When devastation strikes, it’s difficult to imagine good coming from it, but that’s what happened in the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, New Bohemia neighborhood, referred to as NewBo, following the great Cedar River flood of 2008. Most buildings in the already declining New Bohemia neighborhood filled eight feet or more with floodwaters. Sadly, some historic buildings were torn down rather than repaired. However, with federal and state funds, as well as insurance money, a building resurgence occurred. Today NewBo is booming with new shops, restaurants, and pubs.
I had the pleasure of visiting a couple of NewBo businesses during a recent trip to Cedar Rapids. My first experience was breakfast at Brewhemia, where I had an amazing sweet quiche. I’m always torn between ordering a savory or sweet breakfast. The quiche, with candied pears, bacon, raisins and walnuts, served with maple syrup, was a perfect blend of savory and sweet.
Brewhemia co-owner Brad Daniels chatted with our travel group about the business. Brad, along with his brother, sister and brother-in-law purchased an existing coffee shop. They changed the name and a few other things as well. But some things they kept, including one of only two fully manual espresso machines in Iowa. According to Brad, it takes quite a bit of training to learn how to use the machine, and each barista makes the coffee just a little differently. He added that they encourage “latte art.”
A love of art runs in the Daniels family. Both Brad and his brother have art degrees, and his sister is a photographer. Art that hangs throughout Brewhemia is rearranged regularly to offer a fresh look. They also “put little weird things here and there,” like a small rabbit that they move around just for fun.
Brewhemia, located at 1101 3rd Street SE in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, serves breakfast and lunch. They are also open in the evening for beer, wine and appetizers. Check the web site for hours and menu.
NewBo City Market
Directly across the street from Brewhemia is NewBo City Market, which was perhaps the catalyst for the area’s revitalization. Jennifer Pickar, Director of Communications & Marketing for Go Cedar Rapids, related the story of how it came to be. Two women were drinking wine one night and thought, why can’t Cedar Rapids have a public market? They got their plans together, got funding through a Vision Iowa grant, and with a lot of hard work, made it happen.
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The NewBo Market is home to over two dozen businesses. Most of the businesses are food related, but there are some non-food vendors, as well. The Artisan’s Emporium, sells handmade products, including children’s clothing, scarves, jewelry and home décor items.
Although the Czech Deli and Bakery, Maggie’s Farm Pizza and many other NewBo City Market vendors offer great options for lunch, I gravitated to That One Cupcake Place, where I couldn’t resist picking up some cupcakes and Corn Fusion, for cheddar popcorn to take home with me. Corn Fusion is NewBo City Market’s second popcorn shop. Great American Popcorn Company did so well in the market that they opened a standalone shop across the street.
Besides a place to shop and dine, the NewBo City Market has become a gathering place for community events. Jennifer mentioned that many non-profit 5K walks begin at the market, and the NewBo Arts Festival is held at the market every Labor Day. Another popular event is Meet me at the Market, held every Thursday evening from May through September, rain or shine. Folks gather at the market and join groups for walks, bike rides or other activities, like yoga or jazzercise. Jennifer said there may be a hundred people doing yoga on the front lawn on a Thursday night.
The NewBo City Market is located at 1100 3rd Street SE in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Check the web site for hours.
For a complete business directory of NewBo and its neighboring Czech Village areas, visit the Czech Village/New Bohemia Main Street District web site.
Accommodations: We stayed at the Hotel at Kirkwood Center during our visit to Cedar Rapids. Find the best deal, compare prices, and read what other travelers have to say at TripAdvisor
Disclosures: My visit to Cedar Rapids was hosted by the Iowa Tourism Office,. However, any opinions expressed in this article are my own.
This article contains an affiliate link. If you book a room through this link, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.
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