RESTAURANTS

Chew on This: Iowa City moves outdoor dining into the street on the Northside

Norm Wilkerson builds a loosie July 30, 2019at Loosie's, 1611 32nd St. NE, Cedar Rapids, on July 30, 2019. First respond
Norm Wilkerson builds a loosie July 30, 2019at Loosie’s, 1611 32nd St. NE, Cedar Rapids, on July 30, 2019. First responders, military service members, teachers and health care workers can get a free meal there under a tab set up by COUNTY Financial insurance. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

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Outdoor dining

Diners will find more outdoor seating in Iowa City’s Northside neighborhood.

Tables now dominate a portion of North Linn Street, which is closed to traffic in front of several restaurants, including Hamburg Inn, Wild Culture Kombucha, Oasis Falafel, Brix Wine & Cheese and Goosetown Cafe.

The temporary extended patio area gives businesses and patrons more room for outdoor seating during the coronavirus pandemic, as cases rise in Johnson County. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for dining out say outdoor spaces are safer than indoor ones.

The City of Iowa City and the Downtown District partnered to place 40 more picnic and bistro tables around the downtown and the Northside neighborhoods.

In May, Mayor Bruce Teague signed an order waiving most sidewalk cafe fees for the 2020 season.

Cedar Rapids city staff also created a streamlined application for outdoor service areas for businesses at the beginning of June.

Interested businesses can complete an Outdoor Commercial Services permit application online at bit.ly/3gMlNIi.

Food for the Frontline

An insurance company has set up a tab for free meals for first responders, military service members, teachers and health care workers.

COUNTY Financial insurance representative Ryan Martin set up the tabs through the company’s Operation Helping Heroes. He set up a $1,250 tab at Loosies and $1,000 tab at Midtown Station in Cedar Rapids and $750 tab at Victory Lane Bar + Grill in Clarence. People who qualify can show their work ID at those locations to receive a free meal until the money is gone.

Comments: (319) 398-8339; alison.gowans@thegazette.com

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