East Central Iowa · Family Adventures · Iowa Food · Iowa Wine, Beer, and Spirits

Tis the Season to be Czech in Cedar “Red” Rapids

The iconic lion sculptures welcome visitors to the historic Cedar Rapids neighborhood known as the Czech Village. A party fit for old Saint Joe is looming…..

Cedar Rapids, IA: Linn County

It’s two days after St. Patrick’s Day and what do you have planned? Perhaps your tongue has returned to it’s natural color from the tint of green after consuming some heavily dyed adult beverages. You may be combing the world of Pinterest looking up ideas for corned beef leftovers. When you get it all figured out, you’ll see that the calendar has reached March 19th and there is yet another Saint’s Day that calls for your consideration. Let the fine citizens of Cedar Rapids pull you in for an extension on your mid March schedule of events and get the red garments on for Saint Joseph’s Day!

First things first. No matter what day it is, you must stop by Sykora Bakery. Just prepare yourselves to make a lot of easy decisions when choosing your baked goods. You just need to find that annoying voice that tells you to stop. http://www.sykorabakery.com/
Sykora Bakery specializes in some of the best kolaches on the planet. Very difficult for Team Goodvin to get out of Cedar Rapids without 1 or 72 of these beauties.

You must do as the locals do at times and take in what they are offering. Today, it was all about their annual celebration of the their rich heritage. Cedar Rapids is known for its proud blue collar and rich traditions that attracted legions of Czech, Slovak, and Bohemian immigrants that melted in with the city and its multitude of cultures. So its only natural that they honor Saint Joseph the Worker with a mass celebration. The old country would be proud…


We found a great spot in the middle of the Czech Village for the annual parade and watched the red fill up the neighborhood. Cedar Rapids is known for having one of the largest Czech heritage populations in the world outside of Prague.

A salute to you Czech Village! Dessert came first on St. Joe’s day. That’s my tradition.

We walked up and down the Czech Village and whoops wouldn’t you know it….we found some places to eat and unwind.

The Village Meat Market & Cafe was loaded with customers and had plenty of their house-made candied bacon for all the pork lovers of the world.
Another toast! The Lion Bridge Brewery is right in the heart of the Czech Village and pouring some of the best craft beer in Iowa. Like this pint of Yard Sale IPA. Great after a kolache! https://www.facebook.com/lionbridgebrew

For lunch, we strayed from the Czech Village to see what other pockets of the city was up to on this day. Luckily for us, and our lunch needs, Cedar Rapids was cooking up Czech fare all over the city. We settled in to the Longbranch Hotel and made a dent in their St. Joe’s Day buffet.

How about a dose of roast pork, Czech style goulash, potato dumplings, whipped potatoes with gravy, authentic zeli soup, sauerkraut, and fresh salads. Beets