By Pat Shaver
CEDAR RAPIDS – A father-and-son team is opening a new restaurant in the New Bohemia neighborhood in Cedar Rapids.
Anthony Bata and Nick Bata, owners of Bata’s Restaurant, renovated the interior of a historic and flood-damaged Cedar Rapids building at 1006 Third St. SE, Cedar Rapids, in the New Bohemia neighborhood.
The New Bohemia neighborhood is centered on Third Street SE and adjacent to the Cedar River and links the Downtown District with the Czech Village. The area is recognized as the Bohemian Commercial Historic District by the National Register of Historic Places.
Many of the key businesses and homes were flooded in 2008. The neighborhood has continued to rebuild, with returning businesses like CSPS and new projects like the NewBo City Market.
“The concept is definitely a casual setting for a restaurant, with the menu being a combination of Midwestern dishes, with an accent of international dishes,” Tony Bata said.
Menu items include brick oven pizzas, tacos, burgers, soups and salads. The restaurant will also feature evening dinner specials. In a few months, they will begin a catering side of the business, Mr. Bata added. They will also offer vegetarian dishes, vegan options and gluten free items on the menu.
“My son Nick and I will be running it. We certainly have other local investors that are part of the restaurant. But we’ll do the primary management of the restaurant and running the kitchen,” he said.
Mr. Bata, who works full-time at Coe College, will continue working in his position there. Nick will manage the restaurant on a more full-time basis.
Locating in the NewBo neighborhood was an ideal place for the business, he said.
“We’ve been looking at locations and toying with the idea for a number of years,” Mr. Bata said. “We looked all over town.”
“After the flood when they were revitalizing (the area) and CSPS was rebuilding and they were talking about the city market, we were really drawn to that area,” he said. “The place was shaking with good vibes.”
The Thorland Co., a commercial real estate development and property management company that does creative rehabilitation of historic structures, renovated the exterior of the building before allowing the Batas to work on the inside.
“The building was completely gutted, there was 11 feet of water in the building,” Mr. Bata said.
Paperwork to establish the restaurant started in Oct. 2010. They began work on the business last September.
Materials from homes that were torn down near Brucemore inCedar Rapidswere repurposed and used on the building, he added.
“You never know with historical restoration. When you’re tearing things out there are some construction issues that came up that needed to be resolved. That really took some time,” he said. “But in my mind it was worth all of that.”
The neighborhood is continuing to comeback from the flood. New Bo Books recently opened, and Brewed Awakenings also opened both on the first floor of CSPS.
“We want to fit into the neighborhood and succeed in a business that is very difficult to do inCedar Rapids,” Mr. Bata said. “Family owned local restaurants in Cedar Rapids are a tough sell. It’s not because we don’t have diversity of sophistication. I’m not sure what it actually is.”
“We’re really focused on making sure that we deliver a product and service that the Cedar Rapidians will welcome,” he said.
The NewBo Market is progressing and expected to open this fall. Other projects are happening there, for example, Mr. Bata said there is the possibility for a micro-brewery to open in the neighborhood.