1st Avenue Wine House
3412 1st Ave NE, Cedar Rapids,
The curated selection of wine at this charming shop includes hard-to-find varietals, rare vintages and go-to favorites. Pick up a bottle (or two) to take home, then peruse the selection of jams, crackers, cheeses and more. Check the calendar for wine tastings and other special events.
2 Dogs Pub
1705 S 1st Ave, Iowa City,
319-337-9047, 2dogspub.com, $$
2 Dogs knows how to have fun—their creative culinary concoctions, Trivia Tuesdays and burger of the month competition are just a few examples of this. Try their PB&J Burger along with any one of their well-selected craft beers. Be sure to brainstorm burger ideas too while you play trivia at 2 Dogs next Tuesday night!
900 E 2nd Ave, Coralville,
319-351-3800, 30hop.com, $$
951 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids,
When you stop by 30hop, you can expect to enjoy American classics such as burgers or short ribs, with almost any beer you could want from their legendary beer list featuring over 50 options. Not to mention, you can enjoy it all atop their epic rooftop patio. A Cedar Rapids location opened late summer 2018 with a similar vibe, menu and rooftop patio and a Des Moines location is on the horizon.
350 1st Ave NE, Floor 16, Cedar Rapids,
Enjoy not only the diverse, high-end selection of American cuisine, but also a spectacular view of Cedar Rapids from the 16th floor of the Hilton Double Tree. Within walking distance of the U.S. Cellular Center, Theatre Cedar Rapids, The Paramount Theater and more, 350 First is a great choice for a nice dinner or a specialty cocktail before a show.
A&A Pagliai’s Pizza
302 E Bloomington St, Iowa City,
319-351-5073, pagliaisic.com, $$
An Iowa City pizza institution, the Pagliai family has been in the business in Iowa since 1957. Offering just the basics, they put out fresh, hot pizzas best eaten right away. Winner: Best Pizza in the Best of the CRANDIC 2019
22 S Clinton St, Iowa City,
319-351-9259, theairlinerbar.com, $$
The Airliner has been an Iowa City staple since 1944. It is a go to spot for enjoying the game with friends and fresh pizza. They have several specials throughout the week, including half price pizza on Tuesdays!
Almost Famous Popcorn Company
1121 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids,
319-366-3554, almostfamouspopcorn.com, $
This NewBo shop has great popcorn, and the aroma of the shop upon entering is heavenly. Aside from the variety of flavored popcorn, the shop also sells ice cream, shakes, old-fashioned soda and candy. Their pistachio ice cream is a real winner.
American Legion #17
3016 Muscatine Ave, Iowa City,
319-351-1902, legion.org, $
If you love home-style bar food and cheap beer, but hate going to crowded downtown bars, check out the American Legion #17. Pop by to relax over a burger and an IPA with the locals.
1451 Coral Ridge Ave, Ste 606, Coralville,
Skip Panda Express next time hunger strikes during a shopping spree. This authentic Mexican joint inside the Coral Ridge Mall food court serves up street tacos and tortas that are tasty and fresh.
207 Main St, Columbus Junction,
The trek to Columbus Junction is worth it when you’re rewarded with to-die-for tacos, tortas and more. This family owned and operated restaurant serves up delicious and authentic food in a casual, unfussy atmosphere. Be sure to order a side of Carmen’s Dry Salsa. It’s dynamite!
Apres Winebar and Bistro
1010 Martin St, Iowa City,
319-499-1198, aprespeninsula.com, $$$
In the heart of the Peninsula neighborhood, Apres Winebar and Bistro offers a rotating menu of sharable plates. It’s the perfect place to get away from a crowd while you enjoy their eclectic offerings.
The Arbor Bar
60 W Burlington Ave, Fairfield,
641-209-1821, thearborbar.com, $
Somehow both pensive and manic, the irresistible energy of Fairfield’s indie-art and music scene collides with alcohol and your taste buds every night at the Arbor Bar. Check the website or give them a call to find out what’s going to command your attention this weekend. It might be a DJ night, a burlesque show, a film screening, a visual arts opening, or one of the town’s working musicians stopping by unannounced to try out some new material. Whatever it is adding to the eclectic atmosphere that night, the excellent bar staff will surely have a new potion to recommend you take along for the ride. (Take the ride.) No food here, but there are plenty of other spots along the square for that.
Aspen Leaf Frozen Yogurt and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory
125 S Dubuque St, Iowa City,
319-351-9720, aspenleafyogurt.com, $
Welcome to a sweet tooth’s heaven. The owner and staff are just as sweet as their treats are, so be sure to ask for their assistance if you can’t decide between a famous caramel apple or a bowl of froyo.
1857 Lower Muscatine Rd, Iowa City,
Avocado offers a variety of daily specials, including Margarita Mondays and four-dollar lunch specials. The space is well-lit and comfortable, making it easy to enjoy their tasty Mexican food with the whole family.
903 Quarry Rd, Coralville, 319-449-3700
415 SE 3rd St, Cedar Rapids, 319-362-2739
333 E 10th St, Dubuque, 563-582-1611
Everyone likes pizza and beer, but we don’t all like it made the same way. Not only does Backpocket offer several specialty brick oven pizzas, but you can build your own from their list of fresh ingredients as well. As for beer, they’re all about it—you are sure to find the brew for you.
347 S Gilbert St, Iowa City,
319-333-1515, bardotiowacity.com, $
Bardot is all about quality—whether it’s their service, drinks, food or atmosphere. The bar and restaurant is inspired by Brigitte Bardot’s coining of the term “crème De la crème,” in that they strive to be the best when it comes to nightlife in Iowa City. Try a South American inspired dish or an expertly made Piña Colada the next time your squad is out for a night on the town.
450 1st St SW, Cedar Rapids,
319-200-1500, bari-italian.com, $$$
This is contemporary Italian fare at its best. The seasonally driven menu features classic dishes, such as spaghetti Bolognese or risotto with truffle oil, as well as surprises like sesame-crusted yellowfin tuna and a pizza dressed in Thai peanut sauce. The well-executed menu is rivaled only by the restaurant’s expertly crafted cocktails.
Baroncini Ristorante Italiano
104 S Linn St, Iowa City,
319-337-2048, baroncinirestaurant.com, $$$
Authentic cuisine by owner-chef Gianluca Baroncini, originally from Verona, Italy. The cozy, contemporary setting was designed from floor to ceiling by the chef, and is suitable for business or romance. The $10, two-course lunch on weekdays is one of downtown Iowa City’s best kept foodie secrets. Famous for the pasta—of course made in-house, and available at area grocers—but don’t be afraid to wander into other sections of the menu; everything is well-crafted, and portioned to satisfy while allowing for multiple courses.
121 N Linn St, Iowa City,
Bashu is the place to go for real, authentic Sichuan Chinese food—if you must have sesame chicken, you’ll have to look under the “Special for Americans” menu listing, but you’ll be costing yourself an exciting experience worth trying. Take a walk on the wild side and check out their crispy spicy chili shrimp for an explosion of flavor and heat.
Basta Pizzeria Ristorante
121 Iowa Ave, Iowa City,
319-337-2010, bastaiowacity.com, $$$
The amazing daily happy hour and wood-fired pizza might be what draws you in, but you’ll soon realize there are countless reasons that warrant repeat visits. Have you tried their Chocolate Budino? What about the creamy housemade burrata? Have you snuggled into the bar booths for a late weekend lunch? Have you basked in the sunshine on their sidewalk cafe? If you answered no to these questions, I’ve got to ask—”What have you been doing?”
Baxa’s Sutliff Store & Tavern
5546 130th St NE, Lisbon,
Opened in 1899, the original building was a general store until 1984 with the tavern and food service beginning in 1973. Sample something from their menu of fried delights, burgers, wings, gizzards and other sandwiches and order an ice cold bottle of something to wash it down with. The historic bridge out front of the tavern is the best place to eat or drink when the weather permits.
La Bendicion Pupuseria y Restaurant
89 2nd St, Suite 2, Coralville,
For less than 10 bucks, you can try a variety of Salvadoran pupusas (a thick, doughy flatbread stuffed with yummy ingredients) at this unassuming little spot. The cheese and pork pupusa is a fan favorite, but don’t miss the cheese and carrot or the cheese and jalapeño. An order of fried plantains makes for a sweet ending to your meal.
1800 Boyrum St, Iowa City,
Take out Chinese food just how you like it: reasonably priced, flavorful food, and quick delivery. Check out their lunch special from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. for an entrée, side of rice, drink or crab rangoons for under ten dollars!
Big’s BBQ & Brew Pub
124 2nd Ave N, Mt Vernon,
319-535-1060, bigsbbqmv.com, $$
The cherry wood used in the smoker lends a light and delicate flavor to the meats. You’ll have a hard time choosing among the tender brisket, savory pulled pork or addictive burnt ends. One suggestion: Bring friends and share the sampler platter, which includes your choice of sides. All of the restaurant’s beer is brewed on site, including the root beer.
Billy’s High Hat Diner
630 Iowa Ave, Iowa City,
Derek Perez is bringing breakfast and lunch back to basics at Billy’s with affordable entrees made from fresh, local ingredients. Some menu items will be familiar to those who’ve enjoyed brunch at El Banditos, such as the chilaquiles, as well as classics like shrimp and grits, waffles and pork sandwiches—not to mention vegetarian options. You can find it at the corner of Iowa Ave and Dodge St, where Augusta was formerly located.
Big Boy Meats
1100 3rd St SE #22, Cedar Rapids,
319-343-6603, bigboymeats.com, $$
From beef and pork to duck and rabbit, Big Boy Meats has been offering an impressive variety of top-quality, locally produced meats since 2012. True to their mission, their meats are responsibly farmed, free range, grass fed and antibiotic free. But despite the name, meat is not the only thing you’ll find here. BBQ catering, sheep skins and longwool are also part of their offerings.
Big Grove Brewery
101 W Main St, Solon, 319-624-2337
1225 S Gilbert St, Iowa City, 319-354-2687
As one of the area’s larger local breweries, Big Grove Brewery offers an expansive beer selection with a fantastic food menu to match. Stop into the Iowa City location for more international street food style offerings, or head to the flagship Solon location for their original American menu in a sit down restaurant.
503 Westbury Dr, Iowa City,
319-338-1770, blackstone-ic.com, $$$
This American style restaurant offers a variety of cuisine with global influences including Italian, Mexican and Thai. With a good cocktail selection, Blackstone offers the perfect place to take your time with friends. Start with their Satay Sampler appetizer—you won’t regret it.
Black Sheep Social Club
600 1st St SE, Cedar Rapids,
319-200-7070, iamtheblacksheep.com, $$$
Black Sheep Social Club puts its own spin on Midwest favorites, sometimes even injecting a bit of international fare. The plates, paired with the rusticness of a restored warehouse, make for the perfect atmosphere for a night out.
Black Squirrel Tap
72 2nd St SE, Swisher,
Black Squirrel Tap, a small-town watering hole in Swisher is the place to go for televised sporting events, card tournaments and live music. Serving wings, appetizers and other pub food alongside beer and whisky flights, wine and cocktails.
201 S Clinton St Unit 167, Iowa City,
319-519-0075, blazepizza.com, $
Hip to the fast-fired personal pizza concept, Blaze Pizza arrived on the Iowa City dining scene just as University of Iowa students returned for school in the fall of 2017. This high-volume location dishes up crispy, thin-crust pies in a matter of minutes.
330 E Market St, Iowa City,
319-351-1470, thebluebirddiner.com, $$
650 W Cherry St #9, North Liberty,
319-626-2603, bluebirdcafenl.com, $$
Bluebird’s reputation for delicious, fresh Midwestern soulfood served in a relaxed, retro environment is well known among Iowa City and North Liberty folk. If you love comfort food, then you’ll love everything from their biscuits and gravy to their baby-back ribs. They are a go to spot for breakfast, so be sure to get there early for breakfast on the weekends!
118 E Washington St, Iowa City,
If you like huge burgers, ice-cold beer, and country music, check out this family-owned pub for your next bite to eat! If the weather is nice, be sure to take a seat at their quaint outdoor patio.
219 16th Ave SE, Cedar Rapids,
Located in CR’s NewBo district, this historic building was refurbished by the owner himself over the last few years. The menu features a variety of comfort food focused appetizers, sandwiches, entrees and drink options. Look for live music on the weekends.
804 5th St SE, Cedar Rapids,
319-363-9627, bostonscr.com, $$
Seafood makes a strong showing on the menu here, thanks to the restaurant’s former life as longtime staple Boston Fish. Start with the South End Crab dip—a cheesy-spicy appetizer with fresh lump crab—before moving on to one of the breaded fish dishes such as the fish tacos or the cod sandwich.
412 1st Ave, Coralville,
Known for their excellent selection of spirits, especially bourbon and whiskey, Barzini’s also maintains a robust offering of local and craft beer. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, or are feeling adventurous and want to try something new, ask for suggestions from the helpful staff.
Bourbon Creek Smokehouse
411 1st St SE, Cedar Rapids,
319-775-3174, bourboncreeksmokehouse.com, $$
The name should provide ample clues as to the type of food this downtown Cedar Rapids establishment is serving, but just in case you can’t read between the lines: This restaurant appreciates its smoked meats, whether it be turkey, burgers, ribs or brisket.
Bread Garden Market & Bakery
225 S Linn St, Iowa City,
319-354-4246, breadgardenmarket.com, $$
Bread Garden’s transformation from restaurant to convenient downtown grocer is proof that they are here to fulfill your and the greater Iowa City area’s needs. They feature everything from traditional items, delicacies, organics and homemade classics. Whether you want to grab lunch from their impressive salad bar, order up a customized burger, pizza or tacos from the grill or sit on the patio with friends, Bread Garden has got your back.
Breads From Anna
Voted best gluten-free bread in America, Breads from Anna also boasts bread mixes free of the top eight allergens. Founded by a sufferer of celiac disease and type 1 diabetes, the recipes come from a place of understanding and care. The line of pre-packaged mixes can be found in local grocery stores.
Breakfast House Cafe
820 6th St SW, Cedar Rapids,
319-261-2233, thebreakfasthouse.com, $
A multigenerational family business, this classic breakfast joint treats you to traditional American comfort food in all its glory. Stop by for their all-day breakfast, and don’t forget about their daily dessert special!
1202 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids,
319-364-0802, brewhemia.com, $$
Housed in a historic building in the NewBo district of Cedar Rapids, this café by day, bar by night establishment serves traditional and innovative brews, breakfast, lunch and an extensive variety of local beers, wines and spirits. The simplicity of the space and industrial feel, make for the perfect gathering place for a nice chat over coffee or an intimate acoustic set at night.
Brix Cheese Shop and Wine Bar
209 N Linn St, Iowa City,
319-359-1999, brixcheeseshop.com, $$
This wine bar and specialty shop is the perfect place to meet up with a group of friends and partake in their delicious cheese boards with a glass of wine or a craft beer. They offer half glasses of wine for those want to try it all.
Bryant’s Off 6
107 W Marengo Rd, Tiffin,
319-545-2053, bryantsoff6.com, $
Keep an eye on the Bryant’s Off 6 Facebook page for the day’s featured menu item, whether it be the Ground Beef Stroganoff, Chicken Fried Steak with white pepper gravy or Beer Battered Cod Sandwich. Feeling bold? Gather a team and sign up for one of the restaurant’s regular euchre tournaments.
