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Jun 27, 2012 02:41 PM

Cedar Rapids

From what i hear the downtown Cedar Rapids is developing a bit, what are the options around town for good restaurants / bars compared to Iowa City downtown / coralville

Would be coming from Phoenix for a possible extended stay in the midwest and trying to decide between iowa city or cedar rapids

It seems Cedar Rapids is cheaper costwise v Iowa City to stay, but if there is nothing to do there or no good places to grab a craft cocktail / beer - go out to enjoy a good dinner it wouldn't be worth the disounted savings vs no fun closeby

I have read the iowa city thread front to back - and found almost nothing about cedar rapids on the forum - what are the major differences other than location

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  1. I would recommend visiting plenty of places in the rebuilt Czech Village area. Westside Maid-Rite, Al's Blue Toad, Sykora Bakery, and Little Bohemia Bar & Grill. These are all neighborhood places that get people from around Cedar Rapids since the local population moved.

    Part of Iowa City's bar/restaurant scene is aimed only at students, its tough for any restaurant without a bar to make it in the pedmall area. Coralville and North Liberty have more of the prosperous suburban type places.

    Cedar Rapids just isn't as rich/snobby/sophisticated as Iowa City. The restaurants don't have the high prices or execution, especially at the higher end of the spectrum.

    1. Iowa city has a lot going on for a small city - because of the university. But, it is a college town so most places that are primarily bars are geared to the 18-25 set (and yes legal age is 21). Good beer selections can be had, nice whiskey lists sure, craft cocktails not so much (unless you mean an appletini),

      I rarely go to CR because there isn't much of a draw, but many small towns have destination worthy restaurants. It is all a matter of expectations - you aren't destined to a diet of tv dinners and Chilis, but we have MANY fewer people than in AZ.

      What looks good from the IC board - maybe we can give you more direction that way...

      9 Replies
      1. re: corneygirl

        I think you will find Iowa City more to your liking. CR is just a short drive.

        1. re: corneygirl

          When my wife visited previously she liked orchard green and motley cow sounded like a good place to try we are looking for places next week so will probably try there one night

          Those seem most similar to the places we go to in phx

          Appletini is not my idea of a craft cocktail however I have a good bar at home so if there aren't good places for a drink as long as I can mail order liquor to iowa I'll be fine

          Seems like IC would be more suited to us from what we have read online as well - especially if cedar rapids is still developing the downtown and if there isn't much there yet

          1. re: Dapuma

            Worth a visit is how I would rate Cedar Rapids.

            The smaller towns in the corridor area and nearby places like Oxford, Ladora, Solon, Sutcliff, Marengo, Mt Vernon, or Amana will have about one restaurant per town that the locals insist is great.

            1. re: trza

              >>Oxford, Ladora, Solon, Sutcliff, Marengo, Mt Vernon, or Amana

              What are the individual places in these towns? I know some of them.

              Oxford - Augusta
              Mt Vernon - Lincoln Cafe
              Kalona - Tuscan Moon

              1. re: vitus979

                Ladora Bank Bistro in Ladora is in a neat setting and had a nice tapas type menu when I visited there shortly after it opened ...

          2. re: corneygirl

            I had a good experience at Orchard Green, I think you'll like Iowa City more than CR. If you want a nice whiskey and craft beer that can be had. Creative cocktails are just showing up, but we adapt quickly. I become hesitant when people want to find in a city of 60,000 what they have in a city of 3,000,000... we just don't have all that - but I love Iowa City and have spent 15 years here after a life time in 'real' cities.

            1. re: corneygirl

              I don't expect to find the same thing, however I would like as close as possible when comparing CR v Iowa city, so seems like I have my answer - IC will be closer to what we are looking for than CR

              I am hoping that Iowa city has a similar to vibe to East Lansing (go green!) and at least there will be some good Big Ten bball / football v Pac 10 (yuk) :)

              1. re: Dapuma

                Definitely a typical Big 10 town. My Dad lives in East Lansing and says there is a better dining scene here, and there is an enthusiastic sports scene.

                1. re: Dapuma

                  If nothing else, you will find Panchero's [started in East Lansing], in which the second one opened in Iowa City right as I graduated/left Iowa City in 1993 ...

            2. I grew up in the area, and have lived in North Liberty for almost 36 years. When I was a kid, the big shopping trips were to Cedar Rapids. This was before malls had even come to the midwest.

              I worked in Iowa City, my husband worked in Cedar Rapids. Almost all of our socializing, going out for meals/drinks has been to Iowa City.

              I'm sure there are some good restaurants in CR, but, when I think of the city, I think of mostly franchise places, both hotels and restaurants.

              I find Cedar Rapids to be every bit as snobbish as Iowa City, if not more so. Not to mention it seems to be a bit less open minded.