The NewBo City Market in downtown Cedar Rapids has been open since October 27th, but travel made it impossible for me to make a visit until this weekend. On the spur of the moment, my wife and I decided to head downtown and see what was what.
The first surprise was the crowd. It was a little after 8:30 and people were streaming in. We had no trouble finding parking near the building, but by the time we would leave in a half hour or so there was no parking to be seen nearby. Granted, the market is still new and, therefore, there is a novelty attached to it. However, I would counsel anyone who thinks this is a flash in the pan to remember the success of the Downtown Farmers Market in the summer when thousands of people descend on downtown for much that same reason. There seems to be a demand for this exact type of retail venue.
First off, I did not even try to get a coffee from Roasters. Why? The line was at least ten people deep and Amanda behind the counter was working like a mad woman. No need to pile one.
My wife, smelling the aroma of griddled bacon, was drawn to La Reyna for a breakfast burrito. Normally, she would not eat eggs, bacon, potatoes, and cheese together. Wrap those same ingredients in a tortilla shell at a farmers market and she will suffer even the longest of lines.
I picked up a loaf of bread from Betty & Bobo’s Better Breads. I would like to display a picture but I turned the delectable baked good into simple toasted grilled cheeses with aged provolone. Yummy!
My favorite find of the morning was this sun dried tomato fettuccine from Pappardelle’s Pasta:
It should make a wonderful weeknight pasta dish. The stall from Pappardelle’s had about a dozen different pastas that I wanted to try, but a man has to restrain himself now and again. Next time.
And turnips. My father loves turnips. Go to the grocery store and most of the turnips are wax covered and small. It’s like peeling a golf ball. One of the temporary vendors had a crate full of monstrous turnips:
I did not even pick out the biggest ones.
In general I would rate the NewBo City Market a success. My other indicator that this opening is going well? There was so much wireless traffic from the iPads with Square payment fobs that vendors had a difficult time completing credit card transactions. Straight cash homey!
Another anecdotal measure of the market’s success is the number of items that I can think of right now that I would like to try to purchase on my next visit: pasta from Pappardelle’s, bread from Betty & Bobo’s Better Breads, a growler from NewBo Beer & Wine, a sandwich from Greyhound Deli, and so on. Keep ‘em coming back for more!