Chew on This: Military-themed restaurant opens, a Zio Johno's closes in Cedar Rapids

Also: El Banditos moves in Iowa City, and The Fish Store struggles to stay afloat

The Fish Store owner Lenore Zoll talks to a customer March 12 at the newly opened restaurant, 4342 16th Avenue SW, in Ce
The Fish Store owner Lenore Zoll talks to a customer March 12 at the newly opened restaurant, 4342 16th Avenue SW, in Cedar Rapids. Zoll was the manager of Boston Fish near downtown Cedar Rapids and opened the new seafood restaurant to carry on the tradition of the former business. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

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Foxhole Charlie’s bar & Grill

The Freedom Foundation, a nonprofit organization serving veterans in Cedar Rapids, has opened a restaurant, Foxhole Charlie’s Bar & Grill & Max Betenbender Military Exhibition Hall, at 621 Center Point Road NE, Cedar Rapids. All proceeds will go to the organization’s mission, which includes serving veterans through a food pantry, clothing distribution and assistance with emergency medical transportation, financial assistance and housing, among other things.

The restaurant is slated to open July 20, and will serve breakfast and lunch, featuring items such as biscuits and gravy and burgers.

Zio Johno’s on C Street closing

Italian eatery Zio Johno’s Spaghetti House is closing it’s location at 5741 C St. SW, Cedar Rapids, at the end of July.

The restaurant posted on Facebook that the business owner has had health issues and that combined with the financial strain of the coronavirus pandemic, led to the decision.

“Many of you have become like family since we opened in 2013, making it incredibly difficult for us to have to shut our doors. We want to thank each and every one of you for the amazing 7 years we’ve spent together at this place ... Your constant support and encouragement made it possible for us to do what we love and serve our community. We hope that you will continue to support local, family-owned and operated businesses,” the post read.

Zio Johno’s locations in Marion, North Liberty, Iowa City and its other Cedar Rapids location at 3120 Edgewood Road SW will remain open.

El Banditos relocating in iowa city

Mexican restaurant El Banditos has closed its location at 327 E. Market St. in Iowa City’s Northside neighborhood. The restaurant posted on Facebook it would move to 630 Iowa Ave., and make “some pretty major adaptations,” including adding Billy’s High Hat Diner, and that it would reopen at some point in August. Billy’s High Hat Diner is now located at 630 Iowa Ave., and the two restaurants are both co-owned by restaurateur Derek Perez.

“We wouldn’t have made it this far without you, and we all thank you immensely,” the post read.

The Fish Store starts GoFundMe

Lenore Zoll, owner of The Fish Store, has launched a GoFundMe to try to save her business.

Zoll opened the restaurant at 4342 16th Ave. SW, Cedar Rapids, on March 6, just 11 days before the statewide shutdown of restaurants to dine-in service to fight the spread of the coronavirus went into effect. She said that she applied for governmental assistance, but that the business was too new to have the required paperwork documenting expenses and payroll costs.

The Fish Store is the new incarnation of Boston Fish, which Zoll’s family owned in downtown Cedar Rapids. Boston Fish had been part of Cedar Rapids since 1942.

Now, under the slogan, “Refusing to sink,” Zoll said she is struggling to keep the business going. She set a goal of raising $10,000 through the fundraiser. As of Monday, she had raised $480.

“I will continue to survive as long as I possibly can. The memories and the generations that have dined at Boston Fish and now The Fish Store deserve to have a place to reminisce in these unpredictable times,” she wrote.

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