Food & Drink in Iowa City

Select Local Merchants

With a menu loaded with pizzas and calzones, cheesy breadsticks, and flavorful wings, Gumby's ovens satisfy voracious cravings into the wee hours of the morning. The pizza makers start each day by making mounds of dough by hand, which they decorate with more than 15 inventive toppings, such as alfredo sauce, chicken tenders, and feta cheese, to create specialty pizzas and personalized pies. The same hand-tossed dough serves as a foundation for their famous Pokey Stix, which are smothered in garlic butter, Italian spices, and heaps of mozzarella and parmesan cheese, then cut into strips exactly the length of Abraham Lincoln's foot. To complement the bubbling pizzas, buffalo and boneless wings can be tossed in tangy barbecue, honey mustard, sriracha, or one of four other sauces.

702 S Gilbert St
Iowa City,
IA
US

From behind a frozen granite slab, the staff of Cold Stone Creamery uses twin spatulas to blend custom servings of ice cream and creative mix-ins to fit customers’ exact specifications. Founded by Donald and Susan Sutherland in 1988, Cold Stone began under the hot Arizona sun, eventually spreading its frosty fingers to encompass more than 1,400 locations worldwide. Despite the size of the company, each location’s staff keeps up the handcrafted quality, making ice cream onsite every day and using those signature spatulas to create delicious pointillist art against the freezer wall.

39 S Dubuque St
Iowa City,
IA
US

2011's Firecracker 500 Festival serves up more than 20 eclectic garage-rock groups bent on rocking an all-ages-audience's socks off over three thrash-filled days. Bands such as White Mystery and Pitchfork-reviewed quartet The Coathangers kick out jams with riot-grrrl grit, and headliners The Strange Boys shred psychedelic hooks sharper than Jimi Hendrix's diamond-tipped mustache-trimmers. The festival's full roster of up-and-coming acts can expose most attendees' ears to new shrieks and sounds.

211 Iowa Ave
Iowa City,
IA
US

La Reyna was featured in the Iowa Source magazine as one of the best restaurants in Iowa in 2010. The eatery was also reviewed by Chowhound, and 85% of Urbanspooners like it.

1937 Keokuk Street
Iowa City,
IA
US

Arguably, any meal is made even better with a hearty margarita on the side. With several flavors and top-shelf tequilas at the ready, the crew at Cactus Mexican Restaurant & Cantina mixes up their regular and special margaritas to diners' specifications. Back in the kitchen, chefs create their traditional Mexican plates and American-style Mexican dishes, with appetizers that include a trio of dips and a giant piles of nachos. Meals then graduate to big plates of seafood, burritos, or sizzling fajitas before desserts tempt diners into abandoning their enchilada-only diets for something sweeter.

1921 Keokuk Street
Iowa City,
IA
US

The lunch menu at Guido's Deli fields a reliable squad of fresh sandwiches and paninis. The American Dream sandwich celebrates life, liberty, and hungriness with roast beef, ham, smoked turkey, and a choice of cheese ($3.50–$7). Eight paninis populate the menu, one for each president who could pat his head while rubbing his stomach. The Naturalist unites portobello mushrooms and roasted red peppers with caramelized onions, artichoke spread, and tomatoes on a whole-wheat platform, and the Italian brings together disparate deliciousness in the form of capicola, salami, mortadella, provolone, and roasted red peppers ($3.50–$7). The caprese panini, like the first Roman recipe books, binds volumes of fresh mozzarella, roma tomatoes, and a fresh basil or spinach pesto spread ($3.75 small/$7.50 large) and makes a fine companion for a glass of freshly brewed iced tea ($1.50).

227 E 1st St
Iowa City,
IA
US