Brothers Nathan and Chris Allick have been involved in the restaurant industry since before they could drive. Now, the co-owners of the new deli Freshwraps couldn’t imagine doing anything else.
Along with co-owners Allyn Secor and Jayme Tegeler, they opened Freshwraps on July 10 in the former Cork ’n Fork location. The four of them also own Emil’s Hideaway, 222 Glenbrook Dr. SE, which they opened in 2013. It is named for the Allicks’ grandfather, Emil, who with their father, ran Emil’s Deli in downtown Cedar Rapids for 50 years.
“It’s what we were raised doing,” Nathan Allick said. “Both of us graduated from the University of Iowa and just kind of gravitated back to it. I don’t think any of us could sit behind a desk from 9 to 5. We kind of need the action a restaurant provides.”
Chris Allick said he likes seeing people enjoy a good meal.
“What I like best is making good food for people. We grew up in it, we didn’t have much of a choice,” he said. “I probably started working in the deli in the summers when I was like 10 years old. I felt comfortable there.”
He designed the Freshwraps menu, which includes an homage to Cork ’n Fork with the turkey garden wrap, based on a popular dish from the former restaurant. The restaurant is fast-casual style. Customers can either order a signature wrap or salad or build their own, choosing from four flavors of wraps: plain, garden veggie, tomato basil or jalapeno ranch. The dough is made in-house, and wraps are pressed and cooked individually for each order.
“There were a lot of trials and tribulations to get the dough right,” Chris Allick said. “We changed the recipe a few times and kind of dialed it in right at the deadline.”
Nathan Allick said the inspiration for the deli came from two longtime Iowa City staples: Pancheros and Baldy’s Wraps, which closed in 2008. He loved Baldy’s food, and he also loves Pancheros’ tortillas, which are pressed and cooked to order.
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“We always talked about how we were surprised no one offered a fresh-pressed wrap in Cedar Rapids,” he said.
Although the owners are still getting their feet under them running two restaurants instead of one, Nathan Allick said in the future there could be more Freshwraps; the restaurant is designed to be franchised.
“The sky’s the limit,” he said.
WHERE: 2835 Mount Vernon Rd. SE, Cedar Rapids
WHEN: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday
DETAILS: (319) 364-3123, Eatfreshwraps.com
l Comments: (319) 398-8434; firstname.lastname@example.org