Food & Drink

Taste of Iowa City returns for 10th year

Event takes place from 4-8 p.m. Thursday

Graze owner Kim Harman (left) and general manager Casey Kidwell (right) serve up chicken lipsticks during the Taste of Iowa City Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 in downtown Iowa City. (File photo/The Gazette)
Graze owner Kim Harman (left) and general manager Casey Kidwell (right) serve up chicken lipsticks during the Taste of Iowa City Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013 in downtown Iowa City. (File photo/The Gazette)

Update (Rain Delay): According to the Taste of Iowa City Facebook page, the event has been delayed to Thursday night due to rain expected to fall on Wednesday night.

Their statement below:

It's official :( We will be moving Taste of Iowa City Presented by MidWestOne Bank to Thursday, August 25th due to weather. The rain and storms look too troublesome for this outdoor event. Everything will go on like normal on Thursday. 4-8pm! See you all then!

IOWA CITY — Nick Craig says the annual Taste of Iowa City is a perfect time to get acquainted with a new eatery — perhaps a place you’ve been wanting to try, but just haven’t yet.

Craig, co-owner of Brix Cheese Shop and Wine Bar, 209 N. Linn St., says this is the fourth time his business has participated in Taste of Iowa City, which returns for its 10th installment from 4-8 p.m. Wednesday.

“There are always a lot of people wandering around,” he said. “It’s a great event and it certainly helps for people who haven’t seen us before. It’s a great excuse to come try us out.”

For this year’s Taste, Brix is preparing portion sizes of cucumber gazpacho with goat cheese and mint, as well as salami-wrapped Damn Spicy Pickles from Brooklyn Brine Co. topped with house mustard and Parmesan cheese.

Brix is among more than 40 eateries participating in the annual event, which is hosted by the Downtown District.


Event organizers said it’s worth stopping down even if you’ve been to past Taste of Iowa City events.

“Every year the event is a little different, and we have an ever-changing restaurant scene,” said Betsy Potter, director of operations for Iowa City Downtown District. “Even if you did come all 10 years, you probably can’t eat at all 40 restaurants that are participating.”

Here’s how Taste of Iowa City works:

Eateries offer samples that can be purchased using tickets. Tickets are $1 each and sold in strips of five at MidWestOne Bank locations or during the event at six ticket booths set up around the downtown and Northside areas.

The average sample costs two or three tickets, but some of the larger samples, such as a slice of pizza from Mesa Pizza, costs more, Potter said.

The event was originally created to acquaint Iowa City newbies with the downtown culture, especially for University of Iowa students whose Welcome Week coincides with the event.

“It’s really to introduce the people who may be new to the community to the cuisine of downtown,” Potter said. “It’s a question we get all the time, ‘Where should I go eat?’ We have a great culinary scene. It’s definitely something people ask about all the time.”

Potter said about 8,000 people attended last year’s event. She said if there is inclement weather, the event could be moved to Thursday. She said any announcements are to be made on the Downtown District’s Facebook page.

Wednesday’s forecast calls for showers and thunderstorms during the day with gradual clearing by night.


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Marie Muscala, store manager at Bread Garden Market, 225 S. Linn St., says turnout for Taste of Iowa City is traditionally very strong. She said she sees a lot of University of Iowa students, as well as families walking around.

“It’s been consistent throughout the years. People seem to enjoy it,” she said.

Bread Garden Market plans to showcase some of its sandwiches, as well as samples of Italian sausage, macaroni and cheese and doughnuts. They’ll be set up outside on their patio.

“You can start with the sausage and end with a doughnut,” Muscala said.

Here is a list of restaurants taking part in Taste of Iowa City:


Aspen Leaf Rocky Mountain Chocolate & Yogurt

Atlas World Grill

Baroncini Ristorante Italiano



Bread Garden Market

Brix Wine & Cheese Shop

Iowa Chop House

Cold Stone


Donnelly’s El Banditos

El Patrón



Hamburg Inn

Heirloom Salad Company

High Ground Coffee

Java House

Joe’s Place

Mama’s Deli & Catering


Mesa Pizza

Micky’s Irish Pub

Molly’s Cupcakes

nodo Downtown

Northside Bistro

Oasis Falafel

One Twenty Six


Pop’s New & Old BBQ

Pullman Bar & Diner




Sweets & Treats


The Mill

Which wich

Yotopia Frozen Yogurt

Z’Mariks Noodle Cafe



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