201 S Clinton St, Iowa City,
Bubble Pop is all about good vibes and good tea. Stop by the next time you’re in the Old Capital Mall for a mango tea and a cozy place to rest your feet.
Bud’s Custom Meats
3027 IA-22, Riverside,
319-648-3999, budscustommeatsonline.com, $$
Famous for jerky, Bud’s in Riverside makes this revered snack food in house in a variety of flavors. Also stocking traditional hand-cut meats, fresh or frozen, coarse-ground ground beef, elk, rabbit and turtle when available.
3980 Center Point Rd NE, Cedar Rapids,
319-200-4499, burgerfiend.com, $$
With a simple yet versatile build-your-own menu, choose from a variety of spreads, toppings and add-ons to get your burger exactly how you like it. Complement your order with their delicious, freshly cut fries or an indulgent shake.
Cactus 1, 2 and 3
245 S Gilbert St, Iowa City, 319-338-5647
114 S Clinton St, Iowa City, 319-338-5647
314 E Burlington St, Iowa City, 319-337-2464, $$
Cactus offers an extensive menu—and three locations in the downtown area—featuring classic Mexican food in heaping combo plates, as well as vegetarian entrees, salads, fajitas and more. If you are looking for a place to gather with friends and enjoy affordable, filling Mexican cuisine and overflowing margaritas, Cactus is for you!
122 S Iowa Ave, Washington,
319-653-4012, cafedodici.com, $$$$
A worthy destination restaurant on the charming downtown square in Washington, about 30 miles south of Iowa City. Cafe Dodici is a family-run Italian restaurant, with co-owner and chef Alessandro Scipioni preparing natural, fresh foods in the style of his original home of Pesaro, Italy. The owners’ eclectic collection of art draws from India, China and of course Italy and Iowa, making for a unique ambience you won’t find anywhere else.
565 Cameron Way, North Liberty,
319-626-6873, cafemuseiowa.com, $
Café Muse’s stylish modern interior makes for a lovely place to enjoy a pot of tea or a cup of joe. In addition to straightforward classic coffee and espresso offerings, Cafe Muse also brews up limited-edition and rare roasts for the coffee nerds among us. Make sure not to miss the high tea service, either.
101 N Main St, Fairfield,
641-472-0856, cafeparadiso.net, $
Cafe Paradiso is a casual cafe celebrating local artists and musicians with beautiful artwork from various artists and frequent live music. Pouring fresh-ground, shade-grown organic coffee and espresso and delicious baked goods, Cafe Paradiso is the go-to spot in Fairfield.
411 2nd St, Coralville,
Caffe Crema has everything a good coffee shop ought to have. The coffee is consistently delicious, the environment is cozy and warm and the staff is helpful and friendly. Check out this coffee shop the next time you need a different place to study, want to read your new book with a perfect chai latte or catch up with friends!
Cafe Saint Pio
99 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids,
319-200-1000, cafe-saint-pio.business.site, $
Smooth espresso drinks, fluffy biscuits, freshly baked muffins and an attentive staff, all in a quaint space with a historic vibe… what more could you ask for in a bistro? Quiche of the day or fruit-filled mini pies, maybe? Check and check. Café Saint Pio serves breakfast and lunch daily.
Canteen Lunch in the Alley
112 E 2nd St, Ottumwa,
641-682-5320, canteenottumwa.com, $
In the business for 91 years, 82 of them spent at the current location, this long-running grill has become famous for their loose-meat sandwiches and old-school digs.
Capanna Coffee and Gelato
2441 James St, Coralville, 319-499-1120
710 Pacha Pkwy Suite 6, North Liberty, 319-626-2515
Come here for a gourmet cup of coffee or a tasty scoop of gelato!
7037 C Ave NE, Cedar Rapids,
319-826-2625, cappyspizzapie.com, $$
This warm and cozy pizza parlor with a vintage feel serves Chicago deep-dish, New York hand-tossed pizzas and calzones prepared with fresh dough and homemade sauces. They also have a selection of bottled beer that rotates weekly, so you can always try something new!
Capriotti’s Sandwich Shop
4640 1st Ave NE, Cedar Rapids,
These hot and toasty subs are success in a sandwich. Try their signatures like the Capastrami or Bobbie, or custom build your own! Whether you’re a meat-eater or not, the vegetarian and faux-meat sammies deserve a try.
708 1st Ave, Coralville,
319-338-2641, casaazulrestaurante.com, $
Casa Azul features traditional Mexican dishes paired with a great margarita selection and friendly staff. Casa Azul is a must for your Taco Tuesday, both hard- and soft-shelled tacos are only $1 and will leave you and your wallet feeling full.
119 W Marengo Rd, Tiffin,
Stay in or take out one of Casa Tequila’s top-tier Mexican offerings, whether it be Botana Camaron, a marinated shrimp appetizer; your favorite variety of taco or torta; a sizzling fajita skillet; or a grilled and stuffed pineapple! Don’t forget to pair your meal with one of Mexico’s finest tequilas.
1203 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids,
Sister restaurant to Cobble Hill, Caucho takes Mexican cuisine and prepares it with a creative, modern touch. Sample one of their inventive cocktails and take in the well-curated and energetic interior.
Cedar Ridge Winery and Distillery
1441 Marak Rd, Swisher,
319-857-4300, crwine.com, $$
Just a short ride from Cedar Rapids and Iowa City, this award-winning winery and distillery located in the beautiful Swisher countryside offers so much more than just wines and spirits. Try their original take on wood-fired pizza or their exquisite Sunday brunch. Of course, you can’t leave without trying one of their specialty cocktails.
Cedar River Landing
301 F Ave NW, Cedar Rapids,
319-364-1854, cedar-river-landing.com, $$
This sports-bar-with-live-music joint is the choice for a casual neighborhood hangout with an eclectic American menu. Located in an old warehouse near the Cedar River, the stage features an assortment of local bands. Located along the Cedar River in an old warehouse.
Ced-Rel Supper Club
11909 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids,
319-446-7300, ced-rel.com, $$$
This old-school supper club and steakhouse maintains many of the trappings of bygone dining. Each entree is delivered with a complimentary relish tray and selections range from classic steaks to broasted chicken and broiled fish.
Chameleon’s Pub & Grub
119 1st St NW, Mount Vernon,
319-895-8654, chameleonspubandgrub.com, $
Expect high-quality, delicious bar fare at this family owned bar and grill. This cozy pub in historic downtown Mt. Vernon offers a wide selection of craft beer and plenty of friendly regulars.
89 2nd St, Coralville,
319-338-1738, chezgrace.com, $$$$
Owner David runs this one-man-show acting as host, waiter and chef. You wouldn’t expect this small spot in a strip mall to be an intimate setting for creative and frequently changing modern French dishes, but a dinner here feels like you’ve walked into someone’s home for an exquisite homemade meal.
102 N 2nd St, Fairfield,
641-980-0423, jeffersoncountyciderhouse.com, $$
An award-winning burger restaurant and cider pub nestled in downtown Fairfield featuring house boutique cider, Fishback & Stephenson and local Adrian Family Farms beef.
The Class Act Restaurant
7725 Kirkwood Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids,
Class Act is an upscale Kirkwood culinary student-run restaurant featuring outstanding local cuisine for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Clinton Street Social Club
18 1/2 S Clinton St, Iowa City,
319-351-1690, clintonstreetsocial.com, $$$
Stop in and sit at the bar for some of the best craft cocktails in Iowa City while you talk to their experienced bartenders. They offer a variety of small plates, or make a night of it to explore and truly enjoy their excellent fine dining menu.
Clock House Brewing
600 1st St SE, Cedar Rapids,
319-200-4099, clockhousebrewing.com, $
Opened in the resurrected 102-year-old Clock House Building, this new brewery offers a wide selection of house-made brews for your sampling pleasure at their tap-room located inside of the Black Sheep Social Club. Visit with your beer-loving buds for a pint of their inventive beer and order a delicious appetizer from the Social Club to share with the group.
Club 76 Cafe
2349 Mehaffey Bridge Rd NE, North Liberty,
Club 76 is in an unassuming building; inside however, there is a large bar and a lodge-meets-dive-bar vibe. The staff is friendly, the regulars interesting and the entertainment options unique. The bar offers a great mix of domestic bottles and craft taps for your drinking pleasure. Don’t miss out on their annual Oyster Fest every March. A celebration of fresh oysters and seafood alongside some of the best sour and stout beers available in Iowa.
The Club Car
122 Wright St, Iowa City,
319-351-9416, theclubcaric.com, $
Looking for a bar downtown that doesn’t feel like a bar downtown? Located just south of the ped mall, the Club Car is a neighborhood bar catering largely to a crowd of people looking for a cold bottle of beer after a hard day at work. The beer selection is similarly no-frills, with plenty of domestic choices and a smattering of imports. Enjoy a game of pool while you snack on your favorite fried appetizer.
Cobble Hill Restaurant
219 2nd St SE, Cedar Rapids,
319-366-3177, cobblehillrestaurant.com, $$$
For your swanky date night or your special occasion, Cobble Hill is Cedar Rapids’ leading destination for a chef-driven dinner that will awaken your senses. Walking distance from Theatre Cedar Rapids, the Paramount Theatre and the U.S. Cellular Center, if you are doing dinner and a show downtown and looking to impress, this is your spot. Trust the servers. Stay for a few courses. Maybe forget about the show. Winner: Best Restaurant in Best of the CRANDIC 2019
Coffee Emporium & Cafe
220 3rd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids,
319-362-3384, thecoffeeemporiumcr.com, $
As the name might suggest, the Emporium has an extensive list of caffeinated creations. Whether you just need a cup of joe before work or you’re looking for espresso shots to keep you going through the day, they have the perfect drink for every occasion.
26 S Clinton St, Iowa City,
Since they opened, Cortado has impressed Iowa City with its urban atmosphere and great coffee. Their menu has expanded to include New York Bagels—shipped from a Brooklyn bagel shop— fresh salads and delicious sandwiches and labneh and hummus plates perfect for an afternoon snack. Be sure to try their pistachio muffins when you swing by for your morning coffee!
Cottage Bakery & Cafe
230 E Benton St, Iowa City,
319-351-0052, cottagebakerycafe.com, $$
The Cottage Bakery & Cafe has been serving Iowa City for over twenty years. Whether you’re craving a sandwich or dreaming of dessert, the Cottage Bakery & Cafe is a wise choice. Healthy and hearty, the items are reasonably priced and made fresh. With a variety of sandwich options in the area The Cottage is easy to miss, but you shouldn’t; affordable options like a selection of $6 sandwiches that are in a class of its own when it comes to a fair price and ingredient quality. Don’t get me started on their molasses cookies, yum. The Cottage also offers catering services featuring additional entrees, side dishes and dessert options.
Crêpes de Luxe Café
309 E College St, Iowa City,
319-887-2233, crepes-de-luxe.com, $
This miniature cozy café is a portal to unique French cuisine. The friendly husband-and-wife owners and their employees create both sweet and savory paper-thin crepes right before diners eyes and aim to use all local ingredients from the buckwheat flour down to the butter.
Daisy’s Garage and Filling Station
1117 1st Ave SE, Cedar Rapids,
319-362-2223, daisysgaragecr.com, $$
Named for Daisy Duke, this garage-themed restaurant brings an abundance of seafood options to the Cedar Rapids scene, so look for shrimp prepared five ways, clams and mussels before settling for a sandwich or burger.
501 16th St NE, Cedar Rapids,
319-365-0680, dairyqueen.com, $
The faces behind the sliding order window at this Cedar Rapids walk-up are always friendly and the cool treats always executed with attention to detail.
McWane Dairy Queen
526 S Riverside Dr, Iowa City,
319-338-9328, dairyqueen.com, $
Owned by the McWane family since the 1960s, the DQ on Riverside Drive feels like family when you pull into their lot. Stop by for a classic vanilla cone or hot fudge sundae, or mix it up by trying one of their always yummy Blizzards.
Dan and Debbie’s Creamery
1600 Main St, Ely,
You might have bought Dan and Debbie’s milk from your local grocery stores or ordered their cheese curds at the Black Squirrel Tap, but this family-owned dairy is well worth a visit in person. Sample their sumptuous ice cream, and pick up the staples you’re already used to.
The Dandy Lion
111 S Dubuque St, Iowa City,
319-358-6400, dandylionic.com, $$
Breakfast and brunch spot by day, wine bar and lounge by night. Open and inviting, there’s something for everyone on the Dandy Lion menu, including an interesting wine selection and innovative drinks, both coffee and otherwise.
1430 Willow Creek Dr, Iowa City,
319-354-7400, danesdairy.com, $
A seasonal favorite, Dane’s Dairy is a time-capsule of Iowa City history and frozen treats. The strawberry soft serve and signature ice cream bars are not to be missed.
Dash Coffee Roasters
120 3rd Ave SW, Cedar Rapids,
New on the coffee scene, this downtown-adjacent shop specializes in caffeine, baked goods, breafast and lunch and roasts their own coffee. They also host classes on brewing basics and public cupping events to sample new brews.
Dave’s Foxhead Tavern
402 E Market St, Iowa City,
Iowa City’s oldest bar, the Foxhead makes for a great neighborhood watering hole. The bar does not boast fancy cocktails; drink selections are minimal, but thankfully, they are cheap and cover the necessities. Be sure to bring money for the eclectic jukebox or a game of pool.
1681 S 1st Ave, Iowa City,
319-339-0055, daylightdonutsic.com, $
Since its opening in 2011, Daylight Donuts has enjoyed a great deal of word-of-mouth popularity and established itself as a mainstay in Iowa City for a sweet breakfast treat and a good, cheap cup of coffee. It takes pride in its customer service, hometown feel and homemade doughnuts. If you’re feeling adventurous, try their maple bacon longjohns or a sausage roll—a cheddarwurst wrapped in sweet dough and fried. The shop recently relocated but remains on Iowa City’s east side.
6 S Dubuque St, Iowa City,
Downtown Iowa City’s ultimate come-as-you-are bar—or, “Institute of Higher Learning,” as the signage reads—offers a spacious eclectic atmosphere with plenty of booths and big screen TVs to watch the Hawkeyes, Cubs or the Simpson’s during their famous “Angry Hour.” Famous for Bloody Marys and surly service, the Deadwood loves you and you will love the Deadwood. Cash only, no food.
Della Viti Wine Lounge
203 1st Ave SE, Cedar Rapids,
319-409-7421, dellaviticr.com, $$
Sample hand-selected wines by the splash, glass or bottle from self-serve wine stations in this downtown Cedar Rapids lounge. If you need guidance as you make your way through the numerous choices, look for a knowledgeable staff member who can guide you to something you’ll like. Locally-brewed craft beer and a selection of fine spirits are available for those who don’t identify as winos and a small plate menu provides sustenance.
Deluxe Cakes & Pastries
812 S Summit St, Iowa City,
319-338-5000, deluxeiowa.com, $$
Buttery croissants baked to perfection, delicate French macarons and a welcoming staff are just a few reasons to visit. Deluxe provides a neighborhood feel that is as rich as the items on the menu. Newly renovated and now open for Sunday brunch with expanded savory menu items.
