Northside Iowa City institution Motley Cow Cafe to close

Motley Cow Owner David Wieseneck (second from left) plans to close the restaurant this summer.

Iowa City’s northside marketplace will soon say goodbye to one of its longest running culinary and social institutions. Motley Cow Cafe Owner David Wieseneck told Little Village that the restaurant would close its doors on June 17. He gave few details, but clarified that the decision to close was his own, citing a desire to shift his energy toward the pursuit of a new passion. “I have a few ideas, but right now I’m just focusing on all that needs to be done to button this place up and move on.”

The original Motley Cow Cafe was a single room restaurant at 327 E. Market (now El Banditos), opened in 1999 by wine distributor Tom Lally of Okoboji Wines. Wieseneck became owner in the summer of 2002, and moved the restaurant to its current space (160 N. Linn Street) in February 2008.

Asked if a new restaurant would be taking its place there, Wieseneck said that the location has already been rented to another restaurant group, which he believes to be local, but that he couldn’t speculate any further. This post will be updated as more information becomes available.


  1. Beautiful establishment from day one–great culinary sensibility, great staff, great setting, and open to the arts as a venue. Congratulations to Tom, David, Sam, and the crew for bringing us a real treasure.

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