LV Recommends: Lebowski’s Bar & Grill

As a connoisseur of both stoner flicks and all vodka-related beverages I was thrilled to learn of a Big Lebowski-themed restaurant opening in Robins, Iowa (925 Robins Square Dr.). Advertised as a bar and grill, this establishment, opened in February by Shawn and Nola Bodensteiner, was practically begging me to come judge their White Russians (Caucasians, in the parlance of our times). Having waited tables at a similarly Dude-themed eatery last fall (in Evanston, Ill.), I assert there may be no one in eastern Iowa more qualified to lay down an assessment of this cocktail. So I grabbed my beau and set out to drink not one, but four of them.

The parking lot was jammed when we pulled in shortly after 6 p.m. on a Saturday evening, but there was room at the bar and the bartender smiled knowingly when we asked for the only beverage anyone should ever order at a restaurant called Lebowski’s. Our drinks came in tumblers straight out of the film and they were frothy and delicious, if packing a little less of a punch than I would have hoped. Which, on the whole, describes Lebowski’s to a T.

Considering that the film from which it takes its name wholeheartedly earns its R-rating, this joint was pretty family friendly. And while the Dude’s easygoing mug grinned out at me from the art on the walls and the menu boasted The Dude burger, the lighting was too bright and the atmosphere just didn’t lend itself to sitting and drinking.

Overall, the White Russian was a tasty classic made well. The coffee liqueur was in perfect ratio to whatever cream was used. A splash more vodka and it would have been altogether perfect. Each round was totally consistent, which suggests that it is the recipe, not the bartender, which needs adjustment. As it is, I was able to consume several of them without feeling the tell-tale humming in my lips that means I should take an Uber or wait an hour while nursing a large glass of water before I drive. Which, considering the deliciousness of the drink, and Lebowski’s somewhat out-of-the-way location, is probably a blessing.

This article was originally published in Little Village issue 195.

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »



Summer Programs 2020

Get 150+ local restaurants delivered to your door in the Iowa City & Cedar Rapids areas!

Don’t let other people’s opinions win.

Vote for your favorite people, places and events in the Iowa City-Cedar Rapids area! In a time when local businesses need our support more than ever, your vote will send a little love to the places that make our community special. And don’t forget to tell us why—the best comments will be published in our December Best of the CRANDIC 2021 issue! Voting ends September 30.

Read the Best of the CRANDIC issue, on stands now

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.


$10/mo or $120/year
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.


$20/mo or $240/year
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.


$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW) connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.