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

Local foodie dishes out critiques of Iowa City restaurants

Iowa City food influencer Meredith Lumberg reviews a new restaurant almost every week, promoting local food establishments to her community of over a thousand followers.
Kathy Le
Photo contributed by Jake Hannon.

During her year of pharmacy residency in West Palm Beach, Fl., Meredith Lumberg experienced a diverse, Cuban-influenced food scene. Still, the Iowa-raised food blogger said the culinary scene in Iowa City is special to her.

“I just think there’s a lot of really great food for the Iowa City area, like [for] the size that we are, I think we have an incredible food scene,” Lumberg said.

Lumberg began her Instagram account, @eatingaroundiowa, that has around 1,300 followers to separate her food posts from her regular social media accounts. In the beginning, it was a mix of her own creations and restaurant creations, but it eventually became a way to show off all the wonderful places to eat in Iowa.

Growing up in Washington, Iowa, Lumberg would travel 40 minutes to Iowa City, visiting places like Pancheros, Molly’s Cupcakes, and Mesa Pizza — places she didn’t have access to in her hometown. Her trips instilled in her a love for trying new restaurants.

Expanding her tastebuds has always been a major part of the self-described “Iowa City Foodie” life, so much so the people in her life have started to contribute.

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Lumberg’s co-workers brought her pecan pie and mochi cake, and another brought her their mother’s beef tripe soup.

“I think a lot of my conversations tend to veer off into food-related things whether it’s restaurants or not, and I’m always curious as to what people do and what their traditions are,” she said.

The act of sharing food dives deeper into human connection. A co-worker invited Lumberg to her family’s home to participate in her family’s kimchi night, and the gesture encouraged Lumberg to further participate in her co-worker’s life, family, and tradition.

Lumberg credits her family for her love of cuisine. Her father cooked frequently and was eager to share his creations — once a whole smoked chicken, Lumberg recalled. He was also known for the sauerkraut bratwurst soup he often donated to their local hospice center.

“I just love sharing food with other people and have been blessed to be raised in a house that also loves doing that,” Lumberg said.

Lumberg’s most recent addition to her Instagram page is her use of Instagram’s highlights feature, which she uses to advertise local deals for every day of the week as well as happy hour specials. It was as much for her followers as it was for her, she shared.

“Some of the restaurants I go to — I get to know their managers or, if you become a local, you can get to know the bartenders,” she shared. “It’s just really fun doing that.”

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About the Contributors
Lily Czechowicz, Arts Reporter
Lily Czechowicz is a recent graduate of the University of Iowa from which she earned a degree in English & Creative Writing.
Kathy Le, Photojournalist
Kathy Le is a fourth-year student at The University of Iowa majoring in 3D design and Art History. This is her first year working as a photojournalist of Daily Iowan.