On a recent Memorial Day weekend trip to North Liberty, I met up with a friend for breakfast at the Bluebird Café, conveniently located on Cherry Street and close to other points of interest. It was quite busy when we arrived, though we were seated immediately. I’ve heard that on Sundays, there can often be an extended wait, so I was glad we decided to stop in fairly early and didn’t decide on a time closer to noon. Since they serve breakfast all day, that would have been an option.
While I know the Bluebird Diner is an icon in Iowa City, I had never been there nor to the Bluebird Café. I was struck immediately by the pleasant interior that boasts a modernized diner feel to it. The blue vinyl booths, fresh off-white walls, and the country-chic décor provided a welcome backdrop. The bar area sets it apart from the diners of nostalgic yesteryear, though I would not be sampling its offerings during such an early a.m. meal.
We had exceptionally friendly service and our meal was served quickly. I had a generously sized pancake, not quite as big as a plate but close! I had it topped with griddled bananas, just one of many options for toppings that included chocolate chips and strawberries as well other choices. I had fresh fruit on the side. The cake was quite delicious, even without the butter that comes standard but that I had opted to have held back. It had that dark, golden color and soft, thick consistency that, with a bit of maple syrup, just sort of melts in your mouth. The fruit cup of cantaloupe, honeydew, and pineapple was also tasty. I chose orange juice as my beverage, though they definitely can hook you up with a great cup of coffee. My friend chose hash browns, scrambled eggs, and ham, which all looked really good and was again plated without reserve in regard to portion size. He was quite happy with his meal.
While I’ve only sampled breakfast here, they certainly boast a full menu of options for lunch and supper as well. From a grilled portabella sandwich christened The Toadstool to a classic cheeseburger, smoked salmon salad, meatloaf, and crab cakes, the variety was quite impressive. A freshly squeezed lemonade or glass of wine might be the perfect accompaniment to any one of those selections.
My first experience at the Bluebird Café was definitely a good one. I plan to return and perhaps try a non-breakfast entrée, though that nearly perfect pancake will be hard to beat.
Image credit: Jenny Kuderer