The Ground Floor Revisited: Iowa City vegan restaurant evolves to include events venue

Trumpet Blossom Cafe opened nearly five years ago

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IOWA CITY — Four and a half years since she opened the doors to her business, Katy Meyer said she’s been applying ideas from the business world to give her restaurant something her competitors don’t have.

“It’s not just a vegan restaurant, (it’s now) also a bar and event venue,” she said. “I feel like if we keep things interesting and keep different people coming through the door, it’s absolutely going to sustain us for the long run.”

Trumpet Blossom Cafe, which opened as a vegan and vegetarian eatery in Iowa City, has begun to make a profit in the nearly five years since it started, she said. It opened April 2012 after the Red Avocado, a former vegan and vegetarian eatery Meyer co-owned, closed its doors.

Now, Meyer’s restaurant only offers all organic ingredients and locally grown produce — something on which she says she’s not willing to compromise.

While the majority of the items for sale remain in place all year, Meyer said they change the menu seasonally, depending on what’s available and appropriate for the time of year.

“We have a fairly different menu from when we opened,” Meyer said. “A couple things still there, but a lot of it has changed and evolved.”

The restaurant also offers a cocktail bar that follows the same quality ingredient mantra, and includes beer-on-tap selections that rotate seasonally.

Meyers had a stage built when she opened Trumpet Blossom, which she said challenged her to truly use the space.

She originally never intended to charge a cover for the bands performing and make it a “low key” aspect of the space, Meyer said. Then it became a popular stop among the Iowa City music fans, a place that’s even frequented by touring bands.

“It’s something we’ve kind of let grow on its own,” she said. “It’s a really super fun part of the place that we did not anticipate at all.”

Along with a variety of bands, Meyer said the space also has hosted events and readings with University of Iowa students.

Since she’s opened the doors, Meyer said the space has hosted a handful of wedding receptions and birthday parties, two weddings and a Christmas Eve proposal.

Editor’s note: We check back on occasion with a startup we’ve profiled in an earlier “Ground Floor” to see how things may have changed with the business and what lessons may have been learned.

Know a company in new business that would be ideal for “The Gound Floor”? Contact Michael Chevy Castranova at

At a Glance

l Business: Trumpet Blossom Cafe

l Owner: Katy Meyer

l Address: 310 E. Prentiss St., Iowa City

l Phone: (319) 248-0077

l Website:

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