116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS - When Ryan Evans, Wade Leslie and Marv Anselm decided to open their new restaurant, Pedaler's Fork, in northeast Cedar Rapids, they thought it would be a quick project. But 2020 had different ideas.
The location previously was the Broken Spoke, which closed after a fire at the adjacent Riley's Cafe damaged both restaurants. Evans said when he took over the space, he thought the damage repair would be simple, but there was extensive fire damage in the walls that wasn't apparent until they started working.
'It was such a huge project, I was not expecting what I was getting into,” he said. 'I was hoping to do something very small, but when we opened the wall, it was basically ruined. We decided to completely gut it.”
Repairs also were slowed down by the pandemic, as things like inspections were paused for a while. Then they were reluctant to open in the uncertain climate of changing COVID-19 restrictions.
'We didn't want to open if we were just going to be selling to-go,” Evans said. 'We didn't know what was going to be allowed to be open.”
But he said at some point they just needed to take the chance and open, because they were paying rent on the space and had poured so much into renovating it. The Pedaler's Fork opened Dec. 8.
Evans also owns the Blind Pig and Cocktails. He said he's drawn to the restaurant world and keeps adding to his portfolio of businesses because he loves the high energy of the industry.
'I can't sit still. Once I get places going and get good managers, I need something to do with my time,” he said.
He laughed and added, 'But after this, I'll never do another one.”
He grew up in a restaurant family. When he was in high school, he was forced to work at the family business, even if there was a school dance or football game he'd rather be at. But despite his resistance, he became hooked, he said.
'Over the years, I just grew to love it. It's just in you,” he said. 'When you do a good job, (you) just see it in people's faces.”
The name Pedaler's Fork is an allusion to the location just off the bike trail and an ode to the former Broken Spoke, which was bike-themed.
'We wanted it to be catchy and fun, bicycle related and not say bar and grill,” he said.
The space is sizable, with a long bar - currently the bar seating is not in use due to COVID-19 restrictions - and tables are spaced for social distancing, plus pool tables. There is a large patio in the back that will open in the spring.
The menu is varied, with mac & cheese bowls, Asian and Italian bowls, burgers, sandwiches, tacos and salad options. The bar has 108 beers on tap.
They do not partner with any delivery services but do offer carryout, including to-go beers. For those dining in, they offer beer flights and 25-cent beer samples, with the price of samples going to a local charity.
'We want it to be very beer forward and not just a restaurant,” manager Mia Suntken said.
She said her favorite part of the job is seeing people enjoying themselves.
'When you get a compliment that someone had a blast, and the food is good and the beer is cold - it feels like an accomplishment,” she said. 'It's kind of a thrill when it's really busy.”
Comments: (319) 398-8339; firstname.lastname@example.org
If you go
' What: The Pedaler's Fork
' Where: 2010 Sylvia Ave. NE, Cedar Rapids
' Hours: 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Tuesday to Saturday, 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday
' Details: (319) 826-2490, thepedalersfork.com