If you’re in Iowa City and you’re looking for a great place to dine, you’ll find many fine establishments from which to choose. If you’d like a spot that’s not in the heart of downtown, I suggest trying Blackstone on the city’s east side. In my ten-plus years spent living in Iowa City, it was a go-to locale for me and my friends to share a meal and have meaningful conversation or to grab a quick work-day lunch with convenient parking right out front.
While Blackstone has a hip vibe, it also maintains a casual, welcoming ambiance in the wood and stone finishes that make it a place in which you want to linger rather than rush off to the next item on your agenda. The staff is quite friendly and accommodating and special substitutions are not off limits. Plus, in the summer months, there is a lovely outdoor patio open for dining or for drinks and appetizers.
As you begin to peruse the menu, you’ll realize that deciding on just what to have might be more challenging than you think. They have a generous salad menu, including the option to add salmon, chicken, shrimp or beef to your greens. My favorite is the Greek Salad that comes with a tangy Greek feta with the addition of chicken. The half-sized option makes a delectable mainstay for lunch. Their signature Blackstone Salad with such toppings as cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and bacon is also very good and a favorite among a couple of my friends. It comes standard with their Blackstone ranch dressing.
If salad isn’t your preference, they have a wide variety of sandwiches, including a Lamb Gyro. On my last visit, I substituted chicken for the lamb and it was delicious, served in a pita with tzatziki sauce. Or if you’re a little more daring, you might try the Southern Fried Chicken, made from a buttermilk-cayenne buttermilk brined chicken thigh. Given my aversion to too much spice, I’ll leave this option for those keen on a little cayenne heat.
These options only scratch the surface of what’s available, as half-pound burgers, chicken sandwiches, black bean burgers, and flatbreads also grace the menu. It’s also a nice place to gather with friends to watch that Sunday football game or perhaps a little Hawkeye action on Saturdays. They have a full bar area with televisions always tuned to the best sports. Their Liquid Libations menu will give you plenty of choices for refreshment as you share an order of Blackstone Angus Sliders.
If you haven’t tried Blackstone, I encourage you to think of it the next time you’re looking for some great food or beverage in Iowa City. Or you can even conveniently order online. I think you’ll be glad you did.
Photo credit to Blackstone