Christopher Ryan has been hard at work in the kitchen since he was a teenager, eventually turning his passion for cooking into a career with the help of training from the French Pastry School in Chicago. Today, Christopher and his wife, Anna, serve up a smorgasbord of savory sandwiches and pastries at their CRC Bakery and Cafe. Guests dine on turkey reubens, tofu banh mi sandwiches, and fresh cobb salads, followed by handmade lemon bars, chocolate croissants, and cake by the slice.
It's one thing to eat healthy, but it's another thing completely to understand what eating healthy really means. Forever Health Café lets guests do both. Its menu is chock-full of whole-food smoothies and fresh salads crafted and approved by nutritionists and explained to diners so they understand why what they're eating is good for them.
Every day, Orange Leaf’s self-serve fountains dispense fresh batches of nutritious frozen yogurt in more than 60 varieties. In the sprightly lime-green and burnt-orange parlor, customers fill their bowls or bottomless magician hats with flavors ranging from pomegranate to caramel to wedding cake, laying a dulcet foundation for all manner of toppings from the buffet. There, they adorn their creamy treats with fresh fruits, nuts, and syrups. Unlike other ice creameries that try to confuse health-conscious customers by listing nutrition information in arcane units of measurement, such as "a smidge of calories" or "an earful of saturated fat," Orange Leaf prominently displays its yogurt’s impressive low-fat, low-sugar stats.
“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.
The Depot Express delights hungering tongue buds with a smorgasbord of specialty pies, as well as a slew of toppings for persnickety pizza patrons to create their own. The menu boasts belly-please combinations, such as the omelette breakfast pizza, adorned with egg, green pepper, onion, mushroom, canadian bacon, and the lactic duo of cheddar and mozzarella cheeses (12" for $12.99), and the supreme pizza, blanketed with beef, sausage, pepperoni, onion, mushroom, black olive, and green pepper (14" for $14.99). The barbecue-sauce-slathered cowboy ranch variety loads on the meat ($16" for $16.99), while the taco pie dons a disguise of refried beans, ground beef, and piñata-shaped tortilla chips to hide from pizza-centric crime syndicates (12" for $12.99). Dough-based artists can create a meal masterpiece with traditional toppers, as well as more exotic trappings, such as fajita chicken, pickles, and sauerkraut ($10.99+). Individual pizza slices are perfect for light snacking before deep-space diving expeditions ($1.98).