Dodge Street Coffeehouse
2790 N Dodge St, Iowa City,
This child-friendly coffee shop pushes Iowa City’s northern boundary and serves coffee, espresso and tea drinks as well as your favorite foods from local eateries for a balanced, healthy breakfast or lunch. Bonus: there’s a drive-through!
110 E College St, Iowa City,
319-338-7355, donnellyspub-ic.com, $$
Check out the next Hawkeye game at Donnelly’s Pub and take advantage of their daily lunch and drink specials. Try their classic Irish-American entrees like the mouthwatering Reuben or patty melt, and be sure to wash it down with one of their craft beers!
Dry Creek Brew
100 E Main St, Robins,
Inside a cozy converted house—complete with exposed brick, wood floors and front-porch seating—you’ll find coffee, a small bites menu and the best breakfast burrito you’ve ever had. The tap beer selection features a good lineup of local brews and changes weekly, which means repeat visits to Dry Creek are a must.
5 S Dubuque St, Iowa City,
No night on the town is complete without stopping at this classic Iowa City basement bar. Order a round of cocktails, play some darts or squeeze yourself into one of their small but charming booths for some conversation. If you aren’t careful you might end up staying till close. Time has a way of flying at the Dublin Underground, but it’s always time well spent. Cash only, no food.
1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-640-2160
213 Iowa Ave, Iowa City, 319-338-2404
Mix up your usual late-night cuisine by stopping by Dumpling Darling any time before 10 PM during the week or until bar close Thursday through Saturday. They offer dumplings (fried or steamed), bao buns and a variety of vegetarian, gluten-free, and vegan options!
Dunn Brothers Coffee
3284 Crosspark Rd Ste A, Coralville,
319-665-2020, dunnbrothers.com, $
Hidden inside this strip mall suite is a coffee roastery with a bevy of breakfast, lunch and beverage options. Enjoy a casual lunch or a quick coffee from the drive-through. Warm up by the fire or take in some fresh air on the patio.
Eastbank Venue & Lounge
97 3rd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids,
319-365-0759, eastbankvenue.com, $$
Located in the old Smulekoff’s building (a furniture store that operated for more than 120 years in downtown Cedar Rapids), Eastbank Venue is a 14,000 square foot event space that can be customized to the unique flavor of your event. Exposed brick with centuries-old paint combine with purple lights and dangling crystals bringing an 1890s meets 1990s lounge vibe to the cocktail bar next door, currently only open for private events.
The Edison Pub and Eatery
475 Northland Ave NE, Cedar Rapids,
319-200-6662, edisonseatery.com, $$$
Belly-filling comfort food is the name of the game at the family-friendly Edison. Think burgers and sammies, calamari and onion rings, and baked mac and cheese and corned beef and cabbage. Hit up this upscale pub during lunch for great specials or during happy hour for two-for-one wine deals.
Edith Lucielle’s Bait Shack and Wing Depot
6913 Mount Vernon Rd SE, Cedar Rapids,
319-320-6064, baitshackfun.com, $
Located in southeast Cedar Rapids, along the banks of Squaw Creek, Edith Lucielle’s serves up classic down-home food, offering breakfast, lunch and dinner, daily specials and live music.
555 Gateway Place SW, Cedar Rapids,
319-366-1715, elbajiocr.com, $
If you are on the quest for authentic, homestyle Mexican cuisine, look no further! Bringing to Cedar Rapids the flavors of the west-central region of Mexico, El Bajio is a treat to the plate. From simple taco options to elaborate meat medleys like the Molcajetes there is something for both the timid and the adventurous.
327 E Market St, Iowa City,
319-358-2836, elbanditosiowacity.com, $$
Located in the Northside neighborhood, El Banditos offers a wide variety of delicious Mexican dishes made from family recipes and local ingredients. Banditos embodies traditional Mexican flavors with an emphasis on fresh and local. Stop in over the weekend for one of the best brunches in town.
102 2nd Ave, Coralville,
El Dorado is a must if you love a good Tex-Mex platter and fresh salsa. You are sure to enjoy eating in the restaurant as well, because their décor is bright and festive and lends to a relaxed, happy environment.
El Paso Taqueria and Latin Market
609 Hollywood Blvd, Iowa City,
El Paso is home to some of Iowa City’s best burritos and authentic tacos. Place your order and while you’re waiting, wander through the aisles of the small adjoined bodega. Tallboys of Tecate or Michelada make the perfect beverage to enjoy alongside a plate of tacos.
El Senor Cactus
1534 S Gilbert St, Iowa City,
319-354-0444, elcactuscoralville.com, $
El Senor Cactus is famous for their margaritas. There’s nothing prickly about the service at this friendly neighborhood joint. No relation to Cactus Cantina or Cactus 1, 2 or 3 in downtown Iowa City.
El Sol Mexican Cuisine
240 W Main St, Solon,
319-624-2020, elsolrestaurante.com, $$
In a cozy brick building on the main drag of Solon, El Sol offers delicious food, ranging from steak fajitas to a vegetarian burrito. Their full bar makes for a great night out with friends and sometimes you can catch live music.
El Super Burrito & Lupita’s
3300 Johnson Ave, Cedar Rapids,
This tiny gray house on the northwest side of Cedar Rapids is home to delicious traditional and street Mexican cuisine. Their extensive menu ensures just about any craving is sure to be satisfied and be sure to indulge your sweet tooth with something from the in-house bakery, Lupita’s.
376 S Clinton St, Iowa City,
319-519-2044, theencountercafe.com, $
Feel good about where you spend your money: Just south of downtown Iowa City proper, Encounter Cafe, a community-minded restaurant serves panini, smoothies, wraps and omelets to hungry patrons and all profits from the cafe are funnelled back to the community through local charities and organizations doing good.
Estela’s Fresh Mex
184 E Burlington St, Iowa City,
319-354-6264, estelasfreshmex.com, $
Giant breakfast burritos stuffed full of your favorite toppings are an obvious draw, but everything from tacos to burrito bowls and quesadillas are made fresh right in front of you. The Iowa City location is a great spot for breakfast on your way to class or a quick lunch or dinner. The new Coralville location has an outdoor seating area and serves alcoholic beverages.
102 B 2nd Ave, Coralville,
319-354-4710, exoticindiarestaurant.com, $$
Everything you hope for in an Indian place, done well, at a great price. Hot chai; Kingfisher, Taj Mahal and Flying Horse beers; warm fluffy naan baked in a clay oven; a lunch buffet that never disappoints. If you live in Iowa City/Coralville, their curries and tandoori fare should probably be part of your regular routine if it isn’t already.
Falbo Bros. Pizzeria
457 S Gilbert St, Iowa City, 319-337-9090,
2100 Norcor Ave, Coralville, 319-248-9090,
3286 Crosspark Rd, Coralville, 319-626-2788,
Late-night pizza and subs are offered at Falbo’s and commonly enjoyed by undergrads. If you’re feelin’ a little cheesy, try their stuffed pizza which is loaded with cheese and toppings. A new location opened in the Coralville/North Liberty gray area.
Fiesta Mexican Restaurant
720 Pacha Pkwy, North Liberty,
319-626-2935, fiestadsm.com, $$
Come hungry to Fiesta Mexican Restaurant. That’s because the portions are big enough to share and the dishes so flavorful you won’t be able to put down your fork. A few must-try items include: pork carnitas, the choripollo (chicken, chorizo and cheese), shrimp and crab chimichangas and the sopes. Wash it down with a refreshing agua fresca.
118 E College St, Iowa City, 319-358-2555,
404 E College St #100, Iowa City, icfilmscene.org, $$
With a new second location now open in The Chauncey, this downtown movie theater emphasizes independent and outsider genres with such curatorial expertise that the L.A. Times once cried, “It’s long been known that the art house scene in Los Angeles lags behind that of New York, but must we be outdone by Iowa City as well?” They’ve got local beers on tap, a nice selection of wine and mixed drinks and the locally roasted coffee (and of course popcorn) heighten the experience.
The Fish Store
4342 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids, $
From the folks who managed the beloved Boston Fish comes The Fish Store. Patrons of Boston Fish will recognize classics from the original menu, plus they’ll enjoy new dishes like the Hot Fish; this seafood twist on hot chicken is walleye battered in hot and spicy seasoning, then hand-breaded and fried.
404 E College St, Ste 202, Iowa City,
319-519-6445, chaunceyfix.com, $
Located on the second floor of The Chauncey, this open-concept coffee spot caters to both grab-and-go customers and those who like to linger over a cup of joe with friends. Traditional espresso drinks, such as lattes and cappuccinos, share the menu with trendy sippers like the frothy shakerato and the elegant cortado.
The Flying Wienie
103 8th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids,
319-861-3036, theflyingwienie.com, $
This charming joint is full of personality and flavor, bringing a little piece of the Windy City to Cedar Rapids since 1999. The Chicago-style dogs are naturally a menu staple, but you’d be missing out if you don’t try the baby back ribs or the hand cut fries.
1006 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids,
319-320-9992, fongspizza.com, $$
The NewBo location marks the second installment of Fong’s in Iowa—the flagship restaurant is in Des Moines. Expect thin crust pizza with an Asian twist (their most well-known pie boasts crab rangoon toppings) as well as standard straightforward ’zas. It’s a great place to get a tiki drink, and you’ll be surrounded by eclectic and kitschy décor. Fong’s is open late for a snack after a CSPS show.
221 E College St, Iowa City,
319-338-8880, formosadowntown.com, $$
Formosa is known for their fast service and phenomenal sushi. You can find them on Hotel Vetro’s first level, and expect a fresh, sleek atmosphere when you walk in the door. Be sure to make a reservation if you want to enjoy dinner here and check out their sushi and drink specials during the week!
Frida Kahlo Mexican Restaurant and Lucy’s Bakery
101 Windflower Ln #500,
Solon, 319-624-2107, $$
On the south edge of Solon, Frida Kahlo offers wonderful Mexican food, but it is the traditional Tres Leches Cakes and Pastries from Lucy’s Bakery combined with the community spirit of this large event space that make Frida Kahlo stand out in a crowded field of great Mexican restaurants. There is often live music including regular salsa and tango nights. Visit once and you’ll become a regular.
341 S Linn St, Iowa City,
At this Chinese bakery, the ornately decorated cakes look almost too beautiful to eat. (We said almost.) Everything is handmade, from the cakes and breads to the baked buns with to-die-for creamy centers. Order a fruit tea or milk tea—try the purple rice version—to complement the sweet treats.
103 1st St NE, Mount Vernon,
If Mount Vernon had a living room, it would be Fuel Nest. Stop by for delicious baked goods and fresh-brewed coffee and if you have a few spare minutes, wander around. The shop is filled with an eclectic mix of local art, antiques and curios—all for sale.
Gabby’s Mexican Restaurant
1100 N Columbus, West Liberty,
This teeny Mexican restaurant has a plain, bare-bones interior, but what it lacks in ambience, it makes up for in flavor and authenticity. The menu features Mexican-style “street tacos”—corn tortillas, meat, onion, cilantro and lime—and other traditional Mexican dishes, like tortas and menudo. For the less-adventurous among us, there are also more Americanized dishes and combination plates and everything is ridiculously inexpensive.
330 E Washington St, Iowa City,
319-351-9175, icgabes.com, $
The dive bar and music venue features a history of Iowa City music all over their walls and in its roots. Gabe’s has been a tour stop for famous bands before they found fame, and features all types of music from techno, indy, metal and hip hop. Aside from their music credentials, their beer garden is a go to for Iowa City folk to catch up with old friends and meet new ones. Gabe’s is exactly what you want from a local bar and music venue—legendary music cred, wide selection of beer and a casual, cool vibe.
210 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, 319-337-4058,
Graduate Hotel’s retro-styled restaurant and bar pays homage to Iowa alum Gene Wilder and his most prolific decade—the 1970s. Frozen and batch cocktails as well as 40-ounce wines mingle with more classic food options (think wings, burgers, salads) in this time capsule of a restaurant.
312 E Market St, Iowa City,
A favorite with the locals, this small Northside neighborhood watering hole has some of the best cheeseburgers around. Order from the bar’s selection of whiskey served with a beer, get a pitcher for the table, or knock back a bottle or two of brew. Voted Best Late Night Food and Best Home Away From Home in Little Village’s 2019 Best of the CRANDIC awards.
1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids,
You can’t beat freshness, and this place delivers just that! Get Fresh offers an impressive and healthy selection of beverages like daily-squeezed juices, juice blends and cleanses, smoothies and more.
Gianna’s Italian Beef
375 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids,
319-200-2994, giannasbeef.com, $
Classic Italian beef sandwiches, Chicago-style hot dogs, shoestring fries—even Italian ice, available seasonally—are reminiscent of Chicago stalwarts. Expect a minimal menu, but trust that everything is satisfying.
Glyn Mawr Winery
103 1st St W, Mt Vernon,
319-895-8790, glynmawr.com, $$
The industrial chic look of this tasting room makes for a cool setting at which to imbibe. Sip and sample locally made wine from Glyn Mawr, Iowa craft beers and kombucha. All wines are made with Iowa grapes; select from a glass, bottle or wine cocktail. The winery offers snacks, but if you need something heartier, order food from a nearby restaurant.
Golden Delight Bakery
2289 Johnson Washington Rd, Kalona,
So much more than just a bakery, this gaslit bakery-in-a-house is run by an Amish family in Kalona. The glazed donuts are something straight out of your dreams, but the cinnamon bread and cheesy garlic loaf are equally as good. You can also find locally made quilts, preserves, handmade rocking chairs and Grandfather clocks.
Goldfinch Tap + Eatery
740 10th St, Marion,
319-826-2047, goldfinchtap.com, $$$
The scratch kitchen at this small yet stylish restaurant churns out high-end pub fare. Highlights include: spicy beef tartare, seared smoked salmon, burgers topped with prosciutto, and housemade carrot cavatelli with slow-cooked eggplant. If you’re thirsty, go for one of the inventive cocktails; the Big Easy Punch blends light and dark rums with an absinthe float.
121 W Main St, Solon, 319-624-8423,
Sisters Kari Haugse and Krystal Nielsen opened Solon’s only coffee shop, serving coffee drinks and sandwiches in a comfortable, homey setting.
203 N Linn St, Iowa City, 319-351-1924,
This Northside Iowa City eatery has an eclectic all-day breakfast menu, grain bowls you actually want to eat, kick-ass French fries and well-crafted cocktails. WInner: Best Business Lunch in Best of the CRANDIC 2019
450 5th Ave SE, Cedar Rapids,
Focusing on locally sourced, made from scratch food, this little eatery located inside the Cedar Rapids Public Library prepares sandwiches, soups and salads made with the finest ingredients, and vegan and vegetarian options are part of their menu. Greyhound also offers an exciting catering menu featuring boxed lunches, hor d’ouevres, sliders and more.
Grin ‘n’ Goose
227 2nd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids,
Casual atmosphere, good sandwiches and onion rings as well as an express lunch option for downtown office workers on a time schedule.
