossom Cafe

Runner-up: Monica’s

 

Best Bartender 🏆

Nancy Persoon

Nancy Persoon, bartender at Joystick Comedy Arcade. — Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

Runners-up: Roxie Mess, Carlos at Deadwood

 

Best Local Farm 🏆

Wilson’s Orchard and Farm

4823 Dingleberry Rd NE #1, Iowa City, 319-354-5651
wilsonsorchard.com

This place is gorgeous, has great food and cider! —Autymn O.

Alaina Wilson snips tulips. – Adria Carpenter/Little Village

Runner-up: Rainbow Roots Farm

 

Best Cocktail Menu 🏆

Pullman Bar and Diner

Very caring, passionate, crew and customers are #1. Very knowledgeable in the drinks being served. —Tami K.

Runner-up: Rodina

 

Best Patio/Outdoor Dining 🏆

Big Grove Brewery, Iowa City

People sort through vinyls at the Big Grove Vinyl Market on Saturday, April 9, 2022. The event included stock from Iowa retailers Bog’s Vinyl, No Skip Records, Nate’s Record Resale, Sweet Livin’ Antiques and Vinyl Underground Garage. — Jason Smith/Little Village

Runner-up: Northside Iowa City

 

Best Bakery 🏆

Deluxe Cakes and Pastries

812 S Summit St, Iowa City
319-338-5000
deluxeiowa.com
Best cakes, amazing croissants and sandwiches! —Anne G.

Their baguettes and croissants are outstanding! Very authentic. —Melanie M.

Photos by Tiffani Green, illustration by Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

Runner-up: Local Crumb Bakery

 

Best African Cuisine or Market 🏆

I Love Fufu

230 E Benton St, Iowa City
319-499-8189
ilovefufuiowacity.com

I Love Fufu — Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

Runner-up: Tee’s Liberian Dish (closed)

 

Best Tacos 🏆

La Regia Taqueria

436 Hwy 1 W, Iowa City
319-341-8226
laregiaia.com

Runner-up: Perez Family Tacos

 

Best Restaurant to Take Your Parents To 🏆

Pullman Bar and Diner

Runner-up: Rodina

 

Best Catering 🏆

Oasis Falafel

Runner-up: Feedwell Kitchen and Bakery

 

Best Use of Local Ingredients 🏆

Trumpet Blossom Cafe

Runner-up: Rodina

 

Best Fries 🏆

Oasis Falafel

Runners-up: Nodo, Big Grove Brewery

 

Best Chef 🏆

Sam Charles at Rodina

Rodina owners Phoebe and Samuel Charles with bartender David Basinger in 2019. — Jav Ducker/Little Village

Runner-up: Matthew Prince

 

Best Food-Scene Game-Changer 🏆

The Webster

202 N Linn St, Iowa City
319-800-0720
thewebsteric.com

The best fine dining and feel in Iowa City. Amazing local sourcing and awesome food! Rian has the most incredible knowledge and collection of wine! —Ryan W.

Inventive, but not fringe. Delicious, but not predictable. High end, but not arrogant. [The staff are] Queer, quality, quirky queens — the lot of them. Enjoyed every time I’ve stepped foot in that space. —Nolan P.

The Webster in Iowa City’s Northside Neighborhood features an open kitchen. — Adria Carpenter/Little Village

Runner-up: Rodina

 

Best Coffeehouse 🏆

Press Coffee

1120 N Dodge St, Iowa City
319-887-1500
presscoffeeco.com

Always quality drinks and the folks who work there seem to want to be there. :) —Michelle K.

Two patios. . . . TWO PATIOS. —Katie F.

Press Coffee in Iowa City, June 30, 2021. — Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

Runner-up: Cortado

 

Best Dive Bar 🏆

George’s Buffet

The horseradish sting you can’t get anywhere else. —Adam Z.

A true classic. —Phoebe C.

George’s, 312 E Market St, Iowa City, in November 2021. — Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

Runner-up: Deadwood

 

Goods & Services

Best Bookstore 🏆

Prairie Lights Books

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

prairielights.com
The recommendations. That new book smell. A coffee shop! Infinite little gifts. The portrait postcards! The street view. Prairie Lights is the bookstore of my dreams. —Katrina A.

Sasha LaPointe holds a reading and Q/A session for her new book, “Red Paint,” at Prairie Lights, on Thursday, April 7, 2022. — Adria Carpenter/Little Village

Runner-up: Haunted Bookshop

 

Best Locally Made Product 🏆

Oasis Street Food hummus

oasisstreetfood.com

courtesy of Oasis Street Food

Runner-up: Old Capitol Tofu

 

Best Vintage or Consignment Store 🏆

Found + Formed

65 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids
319-438-2727

foundandformedshop.com
Best selection, coolest folks, big, big love!! —Phoebe C.

