New kid-friendly coffee shop opening on Melrose in September

Owner of a new coffee shop, Sidekick, Katy Herbold opens up about making her dream a reality and creating a fun environment for kids and families.


Ryan Adams

Ongoing construction to Sidekick Coffee and Books occurs on September 4, 2019 in University Heights. The business is set to open in the fall. (Ryan Adams/The Daily Iowan)

Maddie McCarron, News Reporter


When it comes to building businesses, Katy Herbold said it’s a family affair.

Sidekick Coffee and Books, Herbold’s new coffee shop, will be located in University Heights on Melrose Avenue and open in mid-September. 

Filled with hexagon reading books built into the walls, a stage for open-mic night, and green velvet couches for older children, the vibe is very kid- and family-friendly, a trait which Herbold said she is most excited for. 

“It is very inviting and has lots of features that are kid friendly,” she said. 

As a mother of three children, Herbold said she made sure the parking spaces would be large enough for parents and families to unload their kids and anything else they might need. 

“I think I offer something unique to families, especially downtown on Melrose,” Herbold said. “We have parking right out our back door for families, and I think the place just offers a different element.”

University of Iowa student Annie Lux mentioned she enjoys finding cozy coffee shops to serve as a hangout spot or a nice study space.

“Having a coffee place on Melrose and close to my dorm will be convenient for when I want to work on homework or to go with my friends,” Lux said. 

RELATED: Iowa City staple Java House celebrates 25 years of service

Herbold’s bookstore will carry children’s books, which she said will set her apart from other coffee shops and bookstores in the area. The store will also carry Heyn’s local ice cream, along with pastries from TipTop Cakes and coffee from Intelligentsia. 

“I think that will be a new combination of food and drinks for the area,” she said.

Herbold said this has been a dream of hers for a long time, and the location of her shop was most impactful in making the dream work. 

“It’s very convenient for me to get to work as a parent of young children and constantly running them around,” Herbold said. “The space right next door will be my husband’s law firm as well, so we are very excited to have that closeness for our family.”

Herbold said the timing for the shop’s grand opening worked out perfectly, and everything lined up as it was supposed to. 

RELATED: Point-Counterpoint: Which coffee shop reigns supreme, Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks?

Following its September opening, Herbold plans to kick off the business with a week devoted to Harry Potter.

“It will be events all week involving Harry Potter, and the University of Iowa’s Quidditch Team will even be a part of it,” she said. “Ultimately, I’m just very excited. I’m excited for the coffee and the books.” 

With another bookstore and coffee shop in the works, some Iowa City businesses anticipate the competition for customers. However, the local Haunted Bookshop says they’re rooting for Herbold and her business. 

“I’m thrilled,” Haunted Bookshop owner Nialle Sylvan said. “Having another place where people can gather, especially if it’s targeted at younger people, I think it is fantastic.” 

Sylvan said there is no competition between the two businesses — only support and pride in their similarities.

“That’s not how we do things here,” she said. “I’ll share their information with my patrons, and hopefully they’ll check it out. Iowa City needs more bookstores, and I’m excited to see what happens.”  

Facebook Comments