Best Brunch Spots in Iowa City

I have never met a person who doesn’t love brunch. I am a firm believer that if anyone out there doesn’t enjoy brunch, they must simply be brunching wrong. Imagine rolling out of bed at noon on a Sunday, brushing your teeth, hopping in the shower. You could UberEats some Mickey D’s and embrace the ~Sunday Scaries~, or you could toss on a cute little outfit and your biggest pair of sunglasses to grab some grub with your girl gang. You can brunch with your best friends, your S.O., your grandma—anyone. Everyone loves brunch. So, if you’re looking for a nice spot to eat the best meal of the day next weekend, check out this list of the best brunch spots in Iowa City.

1. The Dandy Lion

I’ve been around the block a few times when it comes to breakfast spots in Iowa City, and I have to give my number one spot to The Dandy Lion. First of all, the service is amazing. The restaurant is almost always exploding with customers, but the servers and cooks manage to get people in and out of there so quickly without making you feel rushed. Wait times here are almost always shorter than anywhere else, even though the hype is insane. And, THE FOOD, DUDE. The food is so good. Think classic brunch favorites made with the best ingredients and the seasoning of a champion. Plus, they have tons of local, vegetarian, and vegan options. Have you ever had biscuits and gravy with TOMATO GRAVY?! It is a vegetarian’s dream. My only complaint about The Dandy Lion is that the drink menu is a bit out of my college girl budget, so I usually bring my mom and dad along to cover the bill.

2. Hamburg Inn No. 2

Hamburg is an Iowa City staple. When I was a freshman asking around for places to eat, this was always the suggestion I would hear. Famous people from around the world have visited Hamburg, so they must be doing something right. This restaurant is tiny, so the wait can be pretty long on Saturdays and Sundays, but it is well worth it. The interior and decor are so original that there isn’t really anything I can compare it to. The food is classic brunch eats. I literally always have heaps of leftovers because the portions are huge. Plus, the pie is a game changer. They always have a changing variety of slices available, and you have to try a pie shake at least once during your time in IC!

3. El Banditos

So I didn’t even know that Banditos had a brunch prior to my research for this article. Obviously, I decided to check it out immediately once I found out. I went there this Sunday and was most pleasantly surprised. First of all, I love Mexican breakfast foods. Huevos rancheros may just be the key to my heart. Not only that, but I was surprised to see that almost everything on the menu was under $10. To top it all off, Banditos has a $12 bottomless mimosa deal on Saturdays and Sundays. You could buy a singular mimosa for $7, or drink your entire day away for just $5 more. This was quite possibly one of the best discoveries I’ve ever made, and you can catch me here every weekend until I graduate.

4. Goosetown Cafe

Goosetown Cafe is another cute little restaurant making a name for itself in Iowa City. They’re located within walking distance from campus, but they don’t draw nearly as big of crowds as the restaurants mentioned above, so expect shorter wait times! They serve brunch every day of the week except Tuesday, making it easy to get your breakfast fix whenever you need it. The menu is awesome—think a perfect mix of classic breakfast options mixed with crazy, fancy sounding items that I would have never thought of myself. I would highly recommend the House-made Pop Tart and the Mushroom Ragout Scramble.

5. Estela's Fresh Mex

Last but not least, Estela's deserves an honorable mention on this list. Estela's is basically like Pancheros or Chipotle-- a counter service, build your own burrito restaurant. However, they have a list of breakfast burritos available all day. One of these burritos literally has pancakes in it, and you haven't truly lived until you've tried it. If you're looking for something quicker than a sit down restaurant but hardy and delicious, Estela's is the brunch move.

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