Courtyard Cafe kicks off with food, art, live music

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Diners at the Courtyard Cafe at Guttenberg Gallery & Creativity Center enjoy locally roasted Big Muddy Coffee, pastries by Margo Friedlein, signature sandwiches and other treats served indoors or in the courtyard. (Press photo by Molly Moser)

By Molly Moser

After many months of organizational planning, preparing a commercial kitchen for inspection in a historic limestone building, and pinpointing youth who are passionate about the project, Guttenberg Gallery & Creativity Center’s Courtyard Cafe is ready to serve you your morning beverage.

“The Courtyard Cafe is 100 percent student-driven, with adult mentoring. The students are not just working here. They are responsible for menu creation, pricing, organizational polices, kitchen management, bookkeeping, marketing, and hiring and training new student employees," said Director Cindy Olsen. “Our team of budding culinary artists are working hard to learn the skills that will serve them throughout their careers - customer service, responsibility, cash handling, and more!”

The café features an exclusive blend from local roaster Big Muddy Coffee that pairs perfectly with scones, muffins and biscotti baked by Margo Friedlein, a local farmers market favorite. Lattes – both iced and hot – and other espresso beverages round out the drink menu, which also includes smoothies made from real fruit and a classic orange Julius. 

The Courtyard Cafe will be open Monday and Wednesday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., serving signature sandwiches and treats as well as drinks. A grilled cheese trio of cheddar, Swiss and smoked mozzarella cheeses; a roast beef sandwich with dill Havarti, red onion and horseradish aioli; and delicious crustless sandwiches including egg and tuna salad make up the lunch menu. All sandwiches are served with gourmet chips and crudités. A breakfast skillet scramble with fruit and muffin will be served till 11 a.m. daily, or while supplies last. Shakes, malts, and affogato – ice cream topped with a shot of espresso – complement pastries from Delights by Margo. 

Menu design for the new café was donated by Guttenberg’s own Colorful Perspectives, courtesy of designer Stephanie Svoboda.  

The Courtyard Café will hold its grand opening on Sunday, July 15, in conjunction with the first Art + Music summer series hosted by Guttenberg Gallery & Creativity Center. From 1-3 p.m., Carpe Diem will play tunes you’ve heard and tunes you haven’t from Cat Stevens, The Beatles, and other favorites – including original songs by the Guttenberg musician himself. 

The event also highlights the work of Sherrill artist Jenna Lueck, who is premiering an eight-painting series of large-scale northeast Iowa landscapes at Guttenberg Gallery & Creativity Center during the month of July. Lueck grew up on a dairy farm in the hills of northeast Iowa and has always appreciated the beauty of the area. “My first full series is an ‘Eastern Iowa’ series – the farms, landscapes, and the fog on the river that I always loved seeing as I rode the bus to school,” says the artist. Lueck will be present and celebrated during the July 15 event. 

“Get out of the heat this summer and cool off with a fresh fruit smoothie, orange julius, or iced latte at the Courtyard Cafe! You can dine inside or out in our colorful courtyard - or call ahead to order sandwich plates for your group,” said Olsen. “And mark your calendars for our July 15 celebration!”

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