Hamburg Inn not closing, lawyer for owner says

An Iowa City restaurant that prides itself on hosting presidential candidates says caucuses in Iowa might look a little different now.
Published: Dec. 31, 2022 at 9:44 AM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - An attorney representing the owner of the Hamburg Inn No. 2 in Iowa City says the iconic restaurant and political icon will not close in a week, despite statements from managers and employees.

On Friday, managers and employees told TV9 the Hamburg Inn would close on January 8th, citing needed repairs and a lack of cash flow. The manager said it would be up to the owner if the closure was permanent or temporary.

On Saturday, an attorney representing the Hamburg Inn told TV9 that appears to be confusion with the managers and employees and stated the restaurant would remain open for the foreseeable future even as it operates on reduced hours to address plumbing issues.

“The Hamburg Inn has been operating at reduced hours the last few weeks and will continue to do so for the next few weeks to make updates,” attorney Kim Baer said. “There are no plans to close the restaurant.”

Michael Lee bought the Hamburg Inn in 2016 with plans to expand and open new locations in Iowa and even in Asia. Baer said those plans have subsided but said the owner is looking to expand, likely in the Iowa City or Cedar Rapids area, but that there is no exact location or timeline. A second location, Hamburg Inn East, previously closed in 2020.

The restaurant has been open since 1935 and has been a popular spot for politicians seeking Iowans’ support for President, with visits from Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and Ronald Reagan.