I’m sure I’m not the only one who wishes that there were places we love that AREN’T in the cities we live in. Here are some I REALLY wish would consider setting up business in the area:


With over 800 stores in nearly 30 states, why… WHY there are no Checker’s anywhere near here, I’ll never know! I grew up in the Quad Cities so I’m very familiar with this franchise. In fact, whenever I’m back there for a visit with friends and family, I make it a point to stop and get some food. It’s inexpensive and tasty. Because of that, Checker’s is a perfect fit for the Cedar Valley. In a college town like Cedar Falls, it would do well with the college crowd, and let’s face it, anywhere on University Avenue would be a great location to put one of its stores with its double drive-thru’s. WHO’S WITH ME?

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Happy Joe’s Pizza and Ice Cream Parlor

I grew up around these EVERYWHERE in the Quad Cities. There was a small one in my hometown of DeWitt and it was one of the first franchises, I believe. I remember the birthday parties with the staff singing “Happy Birthday” and adding the jalopy horn between verses and the loud siren at the end. I remember when they introduced the Taco Pizza (that pizza originated at Happy Joe’s, by the way), and then we were one of the first families in town that was asked to try the new BLT pizza. I instantly fell in love with that one and still order it if I’m in Cedar Rapids, or back for a visit to the Quad Cities.

White Castle

That’s right! I don’t think I need to explain why there is no reason to not have one closer than a suburb of Chicago!

Apple Store

I’m not an iGuy or iAnything for that matter. I’m an Android user. But the rest of my family are all iPeople. Because of that, having a REAL Apple Store closer than West Des Moines would benefit all of you iUsers.


31 flavors are nowhere near here! Northwest Des Moines residents are the lucky jerks who get to partake in any one of those delicious flavors! Don’t get me wrong, there are many great ice cream spots in the Cedar Valley. Cold Stone, 4-Queens, Skoopskis, 2 Sccops, etc. But, the original ice cream shop, Baskin-Robbins can find its place among the rest quite nicely, I’m sure.

Popeye’s Louisiana Kitchen

It’s about convenience, for me. I live in Cedar Falls and the only Popeye’s is in Waterloo. Sure, we can drive 10 minutes around town and eat in the restaurant, but to order and drive back another 10 minutes to eat at home OR order for delivery is just asking for luke-warm, soggy chicken and fries. Speaking of proximity...


There are 2 – TWO Hardee’s in Waterloo, and ZERO in Cedar Falls! What’s up with that? I love Hardee’s more than many of the other fast-food burger joints and have to drive across the Cedar Valley to enjoy a Monster Burger (YUM!) or one of those killer Big Hot Ham & Swiss sandwiches. I HAVE done just that, and then stopped at a nearby parking lot to eat it in my car so my food was hot and fresh. Yes, I’m aware that’s kind of sad but THAT’S PRECISELY WHY Cedar Falls could use one!


I’m not exactly sure about a specific fresh sushi place by name… I’m from the Midwest. I’ve had some great sushi. I’ve had some not-so-great sushi. As I stated, I’m from the Midwest. Sakura and Tokyo Bay have some pretty good sushi, but as I’ve heard from others on the coasts, it’s not the same. I guess what I mean is, the Cedar Valley needs some better sushi places from which to choose.

Joe’s Crab Shack

Since I’m on the subject of formerly swimming food, let’s discuss why there’s no crab boils near me. There’s no reason I can think of as to why that is…. Des Moines has a Joe’s and that's it for Iowa. For shame…. Sushi is awesome but some boiled crab, or steamed oysters, or fried shrimp, or baked salmon or… Sorry, what was I talking about again?

Vivian’s Soul Food

Cedar Rapids is a lucky, lucky city… It’s the only place Vivian’s is located. I grew up on, what I found out as an adult was called soul food. Food that is cooked with love, care, and good for the soul. Fried chicken, cornbread, collard greens, ribs, pot roast, homemade mac, and cheese…. So much more can be labeled as soul food. Half my family is southern so on Sunday, we always had lunch at my papa and gramma’s house. All of that stuff was what I loved and brings back such warm memories. But most of all, it was REALLY GOOD food!

Have you ever thought about the places you would like to see in your city? Restaurants, taverns, breweries…. Maybe you are looking to be your own boss? An entrepreneur with your local community in mind? Maybe there are some ideas for you here!

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