New North Liberty restaurant Tin Roost was supposed to be called Tin Rooster — until the owners discovered a restaurant with that name already existed in New York.
But managing partner Joe Selix said he thinks “Tin Roost” is just the right moniker to describe the new eatery.
“A roost is a hangout, a gathering place, which is what we want this place to be,” he said.
It is certainly set up for gathering, with a wide patio complete with fire pits and lots of outdoor seating overlooking a pond. The new-construction building is round instead of square, with indoor tables surrounding a circular bar. A ring of windows near the high ceiling crowns the airy dining room with bright strips of sky.
With 4,800 square feet of patio and almost 8,000 square feet inside, the restaurant offers plenty of space to roost. Much of the indoor space is devoted to two private dining rooms for special events.
For now, still in the “soft opening” phase, Tin Roost is open for dinner, with plans to add lunch, happy hour and weekend brunch hours in the future. Selix also hopes to offer live music on the patio.
Chef Jeffrey Sills, previously from Chicago, designed a menu full of dishes like chicken and waffles, boiled peanut hummus, sweet potato ravioli and corn-crusted catfish. Desserts like pecan pie and root beer float with sassafras ice cream round out the Southern-inspired flavors.
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“We wanted to take your standard comfort food and put our own Southern twist on it,” Selix said.
For beverages, customers can get wine or a beer on tap or try a signature craft cocktail. The restaurant also serves drip, French press and nitro coffee from Chicago’s Sparrow Coffee Roastery.
Along with Selix, Tin Root’s co-owners are Erik Schewmaker, Brandon Pratt and Brian Flynn. Flynn also is co-owner of PiZan, Joe’s Place, Donnelly’s Pub, Brix Cheese Shop & Wine Bar, and Blackstone in Iowa City and 30hop in Coralville, and Schewmaker also is co-owner at Blackstone and 30hop.
All of those restaurants are part of a group of about 15 affiliated businesses the owners call the Craft Concepts Group, which also includes Pullman, Mosley’s and Atlas in Iowa City, Big Grove in Iowa City and Solon, and Red’s Alehouse in North Liberty. Pratt also owns several area Pizza Ranches.
Selix was formerly Blackstone’s front-of-house manager before moving to Denver. He came back to Iowa to help open Tin Roost.
“This was too good of an opportunity to pass up,” he said.
WHAT: Tin Roost
WHERE: 840 W. Penn St., North Liberty
HOURS: Kitchen open 5 to 9 p.m. Monday to Saturday, bar open later, depending on crowd; hours may expand in future
DETAILS: (319) 626-2331, Tinroost.com