From the mural and riverside seating on the outside to the coffee and gourmet dishes on the inside, you won't believe you're in eastern Iowa when you visit Guttenberg's newest restaurant. A place for sharing food, drink, and conversation recently opened in Guttenberg. Kaffee 1858 and Public House is located in a historic limestone building at 7 Schiller Street. Owner Sara Pattison subscribes to a motto quoted from Vincent Van Gogh: “In my painting of the Night Café, I’ve tried to express the idea that the café is a place where you can ruin yourself, go mad, commit crimes.”
Pattison and business partner Becky Hefel attended a Van Gogh exhibit in Chicago, where Hefel noticed the quote. "What struck me about it was the fact that whenever I travel I find a local coffee house with a quirky atmosphere conducive to eclectic thinking, food, and fun," Hefel told The Press. "We want to have that place we look for when we travel here in Guttenberg."
Kaffee 1858 and Public House offers more than dining experiences. At the bar, craft beers and wines will be featured. Several will be local, and unique drinks will include bloody beers (jalepeno ale with Bloody Mary mix and traditional accompaniments), sangria, and wine cocktails. Mornings are made better than ever with unique, fresh smoothies and freshly roasted Kickapoo Coffee beans from Viroqua, Wisconsin. Kickapoo trades directly with small-scale, sustainable producers and roasts beans twice weekly, hand-delivering them to Kaffee 1858 the next day. Carbonated sodas made to order and snack cereals are a fun addition for children and children-at-heart.
The restaurant also subscribes to weekly newspapers from Oregon, Maine, and New Orleans to help spark interesting conversation. These ideas inspired the restaurant’s name. “A public house was a gathering place for people to meet and talk about the times and share their views,” Pattison explained. “That then turned into ‘pub.’” The first part of the name, Kaffee (pronounced calf-ee) is in homage to the city’s German heritage. The building at 7 Schiller Street was built in 1858.
The restaurant utilizes local goods from River’s Edge Bakery in Guttenberg and maple syrup from Great River Maple in Garnavillo. “We want to feature as many local things as possible,” said Pattison. “We’re going to have things that are health-friendly – people have so many restrictions and are trying to eat healthier.” French fries are the only fried item on the menu.
Pattison has been hosting private parties in her home since she graduated from Kirkwood College with an Associate’s degree in culinary arts. She specializes in savory dishes. Inspired by a trip to Cuba this spring, Pattison says her favorite item on Kaffee 1858’s menu is the Cuban sandwich. Ham, pulled pork, swiss cheese, mustard and pickles are pressed and toasted, served hot on Cuban bread.
On the sweet side is Saralyn Smith, who moved to Guttenberg this May after leaving her position at the University of Iowa to join her classmate Pattison in the new venture. Smith has worked at the Hotel at Kirkwood Center where she served as a pastry chef and adjunct professor, then as the University of Iowa pastry chef where she oversaw two bakeries, breakfast pastries, dorm bakeries, and bakery items for food service and retail locations, as well as catering to University presidents. Smith will be working in the kitchen, serving up meals as well as desserts like flourless chocolate cake, double chocolate chip cookies, and fresh baked coffee cakes.
“We really want people to think of it as a gathering place, especially when winters get long, to go and strike up conversations with others,” said Hefel. For more information, visit Kaffee 1858 online.
Photo by Molly Moser