The more things change, the more these gems stay the same.
Baxa’s Stutliff Store & Tavern
5546 130th St NE, Lisbon
One of the most unique settings in Johnson County is on the banks of the Cedar River in the tiny community of Sutliff. Overlooking the muddy waterway is Baxa’s, and they have been grilling up and dropping baskets of fried favorites for decades. There’s never a bad time to go here, but the summer months during a road trip, bike ride or tubing adventure can provide a well-deserved pit stop for one of their infamous burgers, fried bologna sandwiches, breaded chicken gizzards and livers, cold beverages and a roadhouse atmosphere just minutes from Iowa City and Cedar Rapids. Don’t be shy when it comes to placing a dollar bill on the ceiling—thousands have before you.
1317 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids
Do not leave this place without a generous plate of their famous Goulash and Dumplings! Located between NewBo City Market and the Czech Village in one of CR’s most historic buildings, Little Bohemia has the touch of the Central European old country this town cherishes. Serving food and drink since 1934, New Bohemia was one of Grant Wood’s old haunts, so make it yours, too. They’re proud of their breaded pork sandwiches and you gotta love a place that has plenty of warm sides of sauerkraut coming at you from every direction.
Ced-Rel Supper Club
11909 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids
This Highway 30 neon oasis is either your first restaurant you stop at before you get to Cedar Rapids or the last chance to get a CR meal on your way out. Either way you’re going to a restaurant that will leave you full of a classic supper club style meal and decades of nostalgia. Ced-Rel’s ambiance has kept true with the time period that made these concepts a Midwest staple with a social atmosphere and courses to share with your group before you get your main courses. The traditional and refreshing complimentary relish tray will get your meal started. Follow it up with appetizers like chicken livers and crunchy onion rings. Finish with a beautifully cooked steak or breaded shrimp the size of your palms. There’s plenty to choose from—the seafood dinners are known as some of the best you’re going to get in Cedar Rapids.
Wig & Pen Pizza
1220 US-6, Iowa City
363 N 1st Ave, Iowa City
201 Hwy 965 NE, North Liberty
Is the original location in Iowa City or Coralville? Let’s say its too close to call. Right where the strip begins, or ends, is the pizza pub that has proven its worth in pepperoni many times over. Are you craving authentic Chicago style deep dish pizza? You need not travel anywhere near the Windy City because the Wig & Pen has one of the best deep dishes on Earth. The locals have also made their Flying Tomato style of pie one of the most popular of its kind in the corridor.
Heyn’s Ice Cream
811 S 1st Ave, Iowa City
25 E Cherry St, North Liberty
The east side of Iowa City has been working out the scoops for many years at Heyn’s and now North Liberty is getting in on the locally made ice cream action. The long-time employee-turned-general-manager-turned-owner, Peggy Cullivan-Park, has the elbows that can tell the story of all the hard work that goes into the ice cream business. Heyn’s has all the classic flavors along with new favorites like Blueberry Cheesecake, Black Raspberry Truffle, Pumpkin Pie, Peppermint Candy, Oatmeal Cream Pie and many, many more ways to keep that sweet tooth satisfied and begging for more.