“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.
When looking for a quiet spot, customers turn to The High Ground Cafe. Whether seated on the patio or in the airy cafe, they can set up shop with their computer, a cup of fair trade Kickapoo Coffee Roaster brew, and a light snack. The menu includes plenty of tasty offerings, such as the flavorful turkey mango sandwich or a cup of Italian wedding soup.
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.
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.