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Are you fed up with Frappaciono—exasperated with espresso or lousy with latte? Has Starbucks saturation made you crazy for anything but a cappuccino? Or maybe the thought of another slurp of double vendi non-fat nonsense makes you malignant to the point of mocha malice, then take heart—and take yourself to the Iowa Café which is everything Starbucks is not and one of the few bright spots to hit the downtown dining scene in—well, let's just say in a very long time.

In case you hadn't noticed, or care, which would mean you neither live nor work anywhere near downtown Las Vegas—the eating out scene for breakfast and lunch is pretty pathetic. But thanks to the Kellogg family, another option has appeared near the corner of Charleston and Fourth. Now we're not talking Le Cirque here, but the Iowa Café gives the starving workers of our central city a well-scrubbed and mid-western alternative to that sinister Seattle-based cookie cutter coffee culture. It also gives them a clean, interesting and friendly place to get a decent sandwich. As nice as it is though, I wish they'd grill up a good mid-western burger as well, but I guess you can't have everything—and the owners deserve our applause and patronage just for having the courage to start something in the closest thing to a restaurant de-militarized zone we have in this town.

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But you wanna know the best thing about the Iowa Café??? It's not the cool pictures on the wall or the sandwiches—no, the best thing is that ordering a cup of good, fresh-brewed java here is about as simple as drinking it. Yeah, none of the vendi mocha-macchiato malarkey for these good citizens. No, in Iowa they do things simple and right—take that Starbucks.

Iowa Cafe is located at 300 E. Charleston Blvd., Suite 101, Las Vegas, NV 366-0571.

This is John Curtas.

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