The idea for new Cedar Rapids eatery Rock Top came to co-owner Dave Carey when he saw a rooftop bar in Minneapolis and thought the concept should come to Cedar Rapids.
His restaurant opened Sept. 9 in a new construction building at the very busy intersection of Blairs Ferry Road and Rockwell Drive NE.
The other co-owners are Nate Bigley, Ryan Evans and Carrie Kraklio, who is also the general manager.
Chef Daniel Lacayo designed dishes such as the Iowa burger, topped with Dijon aioli, arugula, fried shallots, bacon and cheddar, or a roasted brussels sprouts dish with shallots, lemon, bacon and brown butter.
Kraklio said she has been surprised how popular the brussels sprouts have been.
“We have bought this town out of Brussels,” she said.
The menu mixes upscale and classic pub food — oysters and a charcuterie tray with meats made in-house share space with Korean barbecue wings and mac ‘n cheese, which comes with an option to add lobster. Diners can choose from sandwiches and salads or small, medium or large plate dishes.
“Our goal is not to be a special occasion place,” Kraklio said. “We want to be the place people come back to throughout the week.”
Carey’s wife Amy did much of the interior design, painting a silver city scape on the first floor and a Tree of Five Seasons mural on the second floor. Gray tones dominate the space, with slate flagstones on the patio and a marble bar on the first floor. A second bar serves drinks to the second story, where rolling garage-style doors separate an indoor dining space from the outdoor patio.
Carey also owns the Fieldhouse sports bar nearby on Blairs Ferry Road. So close to Rockwell Collins and other businesses, Rock Top fills a niche in the neighborhood. Midafternoon last Thursday, the patio was bustling with people enjoying a drink, food and sports on the two outdoor TVs mounted to the building. More TVs show sports action inside.
With around 160 people on staff, ferrying trays of food up and down the stairs — an elevator provides accessible access to the roof — the eatery is well prepared for the crowds.
Kraklio, who has worked in the restaurant industry for more than 20 years, said she thrives on this atmosphere.
“I live the controlled chaos factor,” she said. “I love what I do.”
WHERE: 951 Blairs Ferry Road, Cedar Rapids
WHEN: Kitchen open 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday to Thursday and 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. Bar open later daily.
DETAILS: (319) 378-0100, facebook.com/rocktopcr