Chew on This: Hamburg Inn location closes, Gnarly Pepper leaves NewBo

Kurt Junge (center) takes a meal order from Phyllis Schulz (left) and her husband, Bob, on Oct. 6, 2017, as they dine at
Kurt Junge (center) takes a meal order from Phyllis Schulz (left) and her husband, Bob, on Oct. 6, 2017, as they dine at the east-side Hamburg Inn location, 2221 Rochester Ave., in Iowa City. That Hamburg location closed Monday. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

Hamburg Inn

Hamburg Inn’s location at 2221 Rochester Ave., Iowa City, has closed.

The east side Hamburg Inn location opened in August 2017 next to a gas station across the street from Regina High School.

The longtime diner’s downtown location, 214 N. Linn St., Iowa City, remains open, and plans to open an additional spot in Coralville remain underway.

“We are unfortunately closing the door on Rochester location on February 17th, 2020. We want to thank our regulars and friends. Thank you all for the support and loyalty over the past few years. Hope to see you all in our Linn St. and upcoming Coralville location,” a Facebook post said.

In January, Hamburg Inn general manager Seth Dudley told The Gazette the company also was planning a food truck, and that additional expansions into China could happen in the future.

Hamburg Inn owner Michael Lee purchased the business from former owner David Panther in 2016. Panther had run the restaurant since he took over from his parents in 1979. 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.

Gnarly Pepper

NewBo City Market vendor Gnarly Pepper has closed up shop at the market to focus on expanding the wholesale side of the business.

Founder Sarah Gotch opened the stand in March 2019, serving sandwiches and wraps as vehicles for her signature “not mayo” dips. They are meant to mimic the taste of mayonnaise-based dips but use Greek yogurt as a healthier alternative. Gotch recently completed a startup accelerator program with Canadian dairy company Agropur, and as “phase two” of Gnarly Pepper, she plans to now focus on expanding sales of her spice mixes and ready-to-eat yogurt pouches, hoping to get the products on more grocery store shelves.

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