Found + Formed — courtesy of John MacDougall Jr.

Runner-up: Revival

 

Best Musical Instrument Store 🏆

West Music

1212 5th St, Coralville
319-351-2000
westmusic.com

1398 Twixt Town Rd, Marion
319-377-9100

Does anybody else even sell clarinets? —Jason S.

West Music has the best customer service and best musical accessory selection in Iowa! —Sue O.

Their knowledgeable staff and extensive inventory are suitable for both the novice and experienced performer. —Lori M.

West Music in Coralville, 1212 5th St. — Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

Runner-up: Iowa City Musician’s Pro Shop

 

Best Store to Splurge on Yourself At 🏆

Revival

117 E College St, Iowa City
319-337-4511
revivaliowacity.com

Customers shop during the reopening of Revival on the Ped Mall on Thursday, Nov. 11, 2021. — Adria Carpenter/Little Village

Runner-up: White Rabbit

 

Best Antique Store 🏆

Artifacts

331 E Market St, Iowa City
319-358-9617
artifacts-iowacity.com

Hole-in-the-wall gem filled with excellent finds. —Erin N.

A wide variety of antiques at a range of prices. Great selection of art, furniture, decor, clothing, and more! —Autymn O.

Not only is the staff great (love Emma) but the finds are UNREAL! You can find something niche and silly, or you can find functional everyday needs! —Brooke T.

The staff at Artifacts stand in the doorway separating their old space to their new addition. November 2020. — Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

Runner-up: Crowded Closet Thrift Shop

 

Best Hair Salon 🏆

Hare Parlor

217 N Gilbert St, Iowa City
319-351-4383
hareparlor.com

Runner-up: Honeybee Hair Parlor

 

Best Store for Gift Shopping 🏆 TIE!

Prairie Kitchen Store

160 N Linn St, Iowa City
319-519-6414
prairiekitchenstore.com

White Rabbit

112 S Linn St, Iowa City
319-358-9557
white-rabbit-shop.myshopify.com

Always has fun items with plenty of local artist goods! —Kailyn C.

Never fail to find something interesting, clever or out-of-the ordinary. —Kelly S.

These folks have been at it awhile now and it just keeps getting better! —Jessica S.

White Rabbit in November 2022. — Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

 

Best Retail Staff 🏆

Crowded Closet Thrift Shop

851 Hwy 6 E, Unit 101, Iowa City
319-337-5924
crowdedcloset.org

Everyone is super nice, and they welcome everyone. —Ivy M.

Fun experience to volunteer! —Connie S.

Great people to work with! It provides a great service/need locally while also helping those in need worldwide. Not many organizations can do that. —Rebecca B.M.

Neatest, cleanest, cheapest and most friendly of all thrift shops. —Norma R.

So clean and beautifully arranged/displayed. Does NOT look like a thrift store. —Vi G.

Never know what you might find; it’s a treasure! —Marv R.

Crowded Closet staff in November 2022. — Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

Runner-up: Revival

 

Most Unique Shop 🏆

Critical Hit Games

115 S Linn St, Iowa City
319-333-1260
criticalhitgames.net

We have a very welcoming community! I started playing MtG again to make friends and find a community, and I’m glad I found Critical Hit Games! —Caio B.

This shop is so many things for so many different people. It’s easily one of the best additions to Iowa City. It’s a place for people to hang out, play games, buy goods. They even have snacks and drinks for sale. There are a plethora of things to purchase as well. From trading cards to video games and board games, they have so much. They even have an arcade for patrons to use. Chance, the owner of the store is awesome. He’s funny, nice and he makes you want to spend all the time in the world there. It’s always been a safe place for me to go and hangout, and it really shaped my childhood. They deserve this recognition! —Elianno B.

Ready for play! Familiar mats adorn the gaming tables at Critical Hit. — Talitha Ford/Little Village

Runner-up: Crowded Closet Thrift Shop

 

Best New Business Opened in the Last Year 🏆

Joystick Comedy Arcade

13 S Linn St, Iowa City
playatjoystick.com

Runners-up: Indigo River & Co, The Green House

 

Arts & Entertainment

Best Place for a Cheap Date 🏆

Joystick Comedy Arcade

Runner-up: George’s Buffet

 

Best Local Podcast 🏆

Rock Hard Caucus

rockhardcauc.us

The ‘Rock Hard Caucus’ crew — courtesy of Justin Comer

Runners-up: Best Show Ever, Aloe Mean’s Green Room

 

Best Free Fun 🏆

Joystick Comedy Arcade’s Open Mic Monday

Runner-up: Friday Night Concert Series

 

Best Local Artist 🏆

Orlando Hammond

DJ at EDEN Lounge

Always welcoming to make the party get started! —Sebastian A.

