Chew on This: Popoli closing, White Star seeks new owner

Popoli Ristorante & Sullivan's Bar on Third Avenue SW is housed in the former People's Savings Bank in Cedar Rapids on S
Popoli Ristorante & Sullivan’s Bar on Third Avenue SW is housed in the former People’s Savings Bank in Cedar Rapids on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2016. The bank was designed by Louis Sullivan and was completed in 1912. (Rebecca F. Miller/The Gazette)

Two downtown Cedar Rapids restaurants are closing. Read more in this week’s Chew on This:

Popoli Ristorante & Sullivan’s Bar closing

Popoli Ristorante & Sullivan’s Bar in Kingston Village will close on Dec. 20 according to a Nov. 12 Facebook post by the owners.

“We wish to thank all of our loyal customers, employees, suppliers, and service providers for their support for the past 6+ years. This was a difficult decision during a difficult time for many restaurants,” the post said. “In reflection, Popoli owners are proud of the undertaking of the restoration of this historic building after it was damaged and closed after the flood of 2008. The restaurant portion of the building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and designed by the famous architect, Louis Sullivan, for Peoples Bank in 1910. The Iconic Vault Room and Doors, the Murals, the Stained Glass, the Chandeliers, the Teller Bars, the Marble, and the many other unique architectural features were restored and maintained for many to enjoy while dining at Popoli. Popoli is also proud of the support they have provided for the community and Kingston Village throughout the years.”

The restaurant, at 101 Third Ave. SW, opened in 2014. It was named to Preservation Iowa’s “Most Endangered Properties” list in 2012. Fred Timko and Gary Rozek bought the building from Wells Fargo, which worked with Timko and Rozek to restore the space.

“The owners will pause and decide on next steps for the restaurant part of the building. They are hopeful a use can be found that honors the historic significance and beauty of the building and interior. The remainder of the building will continue to operate as an important commercial space for ImOn Communications and Kepros Physical Therapy and Performance,” the Facebook post said.

Equipment and information related to the catering business will be transferred to Popoli managing partner Jude Villafana, who will operate as Peppercorn Food Co.

White Star Ale House closing

Downtown restaurant White Star Ale, 305 Second Ave. SE, is closing and seeking a buyer, the business announced Tuesday on Facebook. “The COVID-19 situation has taken a toll on many businesses in our industry including ours. To allow us to explore & consider all options, The White Star Ale House dining room will close effective today.

“Perhaps the best outcome of all the challenges would be to find a successor owner. This business has several attributes, a premium location, great staff, outstanding customers & has had some impressive business successes,” according to the post.

White Star Ale opened in 2011. The bar will remain open for the next couple of weeks, with limited or no food service.

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