The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa City restaurant Goosetown Cafe closes its doors for good

Goosetown Cafe owners informed staff of its permanent closure via staff-wide email, two days before noting a temporary closure in an Instagram post.
Cody Blissett
Goosetown Cafe is seen in Iowa City on Friday, July 14, 2023.

In an email sent to employees on the evening of July 10, Goosetown Cafe owner Peter Kessler announced the permanent closure of the Linn Street restaurant.

“We are writing to inform you of the closure of Goosetown, effective immediately, marking the end of an unforgettable and fulfilling 5-year journey,” the email read. 

The cafe opened in 2018, with Peter Kessler running the business alongside his mother, Kathy Kessler. It opened following the closure of the previous 203 N. Linn St. occupant, Kessler’s Motley Cow Cafe, and had focused on delivering good breakfast to Iowa City’s northside. One now-former employee, who wished to remain anonymous, shared their experience regarding the email with the DI. 

“I was just eating dinner with my family and I wasn’t expecting anything,” the former employee said. “I read the email and just sat there for like two minutes not saying anything, just trying to comprehend what it was.” 

The former employee had been a server at Goosetown for about a year when they received the email. They mentioned that they and their coworkers had noticed the lack of business Goosetown was getting compared to the volume of previous months, but besides murmurs of speculations between employees, there was no word from management or the owners regarding the cafe’s future. 

In a now-deleted Instagram post on Wednesday, Goosetown revealed a temporary closure, including a statement that read, “Changes coming to 203 N. Linn,” followed by a caption that read, “Stay tuned…” implying the possibility of construction work being done on the building as cause for the temporary closure. 

The email sent to employees implied permanence regarding Goosetown’s fate but was contradicted by the Instagram post that alluded to a possible reopening. 

The restaurant later released a Facebook post on Monday confirming its closure, signed by both Peter and Kathy Kessler:

“Goosetown began in the summer of 2018 with a simple goal: good food, unique space, and to draw people to our favorite neighborhood in Iowa City. The Northside was sleepier then. Look how it has grown!” the Kesslers wrote. “We are humbled by the relationships that were built as so many embraced our restaurant. We are proud that we were able to thrive through a pandemic and over the course of five years. We could not have done it without all of you.”

There had been no mention of a follow-up email from Peter Kessler or other upper management, but the former employee said that Peter Kessler had been more than willing to follow up with employees on an individual basis. 

“He’s been very kind through it all, I have a lot of respect for him. He was always working hard there and always present during work hours,” the former employee said.

Peter Kessler did not respond to requests for comment on the permanent closure of Goosetown. 

The former employee spoke about one of their coworkers who was planning to work at Goosetown until their move across the country next month, and will likely remain unemployed for the rest of the month until their move. 

“That’s been the hardest part,” the former employee said. “I am lucky to have another job, but everyone else is unemployed now.”

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About the Contributors
Avi Lapchick
Avi Lapchick, Arts Editor
Avi Lapchick is an arts editor at The Daily Iowan. A fourth-year student studying English and Creative Writing at the University of Iowa, she previously held the positions of staff photojournalist, summer arts editor, and assistant arts editor at the DI. She is happiest when she is writing or painting.
Cody Blissett
Cody Blissett, Visuals Editor
Cody Blissett is a visual editor at The Daily Iowan. He is a third year student at the University of Iowa studying cinema and screenwriting. This is his first year working for The Daily Iowan.