He brings a lot of energy during his sets, keeps me dancin’, and has a good mix of songs in his arsenal. —Austin S.

Runner-up: Kevin Burt

 

Best Local Band 🏆

The Dandelion Stompers

dandelionstompers.com

Dandelion Stompers — Miriam Alarcón Avila

Runner-up: The Awful Purdies

 

Best Local Author 🏆

Rachel Yoder

racheljyoder.com

Her novel Nightbitch is a dark comedy with smart commentary on the struggles and expectations of motherhood. Slated to become a movie featuring Amy Adams, I feel pride that such a sharp, original story came from Iowa. —Emily M.

Tracing the transition from artist to mother to canis with all the tendrils of love, blood, fear, tenderness, and viscera attached. —Christopher W.

Rachel Yoder in Iowa City — Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

Runner-up: Chuy Renteria

 

Best Poet/Spoken Word Artist 🏆

Caleb “The Negro Artist” Rainey

thenegroartist.com

Lisa Roberts and Caleb “The Negro Artist” Rainey’s shared love of poetry and education inspired Iowa City’s Mic Check Poetry Festival. — Genevieve Trainor/Little Village

Runner-up: Margaret Yapp

 

Best Local Theater Company 🏆

Riverside Theatre

119 E College St, Iowa City
319-259-7099
riversidetheatre.org

Tyler Jensen as Anatole. — Rob Merritt / Riverside Theatre

Runner-up: Willow Creek Theatre Company

 

Best Local Stand-Up Comedian 🏆

Travis Coltrain

Travis Coltrain at Joystick Comedy Arcade, December 2022. — Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

Always loose and prepared to be witty on the fly, even improv. —Orlando H.

Goes crazy at comedy. —Heath V.

He’s hilarious, he’s all over Iowa City and a real supporter of the arts. He’s also a poet, a writer, a playwright, actor and a graduate of UI. Represents the best of IC. —Joanne R.

Runner-up: Megan Gogerty

 

Best Movie Theater 🏆

FilmScene at The Chauncey

404 E College St #100, Iowa City
319-358-2555
icfilmscene.org

FilmScene on the Ped Mall

118 E College St, Iowa City

Not just in Iowa City, but in the country, probably the world. —Chris W.

As a recent graduate, I’m always telling my partner that if we move away from IC, I will miss FilmScene the most! It is truly an IC gem! We love going for date nights and every movie I’ve seen has exceeded my expectations. We love feeling the energy and friendliness of the workers too. —Vanessa C.

State-of-the-art and independent, but not afraid to show Top Gun. —Shuck C.

FilmScene – The Chauncey audiences watch Jordan Peele’s ‘Nope’ (2022). — courtesy of FilmScene

Runner-up: Collins Road Theater

 

Best Radio Station 🏆

KRUI 89.7 FM

Based in Iowa City
krui.fm

Hey, the students know how to choose music. —Melanie M.

Inside KRUI 89.7 FM’s studio in the Iowa Memorial Union, Iowa City, November 2020. — Jason Smith/Little Village

Runner-up: KCCK 88.3 FM

 

Best Arts Presenter (organization, venue or individual)

The Englert Theatre

221 E Washington St, Iowa City
319-688-2653
englert.org

A wide variety of arts, entertainment and community education-based programming. —Chris R.

Wide range of entertainment provided in a venue that allows you to feel connected to the performers. —Peggy D.

Consistency, baby. —Alyssa B.

Arooj Aftab performs at the Englert Theatre on Saturday, April 9, 2022. — Sid Peterson/Little Village.

Runner-up: Public Space One

 

Best Cultural Event 🏆

Iowa Arts Festival

Iowa City, June 3-5
summerofthearts.org

Art is the heartbeat of Iowa City, and this festival always takes place on a beautiful June weekend. —Sharon F.

Showcases the best downtown Iowa City has to offer. —Ken D.

Runner-up: Mission Creek Festival

 

Best Overall Musician 🏆

Kevin Burt

kevinburtmusic.com
In addition to his incredible talent, Kevin Burt is a true member of the community. He displays a firm commitment that ensures both his music and his message are accessible to all people. —Lori M.

I remember the days when Kevin Burt would play on the corner of Dubuque and Washington every Friday afternoon. Now we have to plan a bit more to hear his amazing music! —Hannah S.

