Devotay, a fixture on the Iowa City food scene for more than two decades, has been sold, according to a press release from Kurt Friese, the restaurant’s owner and “chef emeritus.” The change of ownership won’t take effect until New Year’s Eve, but Friese said he wanted to make the announcement on Dec. 5, because the day marks the 21st anniversary of the Devotay’s opening.
The new owner will be Mark Paterno, an Iowa City realtor and owner of Marco’s Grilled Cheese cart on the Ped Mall.
“It took a long time to find the right person,” Friese said in the press release, “because it was vital that Devotay continue as is, with the same great staff, with the dedication to local ingredients and so on. And in Mark, we found that person.”
Friese is well-known in Iowa City as a slow food activist, and is currently a member of the Johnson County Board of Supervisor. Friese and his wife, Kim McWane Friese, opened in Devotay in 1996. The restaurant is named for their children, Devon and Taylor.
Devotay features Mediterranean fare, with an emphasis on Spanish cuisine, such as paella and tapas. The press release quotes new owner Paterno as saying, “I am in love with the foods of Spain. I lived there for a year, and am going back in February for more ‘research.’”
Executive Chef Daniel Knowles, Sous Chef Morgan Weiss, manager Raleigh Yoder and the rest of the staff will remain with Devotay after the sale.