116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — The deli and cafe at the Cedar Rapids Public Library, 450 Fifth Ave. SE, has started a new chapter.
And for the bookworm who owns the new Roasters Coffeehouse on the first floor, the new location is fitting.
“Growing up, I spent a ton of time at the library, probably more time than at my house,” said owner Amanda Steines. “I’m really excited to be part of library culture. It’s the community of the library already being tight knit and having its own culture.”
Though the library was presented with challenges through the pandemic with some closures that presented limitations to the business inside, the space presents some built-in advantages with a base of regular customers and staff. Roasters inherited two staffers who were with Greyhound.
There, Roasters also will be able to tap into a stream of customers attending events put on by the library throughout the year and the potential for catering with the building’s rooftop patio and meeting spaces.
“This library has a different vibe than most other libraries I’ve seen,” said Steines.
Where: First floor of Cedar Rapids Public Library, 450 Fifth Ave. SE
Hours: Open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Friday
Details: Eat at the tables available in the cafe, order for carryout or use the drive-thru accessible from Fourth Avenue SE. Online ordering available through roasters-coffeehouse.square.site
Phone: (319) 739-0499
And for many, coffee and books go hand in hand.
“It’s a kind of comfort thing you do for yourself, a self care ritual,” she said.
The new vendor moved into the library May 1, taking over the space Greyhound Deli & Cafe held since 2015. The location marks Roasters’ third in the area, including North Center Point Road in Hiawatha and NewBo City Market in Cedar Rapids.
“We’ve definitely outgrown our space in the (NewBo City Market) trying to keep up with everything,” said Steines. “We make everything from scratch, and it’s such a limited space there.”
In addition to owning both the library and NewBo location, Steines will continue to manage the Hiawatha location, which has another owner.
Roasters, which pioneered breakfast food at NewBo, also will bring that niche to the library. Previously, Greyhound focused more on lunch.
“Greyhound was more of a deli,” Steiner said. “It’s the best of both worlds now.”
With a robust breakfast menu, readers at the library can pick up sweet fare like a breakfast biscuit with a maple biscuit, egg and cheese, or more savory options like a breakfast “salad” with mixed greens, roasted veggies, a fried egg and cheese.
“Greyhound didn’t do breakfast before, so people are excited about that,” the owner said.
In addition to a variety of breakfast food, the cafe offers sweet treats like gooey cookie creations that pair well with morning or afternoon caffeine.
Though Roasters was not looking for a new location, holding its own through the pandemic, Steiners said the library was a great place to start a new location from scratch. The third Roasters location also comes with its first drive-thru, accessible from Fourth Avenue SE.
“Matt (Georges) just came to me and was looking to change careers,” she said of the former Greyhound owner. “It was a really great opportunity, so I jumped on it.”
Roasters will continue to maintain its NewBo location.
Georges’ Greyhound Deli & Cafe also started at NewBo in October 2012 after running Griddle Me This, a breakfast stand at the Iowa City Farmers Market.
Most of Greyhound’s menu has been retained at Roasters, with modifications for things like sauces, bread or meat seasoning on sandwiches.
An Italian sandwich with prosciutto, pepperoni, salami, ham, greens, pickles, veggies and garlic butter has replaced Greyhound’s Joey sandwich. Other vegan items have been tweaked, as well.
The full espresso beverage menu will continue alongside new beverage options unique to Roasters, like raw coffee juice — a blend of unroasted coffee beans, lemon juice and honey ginger simple syrup described as akin to a mild sweet tea.
Smoothies and blended frappes, popular at Roasters other locations, will continue as well.
“(Smoothies) carried us through the pandemic,” Steines said. “You just feel out where the demand is, what people want you to be making for them.”
Comments: Reach reporter Elijah Decious at (319) 398-8340 or firstname.lastname@example.org