Trumpet Blossom Cafe Owner Looks to Fill Void Left By Red Avocado's Closing

Former Red Avocado partner Katy Meyer is giving it a go with a new vegan restaurant in Iowa City that opened in April.

as the property owner demolished the building it was in to make way for a new apartment building. This decision left fans of the restaurant and other members of the community , but there was nothing that could be done to stop the inevitable.

Afterward, when all the sound and fury in the community had subsided and the building was gone, all that was left was a big void for Iowa City vegans in search of a restaurant to call their own.

Enter Trumpet Blossom Cafe.

Founded by Katy Meyer, one of the three former business partners who ran the , Trumpet Blossom Cafe opened its doors April 18 at 310 E. Prentiss Street to the delight fans of the Red Avocado.

For Meyer, 33, of Iowa City said after working for almost eight years as cook at the vegan restaurant, it seemed like the obvious choice for her to continue on producing fine vegan faire made with fresh, locally grown produce.

"I felt like the Red Avocado filled a niche, so I wanted to continue filling that niche." Meyer said. "It's what I know and I enjoy doing the most so why complicate things for myself?"

Meyer said she had mixed feelings following the end of the Red Avocado. She said while on the one hand, going through the closing was painful process, the amount of support the restaurant received from the community was encouraging, and it has been reflected in the steady support that Trumpet Blossom has received since its opening.

"For me it was a lesson that if you love something you have to take care of it all of the time, you can't just worry about it when it's about to be gone," she said.

After a brief search, Meyer found her new spot in the former location of the Hideway Restaurant on Prentiss Street, right next to . Flowers in the windows have replaced televisions playing sports, a new stage for live music performances has been added and other minor adjustments have been made, but besides that the space remains much the same as it was when it was the Hideway, including the impressive, historic bar area.

Meyer said these updates were meant to make it feel "more like home."

"We knew that we were going to spending a lot of time here so we wanted to make it a place where we felt comfortable in," she said. "Classy without being uptight is how I like to describe it."

This classy without being uptight feel is reflected in the menu as well, which is similar to the old Red Avocado menu but with more "comfort food" added such as handcut fries and pizza added to the salad and other fresh veggie options. (You can view the menu here).

Meyer said her primary goal with the menu was to provide customers multiple dining experiences so they would be encouraged to return and hang out rather than viewing it as a special occassion. She said this could mean enjoying stopping in to partake of some Wake Up Iowa City coffee with some gluten-free rhubarb cake, or eating a sandwich and drink at the bar, or stopping in for a formal sitdown meal.

She said all of these options are tied together with a menu that constantly will change to reflect the produce grown by local farmers that she has developed relationships with over the years. At the peak of the growing season in late summer, she said almost all of her food will come from farms located within a 60 mile radius.

"The food is fun for me because I have built these relationships with these local farms, and I like to develop dishes based on what they have rather than have dishes on the menu that require produce I can't get locally," she said.

The difference for fans of fresh produce is all worth it, she added.

"You're not going to see fresh tomatoes on my menu if they're not from Iowa," she said. "If you have ever had a fresh Iowa tomato and liked it then you don't want to go back to something that has been sitting on a truck for 2,000 miles."

May 19 will be the restaurant's grand opening, featuring live music all afternoon and evening and specials on food and drinks. Current restaurant hours are: Tuesday through Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., with from lunch 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., dinner from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., and "plenty in between" from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m.


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