Kevin BF Burt performs during a Joe Biden campaign event at Big Grove Brewery. Wednesday, May 1, 2019. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

Runner-up: Blake Shaw

 

Best Community (i.e. non-professional) Music or Theater Group 🏆

Theatre Cedar Rapids

102 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids
319-366-8591
theatrecr.org

They have excellent play selections and the actors are always very good. —Karen P.

Dancers in Rodgers and Hammerstein’s Cinderella. — Studio Reserved/Theatre Cedar Rapids

Runner-up: Willow Creek Theatre Company

 

Best Place to See Local Music 🏆

Gabe’s

330 E Washington St, Iowa City
319-351-9175
icgabes.com

Elizabeth Moen performs at Gabe’s on Saturday, Nov. 26, 2022. – Sid Peterson

Runner-up: Trumpet Blossom Cafe

 

Health & Recreation

Best Mental Health Services Provider 🏆

CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank

1121 S Gilbert Ct, Iowa City
319-351-2726
builtbycommunity.org

Always rewarding to interact with clients, and the staff and volunteers are all awesome!!! —Jane K.

Easy to volunteer, and an obvious immediate impact to our community. —Sharon F.

Runner-up: University of Iowa Health Care

 

Best Dog Park 🏆

Thornberry Off-leash Dog Park

1867 Foster Rd, Iowa City

Sunset at the Thornberry Off-leash Dog Park in Iowa City’s Peninsula neighborhood, November 2021. — Emma McClatchey/Little Village

Runner-up: Red Fern Dog Park

 

Best Bike Shop 🏆

World of Bikes

723 S Gilbert St, Iowa City
319-351-8337
worldofbikes.com

Runners-up: Goldfinch Cyclery, Iowa City Bike Library

 

Best Chiropractor 🏆

Black and Gold Chiropractic and Wellness

401 S Gilbert St, Iowa City
319-337-6000
blackandgoldchiropractic.com

Amazing chiropractic practice. Both Dr. Jess and Dr. Jake are the best! —Sharon L.

Very friendly doctors that put in the effort to make sure that you walk out feeling better than you did coming in. Very thoughtful and thorough with explaining to their patients and work well with their time to make sure they get back to full optimal health! —Ezuego N.

Runner-up: McDonald Chiropractic

 

Best Picnic Spot 🏆

Hickory Hill Park

1439 E Bloomington St, Iowa City

Fall leaves at Hickory Hill Park, Nov. 1, 2021. — Jason Smith/Little Village

Runner-up: Macbride Nature Recreation Area

 

Best Yoga Studio 🏆

Hot House Yoga

224 S Clinton St, Iowa City
319-351-9642
hothouseyoga.com

Very knowledgeable instruction, great workshops. —Lauren V.

Runner-up: Muddy Feet Yoga

 

Best Sexual Health Clinic 🏆

Emma Goldman Clinic

227 N Dubuque St, Iowa City
319-337-2111
emmagoldman.com

Gina Kaefring, Rebecca Arbogast, Deb Nye, Barbara Bailey and Francine Thompson pose for a portrait, on June 6, 2022. – Adria Carpenter/Little Village

Runner-up: Planned Parenthood

 

Best Place to Experience Nature 🏆

Hickory Hill Park

Iowa City

A bumble bee digs into some bee balm at Hickory Hill Park in Iowa City. — Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

Runner-up: Bur Oak Land Trust

 

Community

Best Place to Volunteer 🏆

CommUnity Crisis Services and Food Bank

1121 S Gilbert Ct, Iowa City
319-351-2726
builtbycommunity.org

Runner-up: Crowded Closet Thrift Shop

 

Best Advocate for Social Justice 🏆

Angie Jordan

Executive director, South District SSMID
President and founder, South District Neighborhood Association

Angie Jordan, president and co-founder of the South District Neighborhood Association. — Adria Carpenter/Little Village

Runner-up: Amel Ali

 

Best Elected Official

Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague

He attends a lot of community events and cares about the city. —Clarity G.

Iowa City Mayor Bruce Teague marches in the Pride Parade. — Jason Smith/Little Village

Runner-up: Iowa City Councilmember Laura Bergus

 

Best Library 🏆

Iowa City Public Library

123 S Linn St
319-356-5200
icpl.org

Don’t take for granted our city’s friendly hub for all kinds of free fun and community building. —Nathan K.

Welcoming and rich space with the opportunity to bring the fun home with you! —Valerie D.

I come here at least once a week and it has become my weekly self-care treat. It’s clean, organized, and the staff is always ready to help. —Vanessa C.

Shoutout to Phil for fulfilling my ILL requests! —Andrea T.

