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Iowa City’s Atlas restaurant to change hands


Atlas restaurant will change hands in April. — photo by Frankie Schneckloth

Downtown Iowa City institution Atlas Restaurant and Bar (127 Iowa Ave) will change hands in early April, joining a restaurant group that includes numerous businesses in the Iowa City area. The restaurant is expected to close April 2-4 and reopen April 5 under new ownership.

The new partners will be Cory Kent, Matt Swift, Nate Kaeding, Ben Smart and Doug Goettsch. Members of this group currently own Big Grove Brewery, Pullman Bar & Diner, Reds Alehouse, Blackstone, 30hop, and Mosley’s Barbecue and Provisions.

Current owners Jack Piper and James Adrian sold the restaurant so they could focus on another business, Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack, Atlas general manager Tyler Leiss said.

“It has a lot of potential that they saw, that they could go a lot further with it,” Leiss said of Jimmy Jack’s.

Pullman general manager Kent and executive chef Sepehr Sadrzadeh will split their time between Pullman and Atlas, but the rest of the staff at Atlas is not expected to change, Kent said.

New partner at Atlas and Pullman general manager Cory Kent will split his time between Pullman and Atlas, along with executive chef Sepehr Sadrzadeh. — photo by Frankie Schneckloth

“Atlas has been a well-oiled machine for years and years. We have a strong loyalty with our customer bases, a lot of people who don’t want to see changes. If changes do occur, it’s going to take quite a while,” said Leiss, who plans to stay on at Atlas after the changeover.

“I don’t think we’re going to change hardly anything at all,” Kent said. “Jack and James have done a great job. We just want to get in there and take the keys. It’s just a change of drivers.”

Adrian and Piper sent an email today thanking everyone from farmers who provided produce to restaurant staff to loyal customers. “As Atlas customers, you will continue to receive the same great experience you’ve enjoyed for 17 years, even as the restaurant grows and evolves in positive new ways,” they wrote. “We still expect to see you at Atlas, but like you, we’ll be guests. We’ll be the two guys drinking Mojito’s at the bar.”


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