Iowa City Stories

What You Have Been Waiting For...VALENTINES DAY!

Written by Audrey Dwyer

Downtown Iowa City

It is that time of year again—pink hearts, red candies, and love letters seem to fill every store isle no matter where you shop.

A little low on cash? In a rut of what to do for that special someone close to your heart? I’m here to help solve those Valentines Day woes Iowa City.

If you’re the more traditional ladies man or woman, take that special someone out for some top notch cuisine. Iowa City’s local restaurants have so many specials your head may be reeling with ideas.

Atlas, like the name, fulfills food options from all over the world. Known most notably for the burritos, wraps, appetizers, and drinks. This is a go to restaurant if your just wanting to having a few appetizers and drinks or to split a main meal before those big Valentines Day plans. Not the cheapest restaurant in town, but come on, it is a special day to splurge a little.

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Culture of Iowa City

Written by Audrey Dwyer

The variety of shows and productions include live music, comedy, dance, plays, lectures, film screening, civic events, public and awards ceremonies, anniversary celebrations, and more. Some names that may catch your eye include Janis Ian, Tracy Morgan, and Keller Williams, just to name a few.

First on the list, a theater building withstanding character historically known from when it was first built. The year 1912 was when The Englert Theatre opened and it has continued to thrive hosting a mix of unique talent.

A timeless venue for an audience of 725 seats has stood for years as the heart of the community. Nationally known, this particular provides live events more than 225 nights annually. If you want to check out one of Iowa City’s proud historic buildings or to see a great show, The Englert Theatre is the place to go.  

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Popular Bars in Iowa City

Written by Audrey Dwyer

Girls getting sassy and guys looking spiffy, the week is over and it’s Friday night. Time to head to the bars!

If you are left wondering which bars everyone goes to these days, well search no further.

First off, for the younger crowd, head to Brothers Bar & Grill (“Brothers” for short) by around 8 p.m. or 9 p.m. to get the most out of your night, those are the times most people starting showing up. Be sure to check out the drink specials, during FAC on there are usually long islands set at one dollar each. However, if crowded bars are not your forte, this may not be the bar for you. Brother’s can get really crowded as the night goes on. But, the environment is lively and full of expectations. The dance floor is a great place to ‘let your hair down’ and have a good time.

For those older ‘bar goers’, DCs is your best choice. Not only can you have an environment for some serious mingling but also, for sports fanatics, this is your venue. Surrounded by flat screen TVs on the upstairs and lower level there are bars on both so you can enjoy a drink and cheer on your favorite team. The popular drinks to get are the $4 dollar steins of beer on tap. The nightly specials are also set a good price and are sufficiently strong.

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Coffeehouses in Iowa City

Written by Audrey Dwyer

“Double-Venti-Carmel-Macchiato-to-go, at the counter!” Proclaimed a hard-working barista as a customer eagerly awaits her morning cup of coffee.

 With the cold weather and start of a new semester, students look to find a place to warm up, enjoy some good conversation with friends, or just a quiet place to study.

Local coffeehouses are common around this small town, a mecca of character and artistic insight. Some popular locations many locals would agree are ‘crème-de-la-crème,’ include Java House, T-Spoons, Capanna, Starbucks, and Molly’s Cupcakes. Each has distinguishing characteristics to sets it apart from an ordinary coffeehouse or café. 

With a character quite unlike any other, this restaurant, placed in a historic building, Java House, creates an inviting ambiance for one to sit by the window and enjoy a freshly baked pastry while reading the paper.

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Local Business: Molly's Cupcakes

Written by Guy Martino

Molly’s Cupcakes—14 South Clinton Street, Iowa City

New York, Chicago, and… Iowa City? These are three places not usually uttered in the same breath. But a recent addition to the heart of Iowa City’s downtown area provides the connection.

Molly’s Cupcakes opened in Iowa City over the summer, bringing its sweet treats from the Big Apple and Windy City, to the mouths of Iowa City residents.

Iowa native Jaime Smith is the reason Molly’s ended up in Iowa City. After graduating from college, Smith moved to Chicago and worked at Molly’s Cupcakes. Last year, she asked John Nicolaides (founder/CEO of Molly’s) if she could open up a store in Iowa City. He said yes, and she made it happen.

The reception of the Iowa City branch has been excellent. Not only do they provide good eats, but Molly’s also adds to the culture of the downtown area by offering an alternative to the usual activities (drinking at bars). Molly’s stays open late on the weekends and often attracts throngs of students who are looking for a place to hang out (and eat delicious cupcakes).

Molly’s is a sweet tooth safe haven for these Iowa City residents. Bakers make cupcakes from scratch every day, and let the customer create their own sugar filled destiny. Try a red velvet cupcake with a cream cheese frosting. And you can’t go wrong with a traditional chocolate cupcake with French buttercream frosting (and if you are into the whole French thing, get the center filled with crème brulee). They have vegan and gluten free options, as well as seasonal specialties such as pumpkin spice and gingerbread flavors. The bottom line is this: if you want something deliciously sweet, they’ve got you covered.

Nicolaides’ inspiration for Molly’s Cupcakes was his third grade teacher (Molly, of course), who often brought scrumptious cupcakes to class.

Molly’s Cupcakes shows its appreciation for the educational community by donating a portion of its profits to community schools.

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