Chrome Horse comes home: Bar and restaurant returns to New Bohemia neighborhood

A secondary bar at Chrome Horse Saloon New Bo, 1201 Third St. SE, in southeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018. The space will be used to serve breakfast and have an overhead door to close it off when not in use. The saloon opened across the street from it’s previous NewBo location. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
A secondary bar at Chrome Horse Saloon New Bo, 1201 Third St. SE, in southeast Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Wednesday, Jan. 31, 2018. The space will be used to serve breakfast and have an overhead door to close it off when not in use. The saloon opened across the street from it’s previous NewBo location. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

Two motorcycles sit on steel beams above the dining room at Chrome Horse Saloon & Slop House’s newly opened location in the New Bohemia neighborhood. Soon, a third will join them; a 2003 Deus bike with only 8 miles on it. That motorcycle has been part of the bar and restaurant since it first opened in 2003 at the National building across the street.

The bike represents all the Chrome Horse has been through in the last 15 years, said general manager and co-owner Derek Collins. The business weathered the 2008 flood and reopened, only to have to close their New Bohemia location after a fire in 2014. The motorcycle survived both disasters, and then moved with them a year later to a new location at 1140 Blairs Ferry Road.

Now the bike and the business are both coming home again. The new location opened Jan. 19 in a converted bank building that last housed NewBo Ale House and NewBo Sushi, which didn’t reopen after the 2016 flood. The Blairs Ferry location remains open.

The New Bohemia space is massive, with a capacity for around 325 people when the outdoor patio is included. Inside, a stage along one wall hosts live music on the weekends. In addition to the main dining room, there is a game room at the back, with a second bar, as well as the large outdoor patio.

A smaller room off the main dining room, which previously housed NewBo Sushi, will be used primarily to serve breakfast. An aluminum garage door, still on order, will roll down to close of the space when not in use. Collins hopes to start daily breakfast service soon, to compliment their weekend brunch. The extra room can also be used for meetings or private parties.

The entire footprint, including the patio, is more than 13,500 square feet, Collins said, twice the space of the old location across the street.

“It’s a lot of work, a lot of staff,” he said. “You’ve got to be excited.”

He said he and the other owners are excited to be back in the neighborhood.

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

“It’s coming back home,” he said. “It feels right, it just feels like where we belong.”

Collins joined the company in 2011. The other owners are Jeremy Jones, Mark Pendergast and Billy Bloomhall.

“I’ve been in the food business since I was 14. I just wanted to be the chef, and I ended up running the whole place, and it’s been really fun ever since,” Collins said.

He said the goal for Chrome Horse is to be welcoming to all.

“I tell people it’s comfortable for anyone 8 to 80,” he said. “We can have a benefit motorcycle ride one day and the Red Hat Society in the next. We have all comfort food.”

That includes a full lineup of burgers, sandwiches, pizzas and more. Many have motorcyle-themed names, like kickstands — fried dill pickle spears — or exhaust pipes — waffle fries.

“We do a lot. We have about 66 menu items,” Collins said.

He said one of his goals has always been to elevate the food offerings.

“When we reopened on Blairs Ferry, the main goal was to be food-focused,” he said. “Live music has always been a backbone for us, but today people understand food, they understand flavor profiles, they know what they want.”

That means things like making their own their own barbecue sauce and other sauces and hand tossing their own pizza dough, among other details.

“There’s nothing holding us back. If we want to try something, we do it,” he said.

Eat up!

• What: Chrome Horse Saloon & Slop House

• Where: 1201 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids

ARTICLE CONTINUES BELOW ADVERTISEMENT

Thank you for signing up for our e-newsletter!

You should start receiving the e-newsletters within a couple days.

• Hours: 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday to Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday to Saturday. Hours will expand when breakfast service starts.

• Details: (319) 200-4400, chromehorsesaloon.com

l Comments: (319) 398-8339; alison.gowans@thegazette.com

CONTINUE READING

MORE Arts & Culture ARTICLES TO READ NEXT ...

LOS ANGELES - Disney-Marvel's 'Black Panther' is heading for a stunning $235 million debut over the four-day Presidents Day weekend at 4,020 North American locations, estimates showed Monday.'Black Panther,' starring Chadwick Bose ...

When Elizabeth Riordan found a pile of small rocks at the bottom of a bag of tangled press passes, she almost threw them away. But something made her pause. She was cataloging more than 50 years of materials from the papers and me ...

Give us feedback

Have you found an error or omission in our reporting? Tell us here.

Do you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.