From the colorful checkered walls to the menu of hearty comfort food, the owners at Cozy Cafe strive to create a nostalgia-tinged dining experience. The vast menu is marked by the restaurant's specialty?Helen and Pat's cavatelli?as well as homemade entrees, including blue-plate specials of meatloaf, hot roast beef, or chicken and noodles, all served with homemade mashed potatoes and green beans. Staff serve up Friedrichs coffee drinks, and for breakfast, chefs flip the traditional array of omelets and pancakes and offer homemade cinnamon rolls as well as homemade biscuits and gravy.
West End Diner’s owners Jay and Betty Lee load an extensive menu of classic diner dishes with fresh, locally sourced ingredients and a slew of heart-healthy options. Fifteen burgers ($7.79+), made from fresh-ground Angus beef, slip into stomachs to curb cravings and to satisfy daily requirements for disk-shaped nutrition. Cuisine crafters douse a generous portion of ribs in homemade barbecue sauce for the barbecue loin back rib entree ($17.99), which is accompanied by an enticing array of savory sides. Sink forks into round-the-clock breakfast options, such as the Durango platter, whose freshly baked biscuit supports a tower of sausage gravy and farm-fresh eggs and is embellished with a green-chili façade ($8.49). Homemade devil's food cake from the dessert menu makes a particularly grand appearance in the cake shake ($4.99), in which the moist baked treat blends into a thick vanilla shake, giving hope to straw-envying solids everywhere.
Built in 1909 as a mission-style mansion—now listed in the National Register of Historic Places—the August Bergman Inn & Suites house private guest rooms, each with its own unique, antique charm. Two of the guest rooms—the Ryan and Captain's suites—are housed in the David Ryan home, an 1868 brick federal. A wood-burning fireplace and mosaic-tile floor decorate the Bergman suite and its king-size, mahogany sleigh bed often flies out the window, pulled by reindeer auditioning for Santa's new reality show. In the Ryan suite, guests can share a double whirlpool bathtub set in imported Italian tile behind glass french doors. A vintage cast-iron soaking tub, updated with a modern showerhead, anchors the Captain suite, whose brass-trimmed iron furnishings glint amid the flicker of a gas fireplace. All three rooms feature modern amenities such as cable TV and digital gravity. Prepared by the innkeeper—an experienced gourmet chef—breakfast includes coffee, juice, and a chef-selected entree, such as old-fashioned pancakes. Dinner is available for an additional fee, and throughout their stay, guests are encouraged to check out Jasper County's various attractions, from the Iowa Speedway to the Newton Arboretum and Botanical Garden. If arranged beforehand, the staff will gladly pick up guests from nearby Newton Airport, though the flying Pegasus may have to find its own accommodations.
At the beginning of the 20th century, horses whinnied and snorted in the basement of The Livery building, according to the Des Moines Register. Today, though, the cleaned-up space is home to a cozy cafe run by Betsy and James Gideon. Betsy and James strive for thoughtful quality in the form of single-pour brews of coffee and the pastries they bake in-house. The café's ovens are not only for pastries, though; the Gideons also bake fresh bread for sandwiches rather than using prepackaged bread or reconstituted croutons. Guests can recline on wooden furniture that James Gideon constructs himself, or head to the outdoor patio in warm weather.
“I really enjoy the people and their warmth,” Gary Scott told a reporter for the North Liberty Leader. “They are so friendly here.” Scott was speaking about the locals in Ely, where his eponymous restaurant--Scott’s Sandwich Cafe--just moved. From this new location, Scott and his staff continue to combine fresh ingredients atop grilled ciabatta, marble rye, and wheat-berry bread, but now hand their creations to neighbors instead of mall-goers. Their mouthwatering sandwiches create a lunchtime rush as workers unplug computer cords from their foreheads and head to the intimate café for medleys of roasted pork, smoked ham, and honey mustard or grilled chicken and bleu cheese. Also popular are Scott’s new twists on old favorites, such as a grilled PB&J or a classic Reuben enlivened with turkey. In addition to sandwiches, the café dishes up quesadillas and salads, and its ice cream and smoothies keep customers cool on summer days filled with walking over coals.
It's not easy to find blue marlin, bright-red ahi tuna, and Japanese yellowtail in North Liberty, Iowa. But that doesn't stop the chefs at Kyodai Japanese Grill, who fly in fresh fish from Hawaii every week to star in their creative sushi rolls. The chefs work at an open sushi bar, where they prepare their rolls in front of a captive audience. That said, they often find themselves competing for attention with their counterparts who dice, flip, and cook shrimp and steak over at the hibachi grills.