June 6, 2023

9 new businesses in Johnson County include Bluebird Café, Starbucks and an electric bike shop - Iowa City Press-Citizen

on Jan 6, 2023

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The bright blue canopy attached to the brick building is easy to spot on Main Street in Solon, beckoning customers to the entrance of the new Bluebird Café.

Families and lone diners stepped in and out of the restaurant Thursday afternoon, after its quiet opening in the Johnson County town.

The Bluebird has locations in North Liberty and Iowa City, though the latter is separately owned and "loosely affiliated" with the North Liberty location, according to the diner's Iowa City owner Bill Fordice. Now, Solon residents can enjoy omelets, pancakes and other breakfast fare all day — as well as lunch and dinner options.

Located at 112 E. Main St., the diner does not have hours posted online or on its social media but is open for business.

Bluebird Café is just one of many recently opened businesses in Johnson County. They include:

  • Two more spots for coffee.
  • A donut shop replaced by a donut shop.
  • Bicycles to cruise across Iowa City.

Here is the Press-Citizen's roundup of nine new businesses in Johnson County.


The global coffee chain adds another location in the Iowa City area, this one off of Wheaton Road and Coral Ridge Avenue in Coralville. The address 3920 Redhawk St.

The coffee shop is open for both dine-in and drive-thru orders from 5 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Cafecito 305

Another spot for coffee opened in December, serving drinks and pastries inspired by Latin American cuisine.

Cafecito uses coffee imported from Veracruz, Mexico. Cappuccinos, horchata lattes, Mexican hot cocoa and smoothies are just a few of the drinks made at Cafecito. The café serves empanadas, Cuban-style pastries filled with guava and cheese, tres leches cake and other pastries to accompany your beverage. 

Cafecito is open Tuesday through Friday 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.; 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

The café can host private events as well. It is located at 1040 Martin St. in Iowa City.


After more than a decade, Iowa City's Daylight Donuts closed up shop. The closure was announced on its Facebook page in late February, explaining that the shop would change ownership to Donutland.

Daylight Donuts briefly closed in 2019. The store relocated to 1681 S. First Ave., a decision influenced by longtime customers' demands to keep the store in eastside Iowa City, and opened back up.

Now, Donutland is serving up the sugary pastries, including its popular cherry glazed donut, from 5 a.m. to noon Monday through Friday; and 6 a.m. to noon Saturday and Sunday. 

Donutland has another location in Cedar Rapids and also sells its donuts at cafés and eateries.  

Woodcraft of Iowa City

Local woodworkers and crafters have a new place to purchase tools and supplies. Woodcraft Supply, a nationwide chain founded in Boston in 1928, has opened a location in Iowa City at 3 Escort Lane. The store had a soft opening in mid-January.

Owner Eric Casteel told the Press-Citizen he has been an amateur woodworker for almost 30 years.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Casteel was prompted by his wife to pursue projects around the house. He realized there wasn’t a place to buy high-end supplies nearby.

Casteel said he wanted to fill the need for a woodworking store in the city.

Woodcraft has power tools, lumber, hardware for cabinetry, gardening tools and more.

“People who are demanding a little bit higher quality finished product, we carry all the supplies and tools necessary to get projects like that done,” Casteel said.

Store hours are from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday; Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday noon to 5 p.m.

From April 8-10, Casteel said Woodcraft will have a grand opening with discounts throughout the store.

Marco’s Island

Marco’s Grilled Cheese owner Mark Paterno is bringing a taste of the tropics to downtown Iowa City with the recently opened Marco’s Island.

The menu caters to both those looking for something they’d get seaside, and those in need of classic bar food.

Salmon burgers, shrimp tacos and lobster bisque meets buffalo wings and cheese curds at Marco's Island.

Marco’s Island is located at 121 N. Linn St., conveniently next door to Marco’s Grilled Cheese for those craving the classic sandwich. The colorful, rainforest-themed restaurant is open Friday and Saturdays from 5:30 p.m. to midnight, according to its Facebook page.

Marco's Game Day

Marco's Game Day began as a stand selling Hawkeye gear in front of Kinnick Stadium on home football game days, according to its Facebook page.

The stand now has a storefront in downtown Iowa City. Next to Short's Burger Shine, Marco's Game Day — also owned by Paterno — is an easy stop for those who need to grab something black and gold for the next game, or collectors looking for Hawkeye memorabilia. 

Marco's Game Day is located at 16 S. Clinton St.

Pedego Electric Bikes Iowa City

Bike-friendly Iowa City is the home to a new bike retailer.

Pedego Electric Bikes Iowa City opened in early March, located at 411 Second St. in Coralville. The store, owned by Jason Cashman and Ben Schwartz, sells Pedego products and can service people’s Pedego bikes.

Pedego Electric Bikes was founded in 2008 in California and offers premium electric bikes with a five-year warranty. The electric bike company has stores across the country.

Cashman told the Press-Citizen that this Coralville location is the first Pedego store in Iowa.

“This is such a great bike community,” he said. “I’ve always loved this community. We're excited to be here.”

He said that while Pedego products may be more expensive, they are known to last.

Pedego offers cruisers, bikes with a low-step frame and bikes for those tackling off-road trails and inclines. The store also offers rentals, with a half-day rental at $49; $99 for a full day.

Pedego Electric Bikes Iowa City is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. during the week and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.

Wilson’s Ciderhouse Venue

The large, historic barn that houses Rapid Creek Cidery is merging with Wilson’s Orchard Farm and reopening as Wilson’s Ciderhouse Venue.

The merger comes with the goal “of promoting regenerative, local and ethical food and farm systems in the Corridor community,” according to a news release.

Rapid Creek Cidery opened in 2017, owned and operated by Katie Goering, daughter of Wilson’s Orchard owner Paul Rasch.

Executive chef Matt Steigerwald joined the Rapid Creek Cidery team, telling the Press-Citizen the same year how he sought to use locally produced products.

Through this merge, Steigerwald will transition into culinary director, overseeing all food operations for Wilson’s Ciderhouse, bakery, smokehouse, catering and Sutliff Farm Ciderhouse.

Guests can expect expanded hours with Saturday brunch, a continued focus on using local ingredients and further development on “take-home options, online ordering and local delivery service.”

“We plan to make enjoying high-quality, local food even more convenient and accessible, whether that is ordering delivery from our website, or sharing a scenic dining experience overlooking our farm, by joining forces with the team at Wilson’s Orchard Farm,” Rapid Creek Cidery's Katie Goering said in the release.

Wilson’s Ciderhouse Venue is located at 4823 Dingleberry Road NE. It’s open Wednesday through Friday from 5-9 p.m.; Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5- 9 p.m.; and Sunday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Paris Barraza covers entertainment, lifestyle and arts at the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Reach her at PBarraza@press-citizen.com or (319) 519-9731. Follow her on Twitter @ParisBarraza.

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Source: https://www.press-citizen.com/story/money/business/2022/03/21/bluebird-cafe-solon-new-businesses-johnson-county-things-to-do-where-to-eat-iowa-city/6945964001/