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

New Iowa City restaurant The Black Angel revives local favorites

The Black Angel on 630 Iowa Ave. will bring live music and an innovative menu to Iowa City.
Carly Schrum
The bar and table at The Black Angel restaurant in Iowa City on Thursday, August 17, 2023. The Black Angel opened July 11, 2023.

New Iowa City restaurant The Black Angel incorporates menu and drink favorites into a cozy setting fit to host live music.

The Black Angel, named after the so-called cursed angel statue in Oakland Cemetery made in 1912, has a menu that is a culinary blend of American and international flavors, including blackened chicken, tacos, and Canadian fries.

“I think our concept is very, very strong. We have a nice craft cocktail menu that’s been very popular, and [Derek and Kevin Perez] know how to make really good food,” co-owner Marty Christensen said. “I think it’s really a great combination that should defy and outlast the perceived ‘curse’ of the location.”

Map by Jami Martin-Trainor/The Daily Iowan

Several restaurants have reopened and closed at the restaurant’s location on 630 Iowa Ave, including Sunny’s, Billy’s High Hat Diner, and Lou Henri's. The restaurant had a soft opening July 11 and will open Sept. 5.

Christensen and the Perez brothers co-own The Black Angel. Between the three of them are decades of experience with owning and operating restaurants, Christensen said.

In the past, Christensen co-owned and operated the restaurant The Mill on Burlington Street from 2003 until its closure in 2020. The Perez brothers have owned and operated several restaurants between the two of them, including Ride, Augusta, El Banditos, and One Twenty Six, to name a few.

Derek Perez ran a restaurant called Perez Family Tacos out of 630 Iowa Ave. for a year during the COVID-19 pandemic before asking Christensen to help him open what would eventually become The Black Angel, Christensen said.

Christensen said he and the owners wanted The Black Angel to have an inviting feel to all patrons who walk in.

“It feels very classic, old school. The design is sort of 1915-era style: the style of the woodwork, the paint colors, and the bar elements,” Christensen said. “The idea was to make a place that was very comfortable and welcoming and had a classic feel.”

RELATED: Iowa City restaurant Goosetown Cafe closes its doors for good

The restaurant will also be a new music venue for Iowa City residents.

The Black Angel will have live music on the patio on the weekends. Iowa City musician James Tutson performed at The Black Angel on July 29.

“It was great. I had been there for previous iterations of the restaurant, so it was cool to go back and do music there as opposed to just eating or whatever it might be,” Tutson said.

Tutson added the environment of The Black Angel was much more intimate and oriented toward live music than some other local venues.

“A lot of smaller venues that are played here are not necessarily centered around music or around making it sound good, they just want music as part of what they're already doing,” Tutson said. “So it's cool for Marty to be focused on having music be a central component and having it really sound good and be well executed.”

Celia Dunn, an employee at The Black Angel, said the atmosphere of the restaurant is something she has never seen done before.

“It's just super cozy, and all of the employees there are incredible,” Dunn said. “I think that they'll do a really good job of making it a friendly place to be where people would want to come and hang out and not just go for dinner.”

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About the Contributors
Isabelle Foland
Isabelle Foland, News Editor
Isabelle Foland is a second-year student at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication and minoring in Spanish. She is a second-year news reporter at The Daily Iowan, reporting mainly on Iowa City City Council. She is from Missouri Valley, Iowa and has reported for her hometown paper prior to her time at The DI.
Carly Schrum
Carly Schrum, Photojournalist
Carly is a freshman majoring in Journalism and Mass Communication and potentially majoring in sustainability. She works at the Daily Iowan as a photojournalist.