As a Hawkeye fan, I used to be quite hesitant to venture to Ames for any type of function. When I was there, I never really gave the place a chance. I maintained that Iowa City was a much better college town, and I do still believe that but after having experienced some of their latest offerings, Ames has closed the gap some. While it has a lot of chains that you can find in most cities in Iowa, it has unveiled some attractive local establishments if you are looking to escape the monotony of a Chili’s or a Buffalo Wild Wings.
The Café is located on the NW part of Ames in a fairly refreshing, newer section of town. As soon as you walk in you are greeted by a friendly, youthful, and exuberant staff. The inside features a trendy and obscure décor, by Ames standards that is. The restaurant is divided into a few sections and we were seated in a booth in the back bar area separate from the main dining area. Although there were many other patrons in the same area, it gives off a nice private and secluded feel which is a nice change of pace from the big open sports bar setup.
Seeing as I had already downed some glasses of wine and the nearby Prairie Moon Winery, I was looking to take it easy on the drinks. They did have some cocktails that look appealing and their beer selection was adequate featuring brews from Bells, Peace Tree, and Big Sky Brewing Company. Their menu is constantly changing so the meal I had is no longer on the menu. But if you take a look at it you’ll notice a good selection of unconventional dishes as well as some safe picks if you’re not feeling adventurous. Whatever you pick, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. The quality of food is clearly the main focus here. The fish tacos are rumored to be very tasty.
Dessert is also something for the Café to boast about. Their regular menu isn’t all that expansive but what they do have, they do very well. There are several selections for dessert and they put a unique touch on all of those as well. I could not find their dessert menu online so I can’t make any suggestions but once again you have my word that whatever you get will be enjoyable.
If I lived in Ames, I would make a habit of eating at this fairly little known gem. If you find yourself up that way, I highly suggest breaking away from all the mainstream restaurants on Lincolnway and going a little ways north to try out the Café.