Single 30ish female oenophile pescetarian on solo vacation to Iowa City...
How's that for a mouthful?
I'm currently residing in Brooklyn, NY and have decided that when my lease runs out in mid-2010, I'd like to take a stab at living in the Midwest. (As someone who has lived in both Southern and Northern California, two areas of Georgia, New Orleans, Austin, and NYC, I know plenty about relocation adventures!)
I'll be in Iowa City in October to check it out. I went to college and graduate school in Athens, GA and did love the college-town feel: small but not too small, friendly and cultured but not overwhelming.
My goal: to find a few good places to eat and drink while in town wherein I won't feel too "old" and out-of-touch with the youthful vibe of the town but also won't have to elbow fraternity brothers out of the way to get a drink at the bar. I love me some wine (and friendly bartenders!) and there will have to be something pescetarian-friendly on the menu.
Do places like this even exist? And will I be stared at endlessly as a single woman drinking and dining by herself in Iowa City?
Your help is much appreciated!
I have never eaten in Iowa City itself, but I was blown away by the great food in two nearby small towns:
REDHEAD in Solon, Iowa
AUGUSTA in Oxford, Iowa
I don't drink wine, so I do not know about the wine selections in these places. Don't worry about being stared at - Iowans are much too polite to stare.
Hi JBD - and welcome! Iowa City is a great little college town, and we do have some tasty vittles around here!
For a fun vibe, small plates (with an emphasis on local and seasonal), and a nice wine list, try Devotay in downtown Iowa City. It's located on Linn Street, which is far enough from campus to be relaxed, but close enough to still be hip and youthful
Across the street from Devotay, is another favorite - The Motley Cow Cafe - also with an empasis on local and seasonal. Very creative, but small menu and another good wine list.
I also like One Twenty Six, on Washington, right in the heart of downtown. Great wine list and very good food. They have just opened a sister restaurant, Hearth, next door that seems to focus more on small plates.
If you want to get away from downtown, you could try Taste on Melrose. They don't have a website, but I've found the chef to be extremely engaging and accommodating and they have a reasonable wine list as well.
Pretty much everyone is friendly here - Iowans are just kind of that way! So please don't hesitate to ask if you'd like any more info.
And an aside to Doug - the Redhead is for sale! Owner is moving back to Chicago. Very sad! But I heartily agree with Augusta if you want to take a little road trip.
For drinks try "the Northside" bars, George's, Foxhead, and Ugli's. They all have a different feel, but they're within a block of each other and no frat boys. Foxhead's the classic dive with small selection, good juke box and a pool table. Good selection at George's, and if you run into a carnivorous friend they have good greasy burgers (but not anything else to eat really). Ugli's I haven't been to much but they have a loyal following. The Hilltop is a classic small town Iowa kind of place, with lot's of fried food. All of these places are more on the dive side, but a mix of friendly people. Not big wine bars, but again no frat boys and everyone from construction workers to grad students to lawyers.