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Restaurant Week brings customers, sense of community to Cedar Rapids restaurants

Published: Feb. 21, 2021 at 10:27 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - On a Sunday when the snow kept people home, the specials might have been what drew some to Lion Bridge Brewing Company in Cedar Rapids’ Czech Village.

“We’ve seen a lot of people in, even this weekend, wanting to try the specials and even just sharing them, coming in with their friends,” Lion Bridge General Manager Wendy Maldonado said.

Lion Bridge is one of 20 restaurants taking part in Cedar Rapids’ ninth annual Restaurant Week, which kicked of Saturday, Feb. 20, and runs through Saturday, Feb. 27. During the week, those restaurants are featuring specials outside their normal menu, and the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance, which puts on the annual event, is raffling off gift cards from participating businesses each day through a giveaway on its Facebook page.

Maldonado said the week gets out the word for them that a place known for its beer takes its food seriously too.

“It’s great to be able to showcase our scratch kitchen and be able to do things that are a little bit unusual,” she said.

Lion Bridge also incorporated items from other local businesses in its specials this year as well, including a lamb burger rubbed with coffee from Dash Coffee Roasters in Cedar Rapids, a pub burger featuring cheese from Dan & Debbie’s Creamery in Ely, and “Jordies,” mini frosted cakes from Shawnniecakes at NewBo City Market in Cedar Rapids.

“Just to kind of keep the spirit of community alive,” Maldonado said. “It’s a tough month for everyone, and we want to show our support any way we can.”

Up the street from Lion Bridge at Lucky’s on 16th, General Manager Kylie Tichy said Restaurant Week is a time they have looked forward to for the last three years.

“I think it shows a lot if you can go out and support local. It shows you care. It shows that you’re there,” she said.

Tichy said their sales are still strong, even though staff are keeping Lucky’s on 16th at half capacity, and their restaurant week specials — pulled pork skillet, Philly cheesesteak, and Reuben wontons — are drawing in even more customers.

“We’ve sold quite a lot for Restaurant Week, which is awesome — gotta keep running back to the store to get more stuff, which is great,” she said.

But Tichy said being part of the city’s restaurant community is even more important.

“Being a team in Cedar Rapids is huge,” she said. “I mean, we’ve gone through the 2008 food. We’ve gone through derecho. Now we’re going through COVID plus the derecho. So I think it’s super important to be there and be your backbone and know that your neighbors are there for you.”

The following restaurants are participating in Cedar Rapids Restaurant Week:

  • Bari Italian (450 1st St. SW)
  • Black Sheep Social Club (600 1st St. SE)
  • Bostons (804 5th St. SE)
  • Caucho (1202 3rd St. SE, Suite 102)
  • Cherry Meadow Winery and Distillery (591 62nd St., Suite 104, Marion)
  • Groundswell Café (201 3rd Ave. SW)
  • Kickstand (203 16th Ave. SE)
  • Lion Bridge Brewing Company (59 16th Ave. SW)
  • LP Street Food (302 3rd Ave. SW)
  • Lucky’s on 16th (86 16th Ave. SW)
  • Mas Margaritas (588 Boyson Rd. NE, Suite 124)
  • Midtown Station (715 2nd Ave. SE)
  • NaRa Thai Cuisine (1725 Blairs Ferry Rd., Suite 102, Marion)
  • Old Neighborhood Pub (608 16th St. NE)
  • Parlor City Pub and Eatery (1125 3rd St. SE)
  • Pub 217 (217 3rd St. SE)
  • Red Frog (88 16th Ave. SW)
  • Sugarfire Smoke House (2350 Edgewood Rd. SW)
  • The Class Act (7725 Kirkwood Blvd. SW)
  • Vito’s on 42nd (4100 River Ridge Dr.)

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