201 3rd Ave SW, Cedar Rapids,
319-200-2791, groundswell.hub25.org, $
Here, your cooked-to-order omelet or cranberry walnut salad comes with a feel-good perk. That’s because Groundswell uses sustainable and organic ingredients from Cultivate Hope Urban Farm, where children get a chance to learn about growing food and healthy eating, plus the café’s servers donate 100% of their tips to a fund that provides meals for the less fortunate.
702 S Gilbert St, Iowa City,
319-354-8629, gumbyspizzeria.com, $
Gumby’s is here for you and your late-night cravings. They’ve got everything from wings to subs to pizza. If you haven’t tried their cheesy garlic bread sticks, AKA “pokey stix,” you are missing out. They deliver their affordable food until 2 a.m. or later.
560 Boyson Rd NE Suite A, Cedar Rapids,
319-449-5005, gumptioncr.com, $$
This is a restaurant with real heart. gumption. focuses on creating a positive, hip environment for breakfast and lunch, utilizing local and seasonal ingredients with a menu that highlights unique twists on traditional favorites.
Hacienda las Glorias
4317 Center Point Rd NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-294-0082, haciendalasglorias.com, $$
715 1st Ave SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-363-7344, haciendalasglorias.com, $$
A stalwart in the Cedar Rapids food scene offering Tex-Mex and authentic Mexican dishes and an extensive margarita menu with a rotating seasonal feature. Bonus fun fact: the building Hacienda inhabits is rumored to be haunted!
1806 Boyrum St, Iowa City,
Stocking certified halal foods and groceries as well as halal meats.
Hale Tap and Supper Club
5522 County Rd E45, Hale,
This classic roadside supper club serves tenderloins the size of your face, prime rib and all-you-can-eat walleye.
Hamburg Inn No. 2
214 N Linn St, Iowa City,
319-337-5512, hamburginn2.com, $$
Hamburg Inn has been an Iowa City staple since 1948. They specialize in breakfast, but you haven’t really eaten there until you’ve tried one of their famous pie shakes. Keep an eye out for a new location opening on Coral Ridge Avenue (with alcoholic beverages!), a Hamburg Inn food truck and the possible reopening of Hamburg Inn’s Rochester Avenue restaurant.
Happy Dogs Food and More
2201 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids,
319-573-8955, biggdaddydogs.com, $$
Happy Dogs (formerly Bigg Daddy’s Dogs) now offers burgers, wings, brisket, gyros and more at its new 16th Avenue SW location. Plus, if you are not feeling like leaving the comfort of your home, they deliver anywhere in Cedar Rapids, Hiawatha and Marion.
Happy Joe’s Pizza
102 2nd Ave, Coralville, 319-351-6900
5070 Lindale Dr, Cedar Rapids, 319-393-0017
3315 Williams Blvd SW, Cedar Rapids, 319-396-0626
Serving the area since 1974, Happy Joe’s is known for being kid-friendly and inventing the taco pizza. Consider this pizzeria for your next event: a party room is available at the Lindale Drive location in Cedar Rapids. Delivery is available at all Happy Joe’s locations.
943 25th Ave, Coralville,
319-359-1744, havelicoralville.com, $$
Authentic Indian cuisine is in abundance at Haveli, which offers a staggering 100-plus menu choices. Anything is good here, but the traditional thali meal provides a sample of classic dishes. Enjoy the Bollywood music videos playing on loop as you consume far too many pakora.
Her Soup Kitchen
625 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, 319-354-1602,
The sandwiches are outstanding, the salads are littered with delicious nuggets and treats that make consuming your leafy greens a joy and the housemade soup is entirely comforting on a cold wintry day. One of the highlights of this family-owned and -operated restaurant is the endless pitchers filled with cucumber water. It’s like a trip to the spa!
Heyn’s Ice Cream
25 Cherry St, North Liberty, 319-665-2249,
811 S 1st Ave, Iowa City, 319-354-1981,
Take a detour and visit Heyn’s for homemade ice cream in classic and surprising flavors. They offer premium ice cream in gluten-free, vegan, and dairy-free flavors. Best Cold Treat in the Best of the CRANDIC 2019.
High Ground Cafe
301 E Market St, Iowa City, 319-338-5382,
925 E 2nd Ave, Coralville, 319-339-4390,
1150 5th St #130, Coralville, 319-519-6213,
Enjoy pour-over coffee, an espresso drink or a hot cup of tea at this popular downtown study space, or visit one of the two Coralville locations. All shops offer similar coffee, espresso and tea menus as well as salads, panini, wine and beer.
1100 N Dodge St, Iowa City,
319-338-3063, hilltoptavernnorthside.com, $$
A northside Iowa City neighborhood classic since 1933, the Hilltop is a great place to watch the Hawks, eat something fried, or saunter in any day of the week that you don’t feel like cooking. You’ll find all your midwestern comfort food, like Reubens, corn dogs, patty melts and breaded tenderloins. Check their website for monthly lunch specials, which usually sell out.
201 S Clinton St, Iowa City,
Named for the Taiwanese word for delicious, this new spot in Iowa City’s Old Capitol Town Center offers a mix of Taiwanese rice dishes, Vietnamese curry dishes and pho.
Hudson’s Southside Tap
482 Hwy 1 W, Iowa City,
319-499-1058, hudsonsic.com, $$
A favorite on Iowa City’s south side boasting 40 beers on tap and a whiskey list to match, Hudson’s is the perfect place for a quick drink after work.
Hurts Donut Company
1301 5th St #105, Coralville,
319-499-1647, hurtsdonutco.com, $$
Hurts Donut Company is a chain of gourmet donut shops open “25 hours a day and 8 days a week” according to its website. Lines may be long but the flavors are worth the wait. Hurts is known for offering jaw dropping selection of donuts. Hurts Donut offers between 60-70 gourmet donut options throughout the week including a S’mores donut, an Apple Pie donut and the Cereal Killer, which is a donut topped with cereal ranging from Cap’n Crunch to Fruit Loops. Sample the Hurts Dozen which includes 12 staff-picked donuts for just $12!
227 E Washington St, Iowa City,
319-354-2775, indiacafeiowa.com, $$
50 W Burlington Ave, Fairfield,
641-472-1792, indiacafeiowa.com, $$
A popular lunch buffet with a good variety, India Cafe also opens up for dinner in the evenings after closing in the mid-afternoon for lunch. Order off the menu to be able to choose your spice level—if you love the heat, go as spicy as possible for full flavor.
Iowa Brewing Company
708 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids,
319-366-2337, iowabrewing.beer, $
This small Cedar Rapids brewery boasts a staggering eighteen house-brewed beers on tap. In addition to creations made themselves, they offer many guest taps for those in the mood for something a little less localized. Check out their events calendar for a nice roundup of trivia nights, specials, live music and ping pong tournaments.
Iowa Chop House
223 E Washington St, Iowa City,
319-359-1078, theiowachophouse.com, $$
This restaurant proudly emphasizes steaks and chops, which can be spiced up with bold flavors such as blue cheese crust, béarnaise sauce or bacon butter. What really sets this place apart is their vast, interesting and thoughtful lineup of local and regional craft beers that you can learn about at their interactive, self-serve, beer barn.
Iowa City Yacht Club
13 S Linn St, Iowa City,
319-337-6464, iowacityyachtclub.org, $
This club features live music and drink specials and a classic bar food in an historic building in downtown Iowa City. The basement venue features touring and local shows and some form of entertainment every Monday-Saturday evening.
Iowa River Power Company Restaurant
501 1st Ave, Coralville,
319-351-1904, iowariverpower.net, $$$
This Iowa City favorite has been around for over 35 years, offering exquisite American cuisine and exceptional service with a fantastic view of the Iowa River. They combine the comfort of a welcoming, relaxed environment with the excellence of a fine dining experience. Their brunch is to die for, and while their menus are pricy, on-the-house mimosas more than make up for it. This is a popular destination for visitors and locals alike, so be sure to make a reservation for your weekend dinner at IRPC!
Jalapeño Mexican Restaurant
40 Sugar Creek Ln, North Liberty,
Blink and you might miss this hole-in-the-wall restaurant. But don’t let its modest exterior fool you; inside you’ll find a warm and lively place serving some of the best Tex-Mex around. First things first: order the mango chile margarita. Then dive into the menu of fajitas (five styles), tortas, chimis and quesadillas.
440 N Dubuque St, North Liberty,
319-626-3033, jatapbar.com, $
If you’re up for a challenge, try the Big John—a $25.00-two-pound-burger served with a pound and a half of tater tots. If you can eat it under 30 minutes, it’s free! And if you’re not in the mood to rise to the challenge, J&A Tap has sand volleyball, live music, and is a down-to-earth place to hang out and drink.
211 1/2 E Washington St, Iowa City, 319-341-0012
713 Mormon Trek Blvd, Iowa City, 319-887-1215
1575 1st Ave S, Iowa City, 319-248-2074
555 Hwy 965, Ste A, North Liberty, 319-371-3100
Java House has everything a good coffee shop should have: a cozy, warm ambience, fresh-brewed coffee and a commitment to promoting community. Stop by their Washington Street location on Fridays at 2 p.m. to watch a live Iowa Public Radio show, or any other day of the week to work on papers, catch up with friends or relax with a good book. If the downtown space is too packed for your taste, check out their other spots for a less busy but equally charming Java House experience. Voted Best Coffeehouse in Little Village’s 2019 Best of the CRANDIC awards.
Jefferson County Cider
1839 200th St, Fairfield,
641-451-4323, jeffersoncountycider, $
This Fairfield-based cidery is a seasonal operation, but their inventive and refreshingly dry cider is on tap at many local establishments year-round. Plan a visit for the warmer months when the food truck camps out on the cidery lawn and live music is scheduled.
JiangHu Asian Street Food
110 E Court St, Iowa City,
319-569-1733, spiciertaste.com, $$
A fresh addition to downtown Iowa City, JiangHu offers customers a taste of authentic Chinese street food, serving traditional Asian street soup, (MaLatang), barbequed skewers and noodle dishes. While delicious any time of the day, JiangHu is open til 1 a.m. through the week and 3 a.m. on the weekends making it an ideal stop after a night on the town.
Jimmy Jack’s Rib Shack
1940 Lower Muscatine Rd, Iowa City, 319-354-7427
745 Community Dr, North Liberty, 319-665 2486
Jimmy Jack’s offers a selection of classic, delicious barbecue offerings. With tender smoked meats, addictive honey butter cornbread and house-made barbecue sauces, this casual, family-style restaurant offers the perfect place to sit and enjoy a taste of the South with a bottle of beer or one of their craft sodas.
Jim’s Rib Haven
531 24th St, Rock Island, IL,
Come for the ribs—duh! Stay for the mac ‘n’ cheese. This hole-in-the-wall Quad Cities institution has been in business since 1967. Don’t miss it!
115 Iowa Ave, Iowa City,
319-351-5897 , joesplace-ic.com, $
Never a cover and 21+ only, Joe’s Place is a grown-up playground in the heart of downtown Iowa City. It’s chock full of pool tables, dart boards, foosball and more than 20 TVs on which to watch all the games, and in 2017 it became the first downtown Iowa City bar to offer a rooftop patio. (Don’t worry, there are TVs up there, too.) There is a window by the bar where hungry patrons can order a pizza from next-door-neighbor PiZan Pizza.
401 E Market St, Iowa City,
319-337-2183, johnsgrocery.com, $
This Iowa City staple since 1948 continues to have a large variety of beer, wine and spirits from all over the world. John’s is committed to providing local options by offering things like: Bluebird coffee, sushi from Formosa, Oasis hummus, Dumpling Darling and more. John’s deli produces fresh bread, breakfast sandwiches and pastries every morning and offers daily lunch specials and fresh soups, all alongside their famous fried chicken. John’s Grocery is a must-visit for those on the Northside looking for daily essentials or a quick bite to eat.
Jon’s Ice Cream Store and Restaurant
231 W Marengo Rd, Tiffin,
319-545-2558, jonsicecreamtiffin.weebly.com, $
Tiffin may be fast growing, but it’s managed to maintain its small-town Iowa charm thanks in part to community stalwarts like Jon’s. The seasonal ice cream shop and diner—known for serving both hard and soft ice creams, and a killer breaded pork tenderloin—has been the beating heart of Tiffin for more than 35 years. Jon’s walk-up window, dining room and drive-through are bustling all summer long as everyone from softball players to sweet-toothed seniors gather to enjoy a cone or Clipper Whipper.
212 S Clinton St, Iowa City,
319-358-0776, josephssteak.com, $$$$
A place for special celebrations or a Tuesday night dinner at the comfort of the dark bar. Offering a classic steakhouse menu filled with seafood, steak, and abundant side dishes, those looking for something a bit lighter can rest easy knowing the menu also boasts small plates, sandwiches and burgers.
100 1st St W SW, Mt Vernon,
319-800-9288, kaeapothecary.com, $
This holistic wellness shop offers unique and carefully-crafted loose tea blends that can help calm and soothe or boost and invigorate.
Kalona Brewing Company
405 B Ave, Kalona,
319-656-3335, kalonabrewing.com, $$
Hidden in the idyllic city of Kalona, this destination craft brewery and sophisticated scratch kitchen restaurant focuses on natural, local ingredients. Their “Heavenly beers, brewed by mere mortals,” including Kalona Classic Light Lager and Sucha Much IPA, are also exported out of the historically Amish area to taps and shelves across eastern and central Iowa.
2206 540th St SW, Kalona,
319-656-4220, kalonacreamery.com, $
A visit to Kalona Creamery (located in the former Kalona Cheese Factory) involves numerous local treats from cheese curds to specialty meats to pastries. Dine in at the deli and for a high quality sandwich, soup or salad.
616 5th Ave SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-362-5216,
945 6th Ave, Marion, 319-310-5509, kathyspies.com
This long-standing bakery in Cedar Rapids is regularly stocked with an extensive selection of treats to satisfy any sweet tooth. Look for a Marion location with additional menu items coming soon.
843 Quarry Rd, Coralville,
319-351-2880, konomigrill.com, $$
As one of the area’s best sushi restaurants, Konomi will not disappoint when you on our trip to the Iowa River Landing location to try their stellar rolls and Teppanyaki-style cuisine.
1020 Old Marion Rd NE, Cedar Rapids,
This sweet blast from the past is only open during the summer, serving ice cream and frozen yogurt at a reasonable price.
624 S Gilbert St, Iowa City,
A bridge over a koi pond guides you into the restaurant, where the tastes of Korea come alive. Sit at one of their barbecue tables and get the bulgogi, marinated beef grilled at your table.
400 Hakes Dr, Norwalk,
515-981-1625, laquercia.us, $
Served throughout the country, La Quercia makes delectable artisan cured meats that would make an Italian weep.
La Rana Bistro
120 Washington St, Decorah,
The new american cuisine at this family owned bistro is not to miss. The intimate and cozy atmosphere is welcoming and the variety of unique dishes are to die for. Great cocktails and an extensive wine and beer selection make it a prime choice for a dinner out.
