116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
IOWA CITY — Bump’s Restaurant at the University of Iowa’s Finkbine Golf Course has reopened with more than your typical golf course fare.
Not discounting the lush green landscaping it sits on at the Nagle Family Clubhouse, General Manager and Executive Chef Jennifer Madsen said the location is mostly coincidental.
“We don’t see ourselves as a golf course that has a restaurant,” Madsen said. “For Bump’s, we are a restaurant. We just happen to be on a golf course.”
Where: 1380 Melrose Ave., Iowa City; Inside the Nagle Family Clubhouse on Finkbine Golf Course.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; breakfast available until noon on weekends
Details: Reservations encouraged, not mandatory; see full menu online at finkbine.com.
Contact: (319) 335-9662; www.facebook.com/FinkbineBumpsRestaurant
But eating with a view of golfers honing their skill on tee boxes — free entertainment, as Madsen likes to call it — doesn’t hurt, either.
Whether you’re going after tee times or for tea time, she said you’ll get more than just a clubhouse vibe. Over the winter, Madsen developed a fully realized vision for Bump’s. Beyond the food, everything down to the playlist and tastefully themed Hawkeye decor is carefully thought out.
The restaurant was named for Chalmers “Bump” Elliott, director of the University of Iowa’s men's athletics from 1970 to 1991, an era when the Hawkeyes won 34 Big Ten and 11 NCAA championships.
“I’m really into the psychology of food and why people are comfortable in a restaurant space or want to stay longer, or what makes food enjoyable,” she said, using her experience as a chef at other golf courses around Iowa to develop a full menu for the first full-service restaurant at Finkbine.
“In my (Hispanic) family, being able to cook in the kitchen was this huge honor growing up. When I was a little girl, I used to sit in the doorway and watch my grandma cook,” Madsen said. “I have a lot of respect for food and the joy it brings people.”
After a successful first season last year following the restaurant’s July opening, Bump’s closed for the winter and reopened in March. With virtually everything made from scratch, the concept is simple: elevated comfort food.
“It’s really just a passion for getting raw, whole ingredients and making real food because nowadays, people eat a lot of processed (food),” Madsen said. “My training chef … taught me right. I’ve never worked somewhere where we brought in frozen stuff.”
Perhaps to her staff’s consternation, that means even the breaded appetizers and tenderloin are done by hand. Even the fried options are done in a way to set them apart from snack food one might expect at a golf course snack stand.
“There is a level of comfort there. It’s trying to take a different approach to things,” Madsen said.
Take a cranberry turkey press, for instance. After adding arugula, garlic aioli and Swiss cheese, you have something a little more than a turkey sandwich, but something still familiar.
“It’s just trying to do a full palate when you’re eating something so it’s not just one flat flavor,” she said. “We try to think outside of the box a little bit and elevate it so it’s something different, but it’s still very familiar.”
Some less familiar options, like the grilled vinegar coleslaw, also are available. With sauteed peppers and onions, the side dish is grilled with a stone-ground mustard and vinegar base.
Popular dishes include the pork tenderloin, onion thins and the walking taco quesadilla.
Breakfast is offered on the weekends with standard fare in addition to less standard options, like a corned beef hash aged with a dry rub and braised with beer and beef stock.
The bar carries local brews from Big Grove and Exile as well as an extensive liquor inventory, including high-end bourbon and scotch for a proper old fashioned or Manhattan.
Reservations are encouraged, but not mandatory, to ensure expedient service for all tables. Bump’s, now operating on a smaller menu, will return to its full menu by June 14.
Comments: (319) 398-8340; firstname.lastname@example.org