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Hungry? Where to Eat in Cedar Rapids

Sip and savor the flavors of local and international cuisine.

By Kelly Rogers on January 23, 2023

Diners enjoy the Cobble Hill in downtown Cedar Rapids
Nathan Lambrecht

Though Cedar Rapids doesn’t have a widespread reputation as a foodie city, the unique blend of local and international flavors gives it a diverse dining scene – no surprise, considering that over 60% of the area’s restaurants are owned by local residents.

Residents and visitors alike are spoiled for choice when deciding where to eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Here’s a guide on where to eat in Cedar Rapids.

Breakfast

Need your morning cup of coffee? Of course, we all do, and a couple of top-rated java spots in town are Dash Coffee Roasters, Scooter’s and Dunn Brothers. Also popular with coffee connoisseurs is Craft’d, which sells Iowa-roasted Windmill Coffee along with tea and chocolates.

If you’re in the mood to sit down, relax and have a luxurious breakfast, you’ve got to try Lucky’s on 16th. Located in the Czech Village, this local favorite offers a wide array of sweet and savory options, bound to hit the spot no matter what you’re in the mood for.

The Map Room in Cedar Rapids, IA.
Amir Prellberg

Lunch

When 11 a.m. rolls around and you start thinking about lunch, Cedar Rapids has several restaurants well worth frequenting. The Map Room has 14 burger selections and nine different sandwiches, and Pedalers Fork has a diverse menu along with 108 beers on tap. Pub 217 and Need Pizzeria are two other excellent choices.

If you’re feeling a bit adventurous and would like to try authentic Thai food like crab Rangoon and mango paradise, check out NaRa Thai Cuisine in Marion. The portions are generous and the flavors are authentic!

If atmosphere is make-or-break for you, consider LP Street Food or Cliff ’s Dive Bar & Grill, both of which are owned by Fun Not Fancy Restaurant Group (FNFRG). Co-owned by locals Justin Zehr and Tim Kindl, these lunch spots represent FNFRG’s greater mission.

“Our goal is to give people a good variety of places to go, and we like to come up with new ideas and have a lot of fun with the decor,” Zehr says. “The special touches are what makes these places come to life, with personality and character.”

LP Street Food offers global fare like hummus, gyros and poutine. They even have four different house-made hot sauces if you want to spice up your order. Cliff ’s Dive Bar & Grill also delivers on the food front, with dive bar dishes that don’t disappoint – try the fish and chips!

Lucky’s on 16th in Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Justin Torner

A Delicious Bonus

At Lucky’s on 16th, breakfast is served all day.

Dinner

Don’t let looks deceive you – sometimes the best restaurants can be found in the most unsuspecting locations. Take Vino’s Ristorante & RG Books Lounge, for example. Located in a strip mall, all thoughts of the outside disappear as soon as you walk through the door.

With dim lighting, a cozy atmosphere, and delicious food and drinks, it’s perfect for date night. Of course, if you prefer your Italian food served with a little less intrigue, you can’t go wrong with Bari Italian. The restaurant serves incredible fresh food in an upscale atmosphere that’s suitable for any occasion.

Two other must-try Cedar Rapids restaurants are Cobble Hill and Caucho, both owned by the same husband-and-wife duo, Carrie and Andy Schumacher.

Best of All Worlds

Finally, if you’ve got multiple people in your group and you simply can’t come to a consensus, never fear: Cedar Rapids has a solution for that, too. Head to NewBo City Market, a food hall with a plethora of cuisine options for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

Cobble Hill, which serves American food, was their first venture, inspired by quaint neighborhood food spots that the couple frequented when they lived in Brooklyn, New York.

“We wanted to create our own vision for a restaurant, with access to a smaller community that we could really connect with,” says Carrie Schumacher.

Eventually the couple opened up Caucho, a more casual, funky restaurant offering Mexican cuisine.

“Andy became intrigued with corn and masa-based preparations, and that became the backbone of the restaurant,” Schumacher says. “Grinding our own corn every day for our chips and tortillas is a labor of love, and we pride ourselves on doing everything from scratch at Caucho.”

The Market After Dark in Cedar Rapids
Nathan Lambrecht

Speaking of Markets …

Mom always coaxed you to eat your veggies, and one way to purchase the freshest produce nowadays is at any of six different farmers markets around the Cedar Rapids area.

Cedar Rapids Downtown Farmers Market: Celebrating its 18th season in 2023, the Downtown Farmers Market convenes on the 1st and 3rd Saturdays June through September. There is also a special season-opening market on Memorial Day Weekend and an evening festival called Market After Dark in late August.

Marion Weekly Farmers’ Market: Taube Park is the place to be on Saturday mornings from early May through early September when the Marion Weekly Farmers’ Market does business from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Uptown Marion Market: Besides a weekly summer market, the City of Marion also hosts an Uptown Marion Market on one Saturday morning each June, July, August and September, with the festivities occurring in City Square Park.

Hiawatha Farmers Market: Rain or shine, Hiawatha welcomes everyone to gather between 10th Avenue and Guthridge Park for the Hiawatha Farmers Market. Shopping takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. every Sunday from May through October.

Noelridge Park Farmers Market: Noelridge Park in Cedar Rapids bustles with excitement and business when the Noelridge Park Farmers Market kicks off every Wednesday afternoon, from May through mid-October.

NewBo City Market: The NewBo City Market in Cedar Rapids hosts a farmers market every Thursday and Saturday, from May through September. During the rest of the year, NewBo also features many small, artisan stores.

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