436 Highway 1, Iowa City,
319-341-8226, laregiaia.com, $$
La Regia is Iowa City’s choice for traditional Mexican cuisine. The staff is efficient and friendly while delivering authentic Mexican dishes that stands out from the competition. From tacos to tortas and a variety of vegetarian options, La Regia is a great decision for anyone craving Mexican. For five straight years, La Regia has been named the best Mexican restaurant in Johnson County.
Lark and Owl
221 S Gilbert St, Iowa City,
An authentic Chinese breakfast might consist of fried dough and pickles or leek dumplings and a tea egg. At Lark and Owl, you can try both, or go for a sausage-and-egg Chinese crepe. As the restaurant’s name suggests, dinner is served here, too: barbecue skewers, braised chicken, cold noodles and more. After your meal, stick around for a karaoke session.
La Wine Bar & Restaurant
180 E Burlington St, Iowa City,
319-774-8541, la-wine-bar-restaurant.business.site, $$
La Wine Bar satisfies all of your late-night Korean food cravings—from hot pots and Korean fried chicken to tuna kimbap. The Asian-style bar also serves bubble tea, iced and hot fruit tea and alcoholic beverages, plus they offer live music, karaoke and an array of Asian board games to play.
201 S Clinton St, Iowa City,
Soboro bread, green tea sticks, red bean buns, and cream buns are just a few of the delicious Asian pastries offered at Le Gourmet. They are the only Korean restaurant in Iowa City to offer Asian pastries, and with their convenient Old Capitol Mall location, it is no hassle for Iowa City locals and students to grab one on their way to work or class.
301 1/2 Kirkwood Ave, Iowa City,
319-338-1909, leafkitchen.com, $$
Leaf Kitchen serves breakfast, lunch, brunch and gourmet tea. With an unforgettable decor and an array of delicious options; Leaf Kitchen is thee choice for an unforgettable meal. Featuring locally grown and raised ingredients whenever possible. The Granola Pancakes are basically three stacks of perfection on a plate.
2228 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids,
319-364-5537, leonardospizzacr.com, $$
Step into the time machine and go back to the sixties at this retro restaurant with red and black leather walls and antique jukeboxes decorating every booth—a classic destination in Cedar Rapids for over 60 years. Pizza is their star in their extensive menu but other offerings like burgers and sandwiches never disappoint. Open until midnight during the weekends and 11 p.m any other day of the week, Leonardo’s is the perfect stop for a late night bite.
180 Main St, Dubuque,
Hidden away on Lower Main, this well-curated live music venue and basement bar, has a great selection of craft and domestic beer in a TV-free environment.
Lighthouse Inn Supper Club
6905 Mt. Vernon Rd SE, Cedar Rapids,
319-362-3467, crlighthouseinn.com, $$
The third oldest restaurant in Iowa, this supper club serves traditional American entrees in an old-fashioned environment. Built in 1912, the Lighthouse has had a storied past. Rumored to be a place for Chicago mobsters to “beat the heat” during prohibition as well as a favorite spot of infamous guests such as Al Capone and John Dillinger, Lighthouse Inn is a go-to for a dose of history with your meal.
501 7th Ave SE Suite B, Cedar Rapids,
(319) 449-4046, $$
This place is such a little gem. Hidden behind Benz Beverage Depot, the main dining room of this little cafe is airy and light with a rolling garage door and the coffee and food menu is inspired, delicious and affordable. Try the shrimp tacos or the saffron latte.
125 1st St W Mount Vernon,
319-895-9463, foodisimportant.com, $$$
A Mt. Vernon favorite, Lincoln Winebar is a long-running wood-fired pizza joint that delivers some of the areas best wood-fired pies, a delightful selection of tinned fish and, of course, wine and beer.
Lion Bridge Brewing Company
59 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids,
319-200-4460, lionbridgebrewing.com, $$
Award-winning creative brews and inspired food (please, don’t skip the dessert!) in a modern industrial space perfect for groups large or small.
Little Bohemia Tavern
1317 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids,
Better known to locals as Little Bo, this charming historic saloon is one of the oldest bars in Cedar Rapids. The rustic decor and genuine bohemian dishes like the goulash, transport you to old Czech town.
The Local Craft – Ale House
4001 Center Point Road NE, Cedar Rapids,
When you need a burger topped with mac and cheese, head to The Local Craft. The menu is stacked with foods perfect for pairing with the restaurant’s rotating selection of beers. You’ve got breaded pickles with ranch dressing, a prime rib hoagie with melted provolone and towering burgers and platters of cheese curds.
The Local Crumb
221 1st St NE, Mount Vernon,
319-535-0623, thelocalcrumb.com, $
Located in the First Street Community Center, Local Crumb is a great place to buy artisan loaves of bread from a baker who is passionate in the pursuit of his craft. The brioche! The bagels! The sourdough! Everything is well worth the carbs. Available for pre-order and pick-up in Iowa City on Wednesdays and Thursdays in Cedar Rapids.
1611 32nd St NE, Cedar Rapids,
319-200-1002, loosies.business.site, $
The food lineup at Loosies might be small, as is the restaurant itself, but it’s mighty. Everything here is made with care and packed with flavor. Known for loose-meat sandwiches and hot dogs topped with loose meat, this place also serves malts, shakes, root beer floats and homemade pie.
2825 6th St SW, Cedar Rapids,
319-826-1870, loscompadresbarandgrill.com, $$
Los Compadres promises unique flavors from authentic recipes. Don’t skip the tableside guacamole!
LP – Street Food
302 3rd Ave SW, Cedar Rapids,
319-364-4042, lp-street-food.business.site, $$
The menu here features street food favorites like ramen, lettuce wraps, skewers and more. A balanced wine and beer menu pairs nicely with the internationally-inspired food. Visit during the winter months and make a reservation for one of their private heated “igloo” dining spaces; a great way to embrace the cooler temperatures with options for cocktail fountains and fondue.
1010 3rd St, Cedar Rapids,
319-200-2221, lusdeli.com, $
Named in honor of owner Laurie Konecny’s grandmother, this NewBo deli takes a simple and unfussy approach to the humble sandwich. Using family recipes, Lu’s provides customers with homemade sandwiches, soups, salads and desserts.
1705 Boyson Rd, Hiawatha,
319-200-4312, luckypennypub.com, $$
Lucky Penny uses high-quality ingredients throughout their classic menu of pizzas, sandwiches and burgers creating a casual, comfortable atmosphere that’s right whatever the occasion.
423 10th Ave, Coralville,
319-621-7481, maestroempanadas.com, $
This counter service restaurant offers a delicious selection of made-from-scratch empanadas, soups and desserts. The Maestro and chimichurri sauces are a must-order for dipping.
Maggie’s Farm Pizza
1308 Melrose Ave, University Heights, 319-351-4588,
Napoli-style pizza is the focus here, but let this only be the beginning of your family-style feast. The best way to do Maggie’s is to bring a crew and order a full spread of salads and antipasti—including meatballs, burrata, roasted brussels sprouts and creamy polenta. Of course get enough pizzas for everyone to try a couple of varieties, and be sure stick around for house-made gelato afterwards.
2315 Edgewood Rd SW, Cedar Rapids,
319-396-4337, maiphocr.com, $$
The menu at Mai Pho (also known as Pho Mai) is loaded with traditional Vietnamese dishes, each more intriguing than the last. In a casual, colorful dining room, sample familiar dishes, like their signature pho, or try a Vietnamese savory crepe.
Mama’s Deli and Catering
125 E Washington St, Iowa City,
319-341-0700, mamasdelicatering.com, $
The next time you’re looking around downtown Iowa City for a place to grab lunch—check out Mama’s satisfying, homemade specials. The expansive menu offers something for everyone in both half and whole sizes.
224 S Linn St, Iowa City,
There are a few things that set Mammitas apart from the average coffee shop. For one, its offering of Latin drinks—horchata and dulce de leche—and Mexican sweet breads. For two, a flower shop holds court in the back of the café. This means you can stop in for a hot espresso drink for yourself and then order a vibrant bouquet for a friend.
The Map Room
416 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids,
This miniature restaurant is your ticket to international flavors. Using the burger as the vehicle, MapRoom’s menu evokes the flavors of major international cities, transforming the ubiquitous into truly unique and inspired preparations.
Marco’s Grilled Cheese
117 N Linn St, Iowa City,
319-519-6777, marcosgrilledcheese.com, $
Welcome to the brick-and-mortar home of the popular food truck that’s been dishing out grilled cheese sandwiches to locals for two decades. In addition to serving all iterations of grilled cheese sammies (such as ham and cheese and quesadillas), Marco’s also offers gyros and tacos from the owner’s other food trucks.
920 E 2nd Ave #123, Coralville,
319-333-1018, marqueepizzeria.com, $$
Wood-fired pizza is the specialty here, made in an oven that journeyed to Coralville’s Iowa River Landing all the way from Modena, Italy. A garage door opens at the front of the restaurant on nice days, creating an indoor-outdoor, casual backyard party vibe. Salads, a couple of pasta dishes and a burger round out the menu.
Masala Indian Cuisine
9 S Dubuque St, Iowa City,
319-338-6199, masalaiowacity.com, $$
Relatively recently, Masala started including meat options on its menu, to appeal to a broader audience, but their vegetarian dishes truly shine. When the lunch buffet features malai kofta, make sure you have plenty of time for a nap after lunch: It’s impossible to not eat way too much of these delicious, vegetable-and-cheese balls and their accompanying tomato cream sauce.
Mas Margaritas Mexican Restaurant
588 Boyson Rd NE, Suite 124, Cedar Rapids,
Come for the micheladas—Mexican beer jazzed up with spices, chiles and tomato juice—and stay for the pozole and chile verde. Nearly everything here is homemade, from the tortillas to the sauces. The casual and convivial atmosphere makes it a great place for families to gather or friends to meet up for a drink.
1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids,
What started as a home-based bakery expanded to NewBo City Market and added savory Indian food to the menu, focusing on the fare typical of a street food vendor.
114 E Washington St, Iowa City,
319-351-6372, mesapizzaia.com, $
Mesa does pizza like no one else in the Iowa City downtown area. Their creative creations prove that they know how to mix flavors, from their Pulled Pork & Onion Rings pizza to their Chili Cheese Fries slice. The line stretches out the door until after bar close on weekend nights, so if you want to avoid a crowd, check out their lunch specials.
Micky’s Irish Pub
11 S Dubuque St, Iowa City,
The atmosphere is friendly, the pub grub hits the spot, and the beer is ice-cold. Micky’s is a great place to relax on the patio in the summer or warm up in their cozy booths during the winter.
Midtown Family Restaurant
200 Scott Ct, Iowa City, 319-351-9303,
1069 Hwy 1, Iowa City, 319-351-9323,
Enjoy traditional American cuisine with no fuss and no frills. Just good food and solid service. Every entrée comes with a roll, veggie and choice of potato, plus a starter of soup, salad, cottage cheese or applesauce. Dishes include homestyle favorites like chicken fried steak, baked white fish and grilled liver and onions.
715 2nd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids,
319-200-1094, midtownstationcr.com, $$
Who doesn’t love a restaurant that serves breakfast all day? At hip Midtown Station, you can get rumchata French toast at any hour, but you’ll be tempted to also try the share plates like homemade wontons or poutine with housemade gravy. That is, if you can resist the bourbon burger with a cedar glaze.
1426 6th St SW, Cedar Rapids,
Considered the best breakfast in town by many locals, this family style restaurant serves lunch and dinner using only the freshest ingredients. Their shipwrecks are a menu favorite, or if you prefer sweet to savory, try the cinnamon french toast. You will not regret it.
The Mill Restaurant
120 E Burlington St, Iowa City,
319-351-9529, icmill.com, $$
Specialty pizzas, saucy wings and deep fried pickles are a good reason to visit any restaurant, The Mill has all this and more. Opening in 1962 as a coffee house/restaurant/folk music venue, The Mill has been an outlet for Iowa City talent for over 50 years. A premiere location for those searching for dinner and entertainment. Feel like staying in? No worries, The Mill also offers free delivery to those in Iowa City.
Millstream Brewing Co.
835 48th Ave, Amana,
319-622-3672, millstreambrewing.com, $
Venture out to the Amana Colonies for a visit to one of Iowa’s oldest craft breweries, this European-style microbrewery got its start with just two beers. These days, it boasts more than 15 different beers and a couple of killer sodas as well as the Brau Haus—an authentic German Bierhalle with delicious German-style pub food
40 Sugar Creek Ln, North Liberty,
A stripmall setting may not be the first place you look for well-executed Italian cuisine, but in North Liberty, that is exactly where you’ll find it. This small, locally owned family business offers exceptional Italian-American staples in a casually sophisticated environment.
Moco Game Room & Hot Dog Bar
1602 E Ave NE, Cedar Rapids,
The eclectic decor and warm atmosphere of Moco encourages you to linger, which is a good thing as it gives you plenty of time to sample their wildly creative takes on the classic hot dog. Dogs come topped with anything and everything you can imagine, from hard-boiled eggs to Captain Crunch cereal. (Don’t knock it ‘til you’ve tried it.)
14 S Clinton St, Iowa City, 319-333-1297
Check out Molly’s for a specialty cupcake from their menu or, if those don’t suit your fancy, build your own! Molly’s contributes part of their profits to local schools, so satisfy your inner child’s sweet tooth and treat yourself at this local business that supports the children in our community.
303 2nd St, Coralville,
319-338-7400, monicasonthestrip.com, $$
Monica’s offers an extensive selection of delicious gluten-free menu items, making it truly a restaurant for all. The upscale Italian-American comfort food is served up by friendly and accomodating servers in a sleek, modern take on a diner.
Mosley’s Barbecue and Provisions
525 S Gilbert St, Iowa City,
319-338-1419, mosleysiowacity.com, $$
Delicious wafts of smoked meat will lure you in from the street. The sunny patio, simple but comfortable interior and rotating selection of beers will keep you in your seat for the better part of an afternoon if you’re not careful.
Mt Hamill Tap
1467 155th Ave, Donnellson,
If the dozens of cars lined up at this roadside bar don’t make it abundantly clear, this places is both legendary and a local favorite. Let’s be clear, everyone comes for the broasted chicken.
mystic-chocolate.com, 319-362-3054, $
Born out of her raw, vegan dessert company, Sweet Raw Joy, owner Laurie Moritz produces “plant medicine” in the form of artisan, stone-ground raw chocolate infused with medicine flower extracts and essences, quartz crystals and, most recently, CBD oil.
500 Marion Blvd, Marion,
319-377-2100, napolismarion.com, $$
Make time for a visit to Napoli’s where you’ll find made-from-scratch Italian standards ranging from noodles, entrees and desserts. Gluten-free options are available.
NaRa Thai Cuisine
1725 Blairs Ferry Rd, Marion,
319-200-4004, narathai.net, $$
NaRa offers an authentic but approachable menu of Thai appetizers, noodle and rice dishes, as well as street food and special dishes.
207 2nd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids,
319-362-6333, needcr.com, $$
Office-dwellers come for a slice at lunch, bar-hoppers visit for their wide selection of Iowa beer and late-night hours in addition to their delectable New Haven-style pizza. Order down a size—their medium pizza fills half a cookie sheet!