Attendees gather for the Mistranslation for Non-translators: A Generative Poetry Workship at the Iowa City Public Library, on Saturday, April 9, 2022. — Adria Carpenter/Little Village

Runner-up: LGBTQ Iowa Archives & Library

 

Best Nonprofit Director 🏆

Sarah Nelson

CEO, CommUnity Crisis Services

Sarah Nelson, CommUnity CEO, in November 2022. — Jordan Sellergren/Little Village

 

Best Museum 🏆

UI Stanley Museum of Art

160 W Burlington St, Iowa City
319-335-1727
stanleymuseum.uiowa.edu

When was the last time you saw a line to look at art? Too long the cultural spoils of Iowa’s fine arts legacy remained hidden from the public. The Stanley literally moved earth to bring it back to us. —Chris W.

“Elegy to the Spanish Republic, No. 126” by Robert Motherwell. – Adria Carpenter/Little Village

Runner-up: University of Iowa Museum of Natural History

 

Hardest Fightin’ Union 🏆

COGS UE Local 896

Representing University of Iowa graduate student workers

COGS Press and Publicity Chair Caleb Klipowicz hands out “Vote for Reproductive Rights” and “Vote for Trans Rights” posters at the Student Action for Abortion Rights, on Thursday Oct. 6, 2022, in Iowa City, Iowa. — Adria Carpenter/Little Village

Runner-up: BCTGM Local 100 (Ingredion)

 

Best Arts Nonprofit 🏆

Public Space One

538 S Gilbert St, Iowa City
319-855-1985
publicspaceone.com

Moshing in a mansion?? C’monnnn. —Brooke T.

PS1 shows a diverse range of art and makes it accessible. They provide tons of opportunities for local artists and bring in interesting artists from all over. —Desiree D.

Think Pink! at Public Space One. April 6, 2022. — Jason Smith/Little Village

Runner-up: The Englert Theatre

 

Best Shopping District 🏆

Downtown Iowa City

Shops, food, entertainment, festivals, programming, FUN! —Jessica S.

Textiles, Glassando, Prairie Lights, Om: some of my personal favorites! —Andrea T.

Fielding at Betsy Potter examine wrapped gifts at the Kid’s Holiday Market in downtown Iowa City, Iowa, on Nov. 15, 2021. — Adria Carpenter/Little Village

Runner-up: The District: Czech Village & New Bohemia

 

Voter Shout-Outs!

Jason Taylor, Bur Oak Land Trust

Jason’s passion for Iowa conservation is contagious and inspiring. His leadership is building a path for volunteers to make an impact on the local environment and for young people to get started in their natural resources careers. —Meredith R.

Jason has brought new life to the Bur Oak Land Trust and has transformed this nonprofit so it is successful and thriving. Bur Oak is attracting many new adventures, and being creative among its services. Jason leads a team with purpose and provides flexibility for future growth. —Kate G.

South Side secondhand stores

For variety and economy you can’t beat used goods. They take pressure off landfills. Think of the resources and energy used in producing and transporting new goods. Crowded Closet, Goodwill, Salvation Army, and Stuff, all within a few blocks on the south side of Iowa City provide a vast and ever changing menagerie of bargains. The first three also serve the needy, here and abroad. —Dan D.

Kane Edwards

Kane is always booking and organizing cool events around town! From shows at Gabes and Trumpet Blossom, DJing events at Joystick and Gabes, and even a fashion show, he’s always busy keep the town entertained. —Marissa D.

BCTGM Local 100

The workers in BCTGM Local 100 have been fighting hard as hell against the bosses at Ingredion in Cedar Rapids. —Grant M.

Feed Me Weird Things

Just some of the best music out there, period, not just locally, not nationally, period. Got the chance to see acts that I love from as far away as Australia that I never thought I would ever get to see in my entire life, let alone in a small city like Iowa City. Just a great alternative to the bland middling NPR-core. —Tobin H.

Gary Sanders (nominated for Best Elected Official)

No one elected him, but rain or shine he is at the Iowa City Farmers market keeping dogs away from the produce and holding court in his folding chair. If dog catcher were on the ballot, I’d vote for Gary. —Adam Z.

University of Iowa Museum of Natural History

Rusty the Giant Sloth, Dunky the Dunkleosteus, the Laysan Island Cyclorama, Mammal Hall…love the exhibits, love the programming, love the staff! This place has been free to the public for more than 160 years. Our community owes it a little favoritism. —Jessica S.

Old Capitol Museum restrooms

Where else can you find a massive chaise lounge in an almost 200-year-old building? Very clean, very updated. —Erin N.

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 313.


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