When Matt Nading and Jill and Michael Jurisic bought the Czech Village bar that had housed the Red Frog since the 1980s, they wanted to make it their own while staying true to the customers who loved it.
“I call them the old Froggers,” Jill Jurisic said. “We wanted to respect them, because this was their home for so many years.”
They’ve made accommodations for some, including one man who always came to the Red Frog and had his beer from a specially shaped glass. They didn’t own any of those glasses, so they tracked one down and bought it just for him.
The bar had been Al’s Red Frog from 1981 until 2008, when Allen Zindrick sold it after that year’s flood. The most recent owner was local restaurateur Kory Nanke, who kept the Red Frog name.
Before they opened Feb. 26. Jurisic and Nading did some minor remodeling inside, including new paint and a new bar top. But they kept many of the frog statues and figurines familiar from the old Red Frog, a tribute overlooking the door and the patrons.
One one wall, they also kept a mural from 1933. Legend has it the scene of dancing revelers, signed “Miller Diller,” was painted by the artist to pay his bar tab.
Frog Pub & Eatery also serves food, with the kitchen open until 1:30 a.m. daily. The menu features pizzas, burgers, sandwiches and more. If an item has the word “original” next to it, it is a dish that was part of the old Red Frog menu.
The most popular item, however, is a new one — chicken and waffle sliders.
“I used to go down south and would stop at Waffle House, and I wanted to bring that here,” Jurisic said.
Nading, who also works in real estate, handles more of the business and books side of the operation while Jurisic manages the front of house and kitchen. She said they have a good working balance.
“He’s more the nervous one, and I’m more the free spirit,” she said. “I like the social aspect of this job. It feels like I’m out and about.”
The old Red Frog didn’t reopen after the 2016 flood, and Jurisic and Nading saw an opportunity to pursue their dream of owning their own bar. It’s something they had talked about when she used to manage Stadium Bar & Grill, where he was her customer.
“It was perfect timing, the way things happened. This is, to me, a legendary location in Cedar Rapids,” Nading said.
l Comments: (319) 398-8434; firstname.lastname@example.org
WHERE: 88 16th Ave. SW, Cedar Rapids
WHEN: 10 a.m. to 2 a.m. daily
DETAILS: (319) 200-4004, facebook.com/frogpub88