Thursday, December 1, 2011

Bluebird Diner in Iowa City

While cruising through restaurant websites looking for places to try, this diner in Iowa City reminded me of a place I had visited earlier in Waterloo. Bluebird Diner has a mission to serve homemade comfort food made with fresh and locally sourced ingredients whenever possible. Between this place and Newton's Paradise Cafe in Waterloo, Eastern Iowa seems to have a couple of better, new, retro self-styled "diners" than any of the new diners I have found in Central Iowa.

Location: 330 East Market Street in Iowa City, Eastern Iowa.

Directions: Its across the street from Johns Grocery on the north side of downtown Iowa City.

Online at: their website is HERE.

The Tenderloin: In the dim light that made my photos turn out bad, the sandwich had a medium size and shape that was between a mitten and the triangular loin cut. The white meat was cut with the grain and didn't feel like it had been tenderized. There was a good cracker crunch and just a little seasoning in the breading. The whole thing just wasn't tender enough. Served with all the fixings on a soft toasted bun. Overall 7.1 out of ten.

Price: $8.75 with a side, also available grilled or blackened. They gave me a mountain of lightly seasoned fries with my sandwich.

Also on the menu: Comfort food including a full breakfast menu with burgers, sandwiches and daily specials for dinner.

I sat right in front of the Cinnamon Rolls, and figured they were worth taking a picture:
Service: It looked like two student waitresses and a cook when I visited during the off-hours. The receipt included cute phrases like "It was our tweet to serve you" and "have a pheasant day!"

Ambiance: I think this building was a paint store when I went to school in Iowa City long time ago. The exterior was designed to resemble Edward Hopper's 1942 painting Nighthawks, my camera couldn't really capture the dark light after the sun went down. The diner in Nighthawks has no door, but the Bluebird has a door with a curtain inside.

Final Thoughts: I would come back to this place to try the breakfast items that sound good like the Biscuits & Gravy or the Egg Omelet choices. I haven't spent enough time trying tenderloins in Iowa City since I last wrote up Midtown Family Restaurant a couple years ago. My list of places to check includes Hamburg Inn No.2, Shakespeare's Pub, and a long list of small town cafe's in the area. Bluebird Diner on Urbanspoon


  1. Please, please, come try the tenderloin at the John's Grocery Deli. While you are at it, please drop by the wine room and say hello to Wally and his assistants. They can never shut up about the awesomeness of your efforts.

  2. I didn't realize they had one at John's Grocery, I will stop in sometime.

  3. We would have given you a glass of wine if you had come across the street to the wine room at John's Grocery. You're our hero!

  4. The diner's home made sausage contains green chiles. It is wonderful.