North side staple celebrates 15 years


Whether they are stopping by for drinks after work or taking a seat for Sunday brunch, Motley Cow owner and chef David Wieseneck said he loves to see his “regulars.”

“As we’re cooking, we have at any given hour probably five names we’re addressing as they’re passing by,” he said. “Saying hello and chatting about the neighborhood, and the weather, and what’s good for dinner that night.”

The North Side staple, 160 N. Linn St., has been celebrating its 15th anniversary since the start of July.

All month long, the café had a special anniversary menu, the Prix Fixe menu, which included a kale salad, roasted walleye, and honey almond panna cotta.

In addition, this past weekend, the restaurant held an open party for patrons to stop and eat some food, buy a drink, and to even dance to the blues of Iowa musician Dustin Busch.

“There was two-step line dancing,” Wieseneck said. “It was an open dance party and lots of good drinks and food. It was a great time.”

Wieseneck said he started working at the restaurant six months after Tom Lally opened the establishment in July 1999.

At that time, Wieseneck said, the establishment, which was then located on Market Street, was a mostly coffee and sandwich shop that also served wine and beer.

“It was a simple, convivial place to come and hang out,” he said.

Lally and Wieseneck began to develop a menu together that focused more on using local foods and seasonal products.

As the menu became more dinner-heavy, Wieseneck said, the establishment became more nighttime-focused.

Three years after it opened, Wieseneck bought the restaurant from Lally.

In February 2008, the location was moved not too far away to North Linn Street.

“We’ve always been pretty focused on local community members, families within walking distance, or people coming in from farther away to get a unique meal that they couldn’t find somewhere else,” Wieseneck said. “We see a lot of faces weekly, people at the end of their day come in for a drink, maybe they have dinner, maybe they stop for a snack, so it’s not uncommon at all for people to be here several times a week."

Since it moved to the North Linn location, the restaurant has attracted a number of regulars.

Interior designer Joan Lorge, said she began going to Motley Cow because one of her friends designed the new restaurant, and she has admired  the establishment’s use of locally sourced food.

“It’s always welcome here,” Lorge said. “I also liked the way they did the space, especially with recycled material.”

Julie Queve, a longtime customer at Motley Cow, said she has really enjoyed the relaxing atmosphere the restaurant provides.

“It’s just good food,” Queve said. “Good food, good atmosphere, and great prices. I’ll keep coming back.”

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