Could the pie shake be ready to go global?
Lost & Found Provisions & Spirits
A Czech Village restaurant that opened in May 2019 is closed. The doors at Lost & Found Provisions & Spirits, 69 16th Ave. SW, Cedar Rapids, have been locked for weeks. Building owner Kory Nanke has confirmed the business will not reopen. He told The Gazette he is searching for another business to take over the lease.
Joel Kane owned and operated the short-lived restaurant. Kane previously owned Bata’s, or Betas as it was renamed, in the New Bohemia neighborhood.
Hamburg Inn No. 2 soon will get a Hamburg Inn number 3. The longtime diner is currently open at 214 N. Linn St. and 2221 Rochester Ave. in Iowa City. Now, plans are in the works for a third location at 746 Coral Ridge Ave., Coralville, slated to open this spring.
It will have largely the same menu as the downtown Hamburg Inn, general manager Seth Dudley said, with an expanded dinner menu and a bar with alcohol service.
“That’s something that hasn’t happened since No. 1 closed in 1975,” Dudley said. “We’ll be able to get inventive with some of our shakes. We can put bourbon in the bourbon pecan pie shake, for example.”
He said they’re also working on a food truck, which they hope to have ready in late spring, in time for the summer festival season.
“We’ve had a mobile grill for a few years, but having everything enclosed will really streamline it,” he said. “It will really open up some new venues for us — football games, RAGBRAI, that kind of thing.”
Hamburg Inn owner Michael Lee purchased the business from former owner David Panther in 2016, who had run the restaurant since he took over from his parents in 1979. A frequent stop for campaigning politicians, Hamburg Inn originally opened in 1935.
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Lee, who graduated from the University of Iowa in 1968 with a journalism degree, is the CEO of Academic Studies Abroad, a Shanghai-based organization that fosters educational exchanges between the United States and China and Taiwan. When he purchased the business, Lee said he’d like to see Hamburg Inn locations in China someday.
Dudley said that still is a possibility. In September 2018 he traveled to China with Lee to cook for former Iowa governor and Ambassador to China Terry Branstad during a conference. The trip also was a chance to do research for a potential Hamburg expansion.
“It was amazing. ... Just getting to experience the whole other culture was wonderful. A big part of it was just trying to know the restaurant scene. I got to try all kinds of wonderful cuisine,” said Dudley, who has been working at Hamburg Inn for 10 years. “I would not have been able to foresee down the road that I’d be one day going overseas in the name of Hamburg Inn.”
He said if Lee does decide to expand into China, he would go back to oversee the opening of the new location. That could be some time away, however.
“For now his focus has been regional, here in Iowa City,” Dudley said. “Once Coralville is open, he’ll be looking to expand outside the market, either in China or here.”
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