Nelson’s Meat Market
1140 Old Marion Rd NE, Cedar Rapids,
319-393-8161, nelsonsmeat.com, $$
Looking for an old-school, high-quality butcher? The team at Nelson’s Meat Market is knowledgeable and the glass cases boast a variety of unique cuts and preparations, fresh and frozen meat and seafood as well as a deli.
New Pioneer Co-op Café
1401 5th St, Coralville, $
Affordable breakfast, lunch, and snacks on-the-go with local and organic ingredients are now available in the Coralville Public Library. Options range from healthy to indulgent, with gluten-free, vegan and paleo-friendly choices just like in Co-op stores.
New Pioneer Food Co-op
22 S Van Buren St, Iowa City, 319-338-9441
1101 2nd St, Coralville, 319-358-5513
3338 Center Point Rd NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-365-2632
With locations in Iowa City, Coralville and Cedar Rapids, the New Pioneer Co-op provides a selection of both prepared foods and groceries, in addition to beer and wine. Focusing on local and organic, New Pi supports over 125 local producers who are committed to respecting and protecting our environment. New Pioneer does the label reading so you don’t have to and promises to follow high quality standards in the products it offers; genetically modified foods, artificial colors, sweeteners, flavors or preservatives are not allowed in any products on the shelves. Winner: of Best Grocery Store in Best of the CRANDIC 2019
Newbo City Market
1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids,
319-200-4050, newbocitymarket.com, $$
A variety of artisan vendors serve up unique food in the dynamic NewBo City Market—part business incubator, part gathering place, part food court.
No. 18 Karaoke and Bubble Tea
223 S Gilbert St, Iowa City,
Rent a room with your friends and enjoy a Boba tea or a smoothie while jam out to the karaoke machine!
Nodo & Nodo Downtown
600 N Dodge St, Iowa City, 319-512-5028
5 S Dubuque St, Iowa City, 319-359-1181
Whether it’s a sandwich, soup or salad you won’t be disappointed by the filling options at Nodo. Items are made fresh by a friendly staff who serve up a quality meal at a reasonable price. Huge salads filled with fresh ingredients make deciding between a salad or sandwich quite the dilemma. The egg sandwich is a deliciously affordable way to start any day and the mango relish on the Ham & Mango sandwich is not to be missed. Pair these options with Brew City Fries for just $2.50 and you’ll have any meal covered.
206 N Linn St, Iowa City,
319-358-7342, oasisfalafel.com, $
Living up to its name, Oasis Falafel offers a food oasis in Iowa City for those craving its Middle East offerings. Stop in for their famous falafel and hummus, and if you see they have matzo ball soup, get it. Voted Best Middle Eastern/Mediterranean Cuisine, Best French Fries and Best Restaurant for Delivery in the 2019 Best of the CRANDIC awards.
Old 218 Tap
108 E Main St, Hills, 319-679-2277, $
This archetypal small-town bar and grill serves a cold beer in a friendly atmosphere.
Old Capitol Tofu
108 E Main St, Hills, 319-679-2277, $
This archetypal small-town bar and grill serves a cold beer in a friendly atmosphere.
One More Bite
1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids,
This husband and wife collaboration began as a food truck but graduated into a stall in the NewBo City Market offering an eclectic variety of hot sandwiches, wraps and fries.
One Twenty Six and Moonrakers
126 E Washington St, Iowa City,
319-887-1909, onetwentysix.net, $$
Located on Washington Street, One Twenty Six has been a staple in the downtown dining scene for years. The menu features French-American cuisine made with local and organic ingredients when possible and is open for dinner or lunch. If you’re looking for a lighter dinner, head upstairs to One Twenty Six Lounge for burgers, wood-fired oven pizzas and a selection from the 126 menu, or hop over to Moonrakers for a selection of affordable small plates, pizzas and entrees.
Orchard Green Restaurant and Bar
521 S Gilbert St, Iowa City,
319-354-1642, orchardgreenrestaurant.com, $$$
Orchard Green’s menu features a variety of American-Mediterranean dishes as well as the classics. They use fresh ingredients and routinely change up their menu with the seasons. Fine dine in their premier dining room or enjoy a more casual meal in their intimate first-level lounge.
Oryza Asian Cuisine & Bar
5 Sturgis Corner Dr, Iowa City,
319-800-0088, oryzaic.com, $$
Locally-owned Oryza is a delight of Asian cuisine, offering customers a large selection of high-quality, flavorful Chinese, Vietnamese, Thai and Korean dishes. Monday through Friday, lunch diners can take advantage of their amazing lunch special: an entree, appetizer and soup for under $8.00! Visit for well-executed dishes at fair prices in a casual atmosphere.
1853 Lower Muscatine Rd, Iowa City,
319-337-8801, oyamaiowa.com, $$
5350 Council St NE, Cedar Rapids,
319-832-1800, oyamasushi.com, $$
Oyama is located in Cedar Rapids and Iowa City and owned by two separate people, but the original owner of both locations, Darren, is known for his enthusiastic affability and makes the trip to CR well worth it. You can expect the same quality cuisine at both locations, from their rolls to their cooked dishes.
117 1st St W, Mt Vernon,
319-895-4041, cafepalisades.com, $$$
There isn’t a more charming main street in all of Iowa than the one in Mount Vernon. This little town of 4,000 is bucolic midwestern college town living done right, and Palisades Cafe is just the kind of everyday luxury that, like the town itself, you might try once and then wonder what you’ve been doing with your whole life. The menu changes every month. The sun-drenched atmosphere and food are fresh, locally inspired and satisfying with an approachable modesty that welcomes all. Open Tuesday through Saturday for lunch and dinner, and for brunch on Sunday.
Paradise Bar and Grill
5200 Fountains Dr NE, Ste 100, Cedar Rapids,
319-318-2070, paradiseofcr.com, $$
This Indian restaurant and bar offers traditional and Indo-American fusion recipes and drinks.
Parlor City Pub and Eatery
1125 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids,
319-247-0000, parlorcitypubandeatery.com, $$
The extensive menu at Parlor City ranges from burgers to sandwiches to pizza. Order a Juicy Lucy and a pint of something on tap. This bustling tavern is a great spot to catch a live show of both local and nationally touring acts.
176 Locust St, Dubuque,
Touted by locals as “one of the original blue collar bars” in Dubuque, don’t expect too many frills. Paul’s serves a limited menu of sandwiches and burgers prepared on a vintage broiler and pours a good cold beer or a strong drink. Taxidermied animals keep tabs on the lively atmosphere of this local watering hole.
3287 6th St SW, Cedar Rapids,
319-362-6165, peismandarin.wixsite.com, $$
An institution in Cedar Rapids, this Chinese restaurant offers a wide variety of Chinese, Japanese and Korean dishes as well as sushi and a lunch buffet.
93 2nd St, Coralville,
This place has it all—American-Chinese favorites, self-serve ice cream, and sushi. The buffet setting ensures an opportunity to try it all.
Phong Lan Vietnamese Restaurant
216 8th St SE, Cedar Rapids,
Family owned and operated, this Vietnamese restaurant offers fresh and authentic cuisine, specializing in pho. The digs here are very humble, and reminiscent of a mom and pop type place in small-town Iowa aside from the Asian artwork and statues on the walls, but the food is what you’re here for, and it’s some of the best Vietnamese in the area.
1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, 319-343-8081, $
Pinoy Cafe offers a taste of classic Filipino food with entrees, desserts and beverages. Rotating “Dish of the Week” specials bring new items to the menu.
517 2nd St Unit 1, Coralville,
319-351-7484, pitapit.com, $
Pita Pit offers the efficiency and affordability of a fast food stop with the freshness of a homemade wrap. Choose from a variety of meat and veggie options to make your next meal exactly how you want it.
210 S Dubuque St, Iowa City,
319-337-4058, graduatehotels.com/iowa-city/restaurant/poindexter-coffee, $
Downtown Iowa City’s hip new Graduate Hotel boasts an on-site coffee shop, Poindexter Coffee. A wall covered in more than 170,000 No. 2 pencils references Iowa City’s rich literary history and the cafe offerings are worth lingering over, whether you’re a student on the run or an out-of-town guest.
Popoli Ristorante and Sullivan’s Bar
101 3rd Ave SW, Cedar Rapids,
319-363-1248, popolicr.com, $$$
The People’s Savings Bank, designed by Louis Henry Sullivan in 1912 and now named to Preservation Iowa’s Most Endangered Properties list, houses Popoli Ristorante and Sullivan’s Bar—an upscale steakhouse with an Italian twist. The original architecture of the bank is remarkable and the food is of note as well. Be sure to make it to their all-you-can-eat prime rib nights on Thursdays.
130 N Dubuque St, Iowa City,
319-354-7677, meatmeatpops.com, $
Since 2015, Pop’s has been a known for their affordable, quality BBQ by campus and northside residents alike. They’ve got the “old” classic dishes on hand, but be sure to try their “new” BBQ cuisine like the Pops Dawgs or the BBQ Cuban sandwich.
924 Main St, Grinnell,
641-236-0205, theprairiecanary.com, $$$
This airy open concept cafe brings a modern vibe to small-town Iowa. Creative, inspired dishes for both lunch and dinner paired with unique craft cocktails, wine and beer make this restaurant well worth the drive to Grinnell.
Prairie Lights Cafe
15 S Dubuque St, Iowa City,
319-337-2681, prairielights.com, $
Things to love about Prairie Lights Cafe: 1. Perfectly executed cafe drinks. 2. Unique and innovative drinks like the Espresso Tonic. Try one and thank us later. 3. The view from the cafe windows where you can sip your coffee and watch the traffic on Dubuque Street. 4. The Matcha Man Latte, a ginger infused matcha drink. 5. Perfectly small cookies from Deluxe Cakes and Pastries for when you need just a tiny nibble of sweet. 6. Proximity to loads of magazines, cookbooks and fiction. Voted Best Place to Read a Book in Little Village’s 2019 Best of the CRANDIC awards.
Prairie Soup Company
425 2nd St SE, Cedar Rapids,
319-362-0972, prairiesoup.com, $
Is Prairie Soup Co. downtown Cedar Rapids’ best kept lunch secret? This fresh and popular weekday daytime location serves homemade soup as well as panini, salad and deli sandwiches. The staff is friendly, the service is quick, and they’re accessible via the skywalk for convenience during inclement weather.
Press Coffee Company
2201 E Grantview Dr, Coralville,
This neighborhood spot was named for their coffee—they specialize in French-pressed java from local roasters. Press also sells Daylight Donuts to accompany your well-brewed cup of coffee. Flop in an overstuffed chair or couch and warm up by the fireplace during the colder months, and take in the hillside views on the tucked-away patio during summer.
Pullman Bar & Diner
17 S Dubuque St, Iowa City,
319-388-1808, pullmandiner.com, $$$
This train-car inspired diner has become an Iowa City favorite for foodies and casual diners alike. The menu is worth exploring; everything from cocktails to appetizers, breakfast to burgers is executed well. The best part? The open kitchen offers a front row seat to watch the master chefs work their magic.
895 Blairs Ferry Rd, Marion,
319-826-6667, qdogsbbqcompany.com, $$
This lively, rustic setting houses some of the best classic BBQ in the area. Sometimes the wait for a seat can be long, but it’s worth it for some of QDogs tasty fare. Tender brisket, savory ribs, and cornbread so good you’ll dream about it. Also a great spot for live blues music.
616 2nd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids,
This spacious industrial brewpub serves up a nice selection of craft beer and creative pizzas. But, the draw here are the arcade games lining the brick-walled interior offering gamers and nostalgia-seekers alike an opportunity to nerd out.
Quinton’s Bar & Deli
215 E Washington St., Iowa City, 319-354-7074
2500 Corridor Way, Coralville, 319-625-2221
450 1st St SW #101, Cedar Rapids, 319-200-4192
Stop by Quinton’s after enjoying a show downtown for their house specialties—like their Notorious P.I.G. or Drunken Mac N’ Cheese. They have food and drink specials every day of the week. Be sure to try their spuds before you leave!
Ramsey’s Wine Bistro
1120 7th Ave, Marion,
319-447-1700 ramseysmetromarket.com, $$
Uptown Marion’s unofficial living room, you can go to Ramsey’s almost any night of the week and find live music and a casual, friendly atmosphere. Tell the staff what you like and let them pick a glass of wine for you while you relax with your friends over a cheese plate, a salad or a sandwich.
Rapid Creek Cidery
4823 Dingleberry Rd NE, Iowa City,
319-541-7684, rapidcreekcidery.com, $$
This farm-to-table restaurant serves rustic food for both dinner and Sunday brunch in a century-old gable-roofed barn with views of the adjoining orchard. The housemade cider from Wilson’s Orchard flows freely from the taps along with craft cocktails, wine and beer. Rapid Creek Cidery also caters and hosts special events and weddings on-site.
1101 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids,
319-560-5090, rawlicious.us, $$
Not only can you order organic smoothies and cold-pressed juices at Rawlicious, you can also try a medicinal shot (the Immunity Fighter boasts turmeric, ginger, pineapple and black pepper oil), snack on gluten-free bell pepper chips and guac, or indulge in a vegan “tuna” sandwich. Rawlicious also offers full-service spa treatments at Brightside Wellness.
2419 2nd St, Coralville,
319-354-1071, redgingercoralville.com, $$
A sleek, contemporary interior hides behind this strip-mall storefront in Coralville. Once inside, have a seat at one of the handful of sunken booths, the expansive bar or a table in the open dining room. Order a bowl of authentic Ramen or a selection of fresh, quality sushi.
208 E Main St, Solon,
As the first pizzeria in Iowa to be certified by the Associazione Pizzaiuoli Napoletani and the Verace Pizza Napoletana, Red Vespa proudly features authentic Italian cuisine. Their cheese is housemade and makes their unique brick-oven pizzas even more delicious. Don’t miss out on their Italian-American specials though—the meatball sub is to die for.
405 N Dubuque St, North Liberty,
319-626-2100, redsalehouse.com, $$
Reds Alehouse perhaps began as neighborhood restaurant for the North Liberty crowd, but has morphed into an alehouse that draws patrons from all around the area. The vast selection of microbrews on tap makes this a great choice for beer-lovers and the large patio is an ideal spot to spend a lazy weekend afternoon. Drink responsibly: Happy hour at Reds allows you to enjoy 2-for-1 drinks!
834 Park St, Grinnell,
641-236-3657, relishgrinnell.com, $$
Fully embodying their slogan, “Local Foods Global Flavors,” Chef Kamal Hammouda mixes Midwestern flavors, local ingredients and recipes from the Middle East to create Relish’s diverse menu. Always looking to bolster the Grinnell community, Relish frequently hosts local musicians, adding to the already comfortable and charming atmosphere of the historic Victorian home in which Relish is situated.
516 2nd St, Coralville,
319-337-3000, reunionbrewery.com, $$
ReUnion’s hyperactive brewing program (it might be better classified as an addiction) starts with the lightest German Lagers and ends with giant IPAs and boozy barrel-aged monsters, stopping at Belgians, Sours and lots of other experimental destinations along the way. The menu here follows suit, offering everything from street tacos to pizzas and calzones, sandwiches, burgers, hefty pasta dishes, plenty of kid-friendly stuff and, of course, brunch on Sundays.
836 1st Ave NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-364-4779
568 Boyson Rd NE #150, Cedar Rapids, 319-826-3667
Either of the Riley’s Cafe locations make for a great start to the day, featuring countless breakfast, brunch, or lunch options on the daily. In dining rooms decorated with tchotkes, flair and memorabilia, you can enjoy a classic shipwreck or opt for the steak and eggs.
Roasters Coffee House
1059 N Center Point Rd, Hiawatha, 319-393-6001
1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids
The friendly staff will set you up with freshly roasted beans for your morning cup at home or prepare you a perfectly brewed drink. The plush seating and cozy interior of the Hiawatha location encourages a moment’s pause to savor your jolt of caffeine.
1507 C Street SW, Cedar Rapids,
319-200-2515, rodinaiowa.com, $$$
A blend of German, Czech and Midwestern comfort foods, Rodina delivers on the comfort without the typical heavy hand—everything feels light and fresh, yet simultaneously sumptuous and luxurious. Their well-curated food and beverage menus make ordering a breeze and the interior is inviting and warm while retaining a modern, airy feel. Voted Best Chef (Samuel Charles), Best Bartender (David Basinger) and Best New Business in Little Village’s 2019 Best of the CRANDIC awards.
Rollipop Rolled Ice Cream
1608 Sycamore St, Iowa City,
This newly opened ice cream shop specializes in trendy Thai-style rolled ice cream. Situated in a minimalist-inspired space in the Iowa City Marketplace, each order is made from scratch right in front of your eyes on a frozen surface and formed into spirals for a unique take on this classic frozen treat.
223 2nd St SE, Cedar Rapids,
319-200-4800, rubyspizzeria.com, $$
Accessible via the skywalk, Ruby’s is a quick-casual spot in downtown Cedar Rapids for a lunchtime slice or for a whole pie dining in for dinner.
Rusciano’s Authentic Taste of Napoli
710 Pacha Parkway Suite 5, North Liberty,
319-665-2761, ruscianos.com, $$
Under chef Gennaro Rusciano, a certified Pizzaiolo Verace, Rusciano’s offers North Liberty a taste of authentic Napoli—true Neapolitan pizza baked in a wood-fired brick oven, Neapolitan fried street-food and even a mozzarella bar.
Rustic Hearth Bakery
1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids,
The crew at Rustic Hearth takes the extra step to set their product apart from the competition by milling their own flour for their fresh handmade goods. Options rotate but include baguette, sandwich and sourdough loaves, cinnamon rolls and doughnuts.
301 N Dubuque St, Solon,
319-624-2870, ruzickascatering.com, $
Visit Ruzicka’s for an array of homemade sausages, steaks and roasts—a meat locker full of top-quality cuts of meat direct from local farmers, right here in Iowa awaits you. Their famous Jalapeno Salami has been made using the same recipe since the 70’s. If you’re planning a large event and don’t feel like cooking for a crowd, Ruzicka’s does a bang up job catering graduation parties, family reunions and weddings as well.
Sag Wagon Deli & Brew
827 Shaver Rd NE, Cedar Rapids,
This small cycling-themed watering hole is a popular spot for bikers at the end of a trail ride around Cedar Lake. In warmer months, send a location scout or come early as the small capacity bar fills up quick. A spacious outdoor patio handles bar overflow and entertains with life-sized Jenga, cornhole and sand volleyball.
803 2nd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids,
A small store, but what they lack in square footage, they make up for in selection. Stocked with a plethora of southeast Asian grocery staples, a great selection of instant noodles, kitchen supplies, sauces and unique well-priced produce. Staff is helpful and accomodating.
201 S Clinton St, Iowa City,
Their extensive menu of fresh Vietnamese food is sure to please; there’s something on the menu everyone will love from traditional favorites to unique creations. Saigon’s Corner makes the best broth!
Saint Burch Tavern and The Den Lounge
127 Iowa Ave, Iowa City,
319-341-7700, saintburchtavern.com, $$
Thoughtfully reimagined and renovated, the former Atlas Restaurant and Bar turned Saint Burch Tavern offers diners a taste of days gone by, with supper club and tavern vibes. Come in for inspired modern Midwestern fare and old supper club favorites like Burch’s raw oyster bar with a daily oyster happy hour. Downstairs, The Den offers a relaxing space to unwind serving cocktails, beer and select food in an enticing lounge setting.
Saloon Tequila Bar
112 E College St, Iowa City,
319-354-3837, saloontequilabar.com, $$
Located on the Iowa City Ped Mall, Saloon offers a Southwestern menu to be enjoyed at any time. For the best experience, sit on their patio while enjoying one of their many margarita offerings while you watch the Ped Mall action.
Salt Fork Kitchen
112 E Main St, Solon,
319-624-2081, saltforkkitchen.com, $$
Head to Solon and eat the food at Salt Fork Kitchen, among the area’s first true farm-to-table concept restaurants. You’ll find plenty of traditional items, but the specials are really where it’s at.
441 S Gilbert St, Iowa City,
319-337-8200, samspizzaic.com, $$
Get Sam’s pizza and calzones delivered to your doorstep, or stop in and enjoy a beer at their full-service bar with your meal! They offer a wide variety of specialties, toppings and crusts to make your food exactly how you like it.
405 S Gilbert St, Iowa City,
319-351-5692, sanctuarypub.com, $$
Founded in 1972, this casual pub offers 27 different imported and craft beers and happy hour specials Monday through Saturday. Their food menu features interesting and delicious dishes like the Lamb and Gruyere Sliders and the Baked Brie. They even have vegan and gluten free options for those with specific diets.
1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids,
319-200-4019, saucyfocaccia.com, $
5100 Fountains Dr NE Suite 100, Cedar Rapids, 319-294-6772, saucyfocaccia.com, $
The menu cornerstone—classic burgers on focaccia buns—are delightfully messy and equally delicious. Their house-made burger sauces let you dress up your basic burger however you like or go crazy with one of their inventive specials.
The Sausage Foundry
1100 3rd St SE , Cedar Rapids,
319-202-1631, thesausagefoundry.com, $$
With a mission focused on local products and sustainable production, this NewBo Market retailer prepares handmade artisanal sausage and meat products many made from heritage pork breeds.
Scott’s Family Restaurant
1906 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids,
319-550-4517, scottsfamilyrestaurant.com, $$
From all-day breakfast to patty melts and meatloaf, there’s something on the menu for everyone in the family. Hit the breakfast buffet on the weekend, treat yourself to all-you-can-eat cod and shrimp on Fridays or Sirloin Steak Night on Saturdays.
Schera’s Algerian American Restaurant
107 S Main St, Elkader,
563-245-1992, scheras.com, $$
This gem in sleepy, small-town Elkader is worth the short drive to experience first hand. They have a great beer and wine list for those into that sort of thing—small-batch craft brewers and a few low-intervention wines—and an assortment of Algerian specialties peppered with approachable American plates.
927 E 2nd Ave, Coralville,
319-359-2256, scratchcupcakery.com, $
With more than 125 cupcake flavors on the menu, Scratch rotates through a regular selection daily. Offered in mini and standard sizes as well as gluten-free and vegan preparations. If you’re one of those folks who eats the cupcake for the frosting, you can make a special order for their delectable buttercream with a bit of advance notice.
201 S Clinton St, Iowa City,
Have you ever tried Korean food? If not, or if you already know how hard it is to find good Korean food outside of Korea—check out Seoul Grill! Their hours are limited so be sure to stop by the first chance you get!
819 1st Ave, Iowa City,
319-337-7275, shakespearesic.com, $$
Wherefore art thou tater tots? This neighborhood bar serves some of the best pub food in town. The friendly staff and reasonably priced drinks makes Shakespeare’s a must for anyone looking for a laid back bar on the Eastside of Iowa City.
Short’s Burgers Eastside
521 Westbury Dr, Iowa City,
319-338-7743, shortseastside.com, $$
Short’s Burger & Shine
18 S Clinton St, Iowa City,
319-337-4678, shortsburgerandshine.com, $$
Short’s Burger & Shine Marion
780 11th St, Marion,
319-200-1020, shortsburger.com, $$
There are 26 different burger options Short’s, along with chicken and black bean alternatives, so it’s nearly impossible for the menu to ever get old. The beef comes from within Iowa’s own state lines, and they pride themselves on their vast selection of Iowa craft beers and ciders. Be sure to taste the stellar Short’s Whiskey that they distill in partnership with Cedar Ridge micro distillery in Swisher.
Siamville Thai Cuisine
3635 1st Ave, Cedar Rapids,
319-364-1955, siamville.com, $$
This shopping-center eatery offers an impressive variety of authentic Thai plates. Siamville offers a fine dining experience at a budget-friendly price.
Sidekick Coffee and Books
1310 ½ Melrose Ave, Iowa City,
319-569-1010, sidekickcoffeebooks.com, $
This is a coffee shop designed with the digital detoxer in mind; there’s no Wi-Fi but plenty of books to read and seating suited for conversation. Sidekick brews Intelligentsia coffee, the direct trade roasting company out of Chicago. Order a cup of drip and a scone, grab a novel from the shelf, then silence your phone and unwind.
Sing-A-Long Bar and Grill
100 First St SE, Mount Vernon,
319-895-9464, singalongmv.com, $$
Located in the oldest building on Main Street in Mount Vernon, Sing-A-Long Bar and Grill centers around a 1910 player piano and encourages patrons to select a song from the 200+ available scrolls and join in the chorus. Offering signature cocktails and made-from-scratch, homestyle cooking, this restaurant fosters a sense of community and connection through music.
101 1st St NE, Mount Vernon,
319-895-8540, skilletcafe.net, $
Occupying a corner spot on the main drag in Mount Vernon, the Skillet Cafe serves up fresh made-to-order breakfast & lunch dishes in a comfortable environment.
Sno Biz of Iowa City
812 S 1st Ave, Iowa City,
Sno Biz of Iowa City is shaved ice made right. With an array of fruity flavors and a friendly staff, this seasonal operation takes the classic sno-cone to the next level. Mix and match your favorite flavors to create your ideal summer treat.
Soseki Sushi Cafe & Sake Bar
227 S Dubuque St, Iowa City,
319-351-1800, sosekicafe.com, $$
Fresh sushi, poke bowls, noodles and donburi—a little bit of everything is available at this newly opened sushi joint in downtown Iowa City. Visit for great lunch combos and a selection of sake as well.
1006 Melrose Ave, Iowa City,
319-887-5564, stellaiowacity.com, $$
Sink your teeth into a mouthwatering burger made with Iowa-bred beef, a house-made vegetarian black bean burger or a grilled chicken sandwich topped with anything from mango jalapeño salsa, to prosciutto and stone-ground mustard. For something a little different, try the gumbo or jambalaya.
Stop On Bye
1616 6th St SW, Cedar Rapids,
319-362-0788, stoponbye.com, $$
The broasted chicken is the highlight on the menu at this local, family-owned restaurant and the small-scale bar allows every seat to be the best in the house for watching the game.
13 S Linn St, Iowa City,
319-800-1354, sthirteen.com, $
As Iowa City’s only LGBTQ+ bar, Studio 13 has shows and specials almost every night of the week. Anyone 19 and older can come by for their infamous Drag shows, featuring seasoned professionals and beginners. Studio 13’s mission is to promote diversity and create a welcoming environment for everyone in the community, so anyone of any background is welcome to dance the night away in flashing lights and techno beats.
Sumo Sushi & Ramen
122 E Washington St, Iowa City,
319-338-9988, sumosushiia.com, $$$
To fully experience all that Sumo has to offer, you’ll need more than one visit. At least three trips to savor the ramen dishes, then three more visits to explore the sushi menu. The buttery sashimi is fresh as can be, and the menu of special rolls features fun surprises, such as the L.A. with smoked salmon, mozzarella cheese and deep-fried avocado.
2665 Edgewood Pkwy SW, Cedar Rapids,
A long-running family-owned and operated Asian eatery serving Chinese and Japanese cuisine. Their inclusive menu ranges from sushi and sashimi, to rice and noodle bowls that are delivered by a highly attentive staff.
201 S Clinton St, Iowa City,
If you love sushi—and we know you do—stop by Sushi Kicchin for their fast, affordable menu that is sure to hit the spot. Their dumplings and rolls—both available in veggie options—are fresh and flavorful. This is a great place to stop by for lunch if you are in a hurry to get back to the office.
745 Community Dr # A, North Liberty,
This stripmall sushi place in North Liberty is everything you wouldn’t expect from a stripmall sushi place. With some of the most unique dishes (ex: broiled yellowtail collarbone, Wagyu beef) fresh nigiri, sashimi and small plates, Sushiya is as good as any sushi on the coasts, or anywhere, really. It has some of the freshest fish in the area, combined with great service and an exceptionally clean environment, a visit to Sushiya makes for a truly wonderful experience.
953 S Riverside Dr, Iowa City,
This adorable Vietnamese restaurant is a great place for richly spiced pho pure in flavor and authenticity.
73 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids,
319-364-5271, sykorabakery.com, $
This family run bakery tucked in the historic Czech Village offers handmade rolls, bread, cakes and classic pastries, but be sure to save room for a bowl of goulash!
320 E Burlington St., Iowa City,
319-338-6788, szechuanhouseiowacity.com, $$
The menu can be daunting, but the rewards at Szechuan House are worth the investment. The food is super authentic and is often sublimely delicious.
Taj Mahal Restaurant Grocery
3939 Center Point Rd NE, Cedar Rapids,
319-294-4953, tajiowa.com, $$
If you’ve never ventured into the grocery section of Taj Mahal Restaurant, this is some of what you’ve been missing: homemade Indian sweets and savory samosas, a kaleidoscope of colorful grains and legumes, and any kind of nut you can imagine. Smells of chicken tikka masala and saag paneer waft through the grocery from the kitchen next door and compel you to buy Aloo Bhujia, a spicy fried potato noodle snack, and Besan Laddu, sweetened gram flour balls, a favorite of the young woman working the register, who promises you can’t eat just one.
Taj International Food
2419 2nd St, Suite 2, Coralville,
Small store offering an extensive selection of Indian ingredients and imports. Find a small selection of produce and just about anything else you might need to make your favorite dish at home.
219 Iowa Ave, Iowa City,
319-351-5125, takanamidowntown.com, $$$
If you are in search of sushi and a fine-dining experience, Takanami is the place for you. They guarantee a quality meal no matter what you order, and strive for a dining experience to match. They use locally grown, seasonally fresh ingredients, as well as those from all over the world. If sushi isn’t your thing—no problem—they also feature Asian-style dishes such as Korean BBQ ribs and soups, salads or sides.
Tap N’ Tacos
808 5th St, Unit 8, Coralville,
319-354-5250, tapntacostogo.com, $$
This establishment in the heart of Coralville features tacos, tortas and entrees of the Mexican variety. Multiple TVs will keep you up-to-date with whatever sporting event is on and an outdoor patio space is available for warm weather dining.
Taste Of India
1060 Old Marion Rd NE, Unit D, Cedar Rapids,
319-294-6999, www.toicr.com, $$
Large spacious Indian restaurant and buffet on the northeast side of Cedar Rapids serving generous portions of Indian favorites.
TCB Pool Hall
114 E College St, Iowa City,
Great beer selection at this quality pool hall with well-maintained tables, shuffleboard and darts.
Teddy’s Bigger Burgers
324 E Washington St, Iowa City,
319-354-6888, teddysbiggerburgers.com, $
Garlic fries. You need these in your life immediately. This Hawaii-based fast-food franchise makes creative burgers, sandwiches, fries and ice cream.
340 E Burlington St, Iowa City,
319-339-8900, thaiflavors.net, $$
Thai Flavors is Iowa City’s go-to authentic Thai food destination for dine-in, carry-out or delivery. The atmosphere is cute and casual, and your check won’t break the budget. They adhere to what Thai food believes in: flavor building. Their entrees feature interesting and delicious mixes of flavor, such as their Red Curry which is cooked with carrots, bell peppers, bamboo shoots, sweet basil and coconut milk.
1210 S Gilbert St, Iowa City,
319-351-2581, thethaispice.com, $$
Thai Spice is known for their authentic, flavorful dishes. Their menu is extensive, so you’ll be sure to find something you like. The friendly staff is happy to help if you can’t decide between the Kang Dang or the Red Curry!
Thai Spice Noodle House
725 Mormon Trek Blvd, Iowa City,
The noodle-focused menu ranges from soups to entrees with some favorite appetizers, salads and rice dishes thrown in for good measure.
Thew Brewing Company
301 2nd Ave SW, Cedar Rapids,
319-343-8439, thewbrew.com, $
This brewery in Cedar Rapids’ Kingston Village produces a wide variety of different beers using a system that lends itself well to smaller batches and experimentation. The taproom at Thew does not serve food but does allows guests to bring outside food in from nearby restaurants. Stay tuned for regularly scheduled visits from local food trucks during warmer months.
18747 IA-70, Conesville,
First opened in 1970, the Thirsty Camel delivers on fried appetizers, salad bar and rotating nightly specials, letting you sample all this roadside supper club has to offer. Try the Camel Turds or the catfish.
840 W Penn St, North Liberty,
Tin Roost provides a relaxed and social atmosphere for customers to enjoy food and drinks with friends. Their extensive menu includes American classics with a twist, homespun cocktails and over 36 beers on tap. Relax by one of their three fire pits in the winter or on their spacious patio in the summer.
Tip Top Cakes
708 5th St, Coralville,
319-359-1191, tiptopcakes.com, $
Whether you need a high-end wedding cake, a cup of coffee, or a pastry to treat your sweet tooth, Tip Top Cakes has what you are looking for. Adam, the owner and award-winning baker, strives to amaze his customers whether they come in for a custom cake or a dozen cupcakes. There’s no need to travel all the way to Carlo’s Bakery for a creation from the Cake Boss himself—we have our own cake boss right here in Coralville!
Three Samurai Japanese Restaurant
1801 2nd St, Coralville,
319-337-3340, threesamurairestaurant.com, $$
Three Samurai is the area’s original hibachi grill restaurant offering both sushi and Japanese inspired entrees. This go-to spot for sushi also extend the traditional happy hour into “Happy Days” and offers discounted rolls, drinks and appetizers.
Timmerman’s Supper Club
7777 Timmerman Dr, East Dubuque,
815-747-3316, timmermanssupperclub.com, $$
Timmerman’s Supper Club has been a Northeastern Iowa institution for years. Situated on the bluffs of the Mississippi River, the expansive dining room has amazing views. Expect classic steakhouse and supper club fare and you won’t be disappointed.
Ting’s Red Lantern
540 Boyson Rd NE, Cedar Rapids,
On the hunt for traditional Chinese staples in Cedar Rapids? This is your place. Food is delivered in an unpretentious setting and portions are generous.
3234 Center Point Rd NE, Cedar Rapids, 319-364-4313
1111 7th Ave, Marion, 319-377-6102
1061 N Center Point Rd NE, Hiawatha, 319-393-5610
One of a handful of long-running pizza establishments in the area—Tomaso’s remains a powerhouse on the Cedar Rapids pizza scene. Choose from a range of crusts from a thin New York style, middle of the road Detroit crust with a cheesy caramelized edge, or a thick and doughy Chicago deep dish. The original Mombo Combo is a crowd pleaser, but feel free to create your own masterpiece.
Toppling Goliath Brewing Co.
310 College Dr, Decorah,
563-387-6700, tgbrews.com, $
This brewery got its start in 2009 after smashing success in homebrewing. Now brewing over 30 beers and distributing to over eight states, the brewery’s previously small and humble taproom has been transformed into a 100-barrel brewery with canning and bottling lines, taproom, restaurant and event center all under one roof.
Trumpet Blossom Cafe
310 E Prentiss St, Iowa City,
319-248-0077, trumpetblossom.com, $$
At Trumpet Blossom, being vegan does not mean sacrificing your favorite comfort foods. Their brunch, lunch and dinner menus have something for everyone at the table to enjoy. Come by in the evening to attend one of the many events they host and enjoy one of their excellent cocktails as well.
Tuscan Moon Grill on Fifth
203 5th St, Kalona,
319-656-3315, tuscan-moon.com, $$$
It is more than worth the drive to Tuscan Moon—a fantastic surprise awaits you. Entrees are all top notch but order the lobster if it’s available. The vast patio and a charming enclosed outdoor bar allow you to make use of the space even in cold weather.
Twelve01 Kitchen and Tap
1210 1st Ave, Coralville,
Formerly the River City Beefstro (facepalm), this is connected to the Radisson Hotel & Conference Center and Hampton Inn, just off of I-80 at the First Avenue exit in Coralville. The rebranded Twelve01 offers breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week, and it might by all appearances be your basic corporate operation, but it’s actually locally owned by North Liberty’s Kinseth Hospitality Companies. Recommended for the Amish Chicken with Asparagus, Beef Brisket and Grilled Reuben.
Uptown Bills Coffee House
730 S Dubuque St, Iowa City,
319-339-0804, uptownbills.org, $
Uptown Bill’s is a gathering place where individuals of all abilities are welcome. Part coffeehouse, part performance venue and part community meeting place, Bill’s is dedicated to encouraging the differently abled to live their best life. The soda pop selection is by far the most diverse in Iowa City, giving customers an array of options when it comes to root beer in a bottle. Catch up with friends, or grab a book and read away!
760 11th St, Marion,
You won’t find any food at this upscale Irish pub, but beyond Guinness and a solid lineup of beers, the bar is well-equipped for whatever cocktail your night on the (Up)town might call for. Cozy up fireside during the winter and enjoy the back patio in summer, overlooking the Uptown Artway—one of several Marion alleyways activated with public art installations year round by ArtPlace America grantees ImaginArt in the Alleys.
200 State St #101, Cedar Falls,
319-260-2045, urbanpieup.com, $$
1138 7th Ave, Marion,
319-200-2399, urbanpieup.com, $$
This fast-fired personal pizza concept started in Cedar Falls in February 2017 and had a second location in Marion opened by fall. The menu inspires with topping combinations you won’t find anywhere else—even including a dessert pizza and a breakfast pizza—but you can always build your own, too. (That goes for the salad as well.) Breadsticks and wings round out the menu of this fast-growing, family-friendly startup.
A purveyor of delicate micro-greens and sprouts grown in a hydroponic environment, this year Urban Greens expanded their offerings to include a beautiful mix of beet, kale, cabbage, broccoli and bok choy greens and other lettuces. Find them at the Iowa City Farmers Market and look for them soon at local grocers New Pioneer, Bread Garden and Hy-Vee.
849 Quarry Rd, Coralville,
319-338-3782, vestaiowa.com, $$
Nestled in the Iowa River Landing, Vesta features Mediterranean-inspired cuisine and offers both a gluten-free and dairy-free menu for those with dietary restrictions. The spacious patio is a favorite perch during summer months.
Vineria Wine Shop
264 Blairs Ferry Rd NE, Cedar Rapids,
319-373-6141, vineriawineshop.com, $$$
Snag a seat at the bar to partake in a guided tasting of a wine flight paired with pizza or tapas. The flights feature up to 10 wines and include whites, reds and sparkling. Don’t be afraid to ask questions; the staff is knowledgeable about wines from around the world.
Vine Tavern & Eatery
330 E Prentiss St, Iowa City,
319-354-8767, vinetavern.com, $$
39 2nd St, Coralville,
319-338-7770, vinetavern.com, $$
Students and residents head to the Vine for the bar food options and daily food and drink specials. The Iowa City location has a more classic college-bar atmosphere, with dimmed lighting and giant TVs, while the Coralville location is more family-friendly.
3611 1st Ave SE, Cedar Rapids,
319-363-7550, vinosristorante.com, $$
The surprisingly intimate setting of this strip mall restaurant makes it a great place for a dinner date. Vino’s offers traditional Italian dishes executed well, full bar and extensive wine list. Stop by RG Books lounge, adjacent to Vino’s, after enjoying your meal, for an after dinner drink and relax in comfy seating as well-selected Jazz and Blues music plays overhead.
4100 River Ridge Dr NE, Cedar Rapids,
319-393-8727, vitosonline.com, $$
Visit this casual cafe atmosphere for your favorite Italian-American dishes like pizza, pasta and calzones and a full bar.
Vivian’s Soul Food
4342 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids,
319-396-2229, vivianssoulfoodcr.com, $$
A family-owned restaurant specializing in traditional Southern-style and American soul food. Good old- fashioned, authentic comfort food for the soul.
328 S Clinton St Suite A, Iowa City,
319-519-4650, vuerooftop-ic.com, $$
Iowa City’s first high-rise rooftop bar and restaurant, located in the newly built Hilton Garden Inn, offers primo views of downtown Iowa City and beyond. Delight in that superior feeling that washes over you while casually sipping a martini and dining on steak twelve floors above all those regular folks below.
Wadadly’s Island Flavorz
2000 Wiley Blvd SW, Ste 106, Cedar Rapids,
Sure there’s a burger and chicken wings on the menu, but where can’t you find a burger these days? What you’re really here for are the jerked chicken and pork, the salmon croquettes, the fried catfish and the housemade ginger beer. Don’t miss this Cedar Rapids secret.
3867 James Ave SW, Iowa City,
This 85-acre farm is the perfect backdrop to inspire an agricultural educational experience If you’re interested in growing a variety of foods and raising animals and have an appreciation for farm life, fresh foods, culinary sensations, and good wines, Walker Farmstand is a destination to put on your radar. The Farmstand is also plays host to The Farmer’s Table, a seasonal dinner series created by chef Chris Grebner of Provender fame, that brings farmers and diners to a common table.
The Wedge Pizzeria
521 Highway 1 W, Iowa City,
319-337-6677, thewedgepizza.com, $$
The Wedge offers takeout and delivery of their many specialty pizzas, in addition to a few calzone options. Made with local and organic ingredients whenever possible, the Wedge offers a large selection of pizza for vegetarians and even offers a vegan cheese option. If you’re searching for a unique pizza with a taste all its own, try the Nutcracker pizza from The Wedge. An enchanting creation of cheese and peppers, the Nutcracker features a basil pesto and is topped with pistachios. This pizza will change the way you look at pizza.
West End Diner
809 6th Ave, Marion,
This bright and light eatery makes its home inside of a restored historic building surrounded by a grassy lawn and string-light lit patio. If you stop by in the morning, opt for the Best Ever Breakfast Sandwich (a heaping, melting tower of deliciousness). And any hour of the day suits an order of churros or the apple tart with crumble topping.
The Whippy Dip
121 College Dr, Decorah,
The Whippy Dip’s long lines through the summer season are a sure sign of the town’s love for this Decorah institution. Operational since 1954, you’ll find the standard ice cream shop favorites as well as “Tornadoes,” the Whippy Dip’s take on the patented Dairy Queen Blizzard.
White Star Ale House
305 2nd Ave SE, Cedar Rapids,
319-362-2000, whitestaralehouse.com, $$
A popular downtown hangout with creative American food and almost 100 beers available! White Star has daily specials and free late night entertainment on Fridays and Saturdays.
Wig & Pen
1220 Highway 6 W, Iowa City, 319-354-2767
363 N 1st Ave, Iowa City, 319-351-2327
201 Hwy 965 NE, North Liberty, 319-665-2255
Popular with families and sports fans, Wig & Pen is the perfect spot for those looking for Chicago-style pizza while residing in the Hawkeye state. Take a seat at the bar—all locations provide a classic pizzeria and pub atmosphere that will make your day or evening more enjoyable. Try the popular Flying Tomato style pizza. This award-winning thin crust pizza is cooked in a deep dish pan with whole slices of tomato and flooded with a variety cheeses. Winner: Best Pizza in Best of the CRANDIC 2019.
Wild Culture Kombucha
Get Wild Culture’s full-strength, fresh kombucha on tap in Iowa City’s local farmers markets, restaurants, breweries and grocery stores. They use exclusively fresh fruits, veggies, spices and herbs. They brew everything with well-being and healthfulness in mind, so you can enjoy their brews guilt-free.
Wildwood Smokehouse & Saloon
4919 Walleye Dr SE, Iowa City,
319-333-1750, wildwoodsaloon.com, $$$
Every saloon worth its sawdust needs a pool table and a dance floor, and Wildwood has both. Don your best cowboy boots on nights when the saloon offers live music. And always bring your appetite for the barbecue dinners of smoked chicken, pulled pork, burnt ends, beef brisket, wings and, of course, Texas toast.
Wilson’s Orchard and Rapid Creek Cidery
4823 Dingleberry Rd NE, Iowa City,
319-354-5651, wilsonsorchard.com, $$$
Apples plucked right from the tree, hard apple cider, apple pies—you name it. When it comes to apples, there are myriad ways to savor Wilson’s Orchard. The u-pick farm is open seasonally, while Wilson’s Rapid Creek Cidery is open year-round. The cidery serves brunch and dinner featuring upscale, New American cuisine, plus wine, beer and cider-centric cocktails.
Yotopia Frozen Yogurt
132 S Clinton St., Iowa City,
This is downtown Iowa City’s only locally owned frozen yogurt shop. Whether you like your froyo sweet or tart, Yotopia has you covered. A wide variety of flavor options combined with a massive selection of candy toppings will keep your taste buds guessing every time you stop in.
901 1st Ave SW, Cedar Rapids,
Offering an excellent selection of fresh Asian produce that is hard to find anywhere else in Cedar Rapids, this Asian grocer stocks a wide selection of fresh and frozen grocery items at great prices.
119 E Washington St, Iowa City,
The self-serve buffet at Yummy includes both a hot bar and cold bar stocked with Chinese, Japanese and American dishes. The real draws, though, are the Asian desserts. Choose between iced sweet rice soup, mango sago, brown sugar milk tea, Thai rolled ice cream and more.
Zeppelins Bar & Grill
5300 Edgewood Rd Suite 500, Cedar Rapids,
319-393-3047, zeppelinscr.com, $$
Upscale casual dining with in a contemporary ambiance. Their menu includes all of the American staples with a few notable standouts (like the Parmesan fries) and great happy hour deals.
1451 Coral Ridge Ave, Coralville,
With a menu made for horror movie fans, Zombie Burger offers several options for their creative burgers. Stop by and grab one of their impressive burgers with a shake and split a meal while out at Coral Ridge Mall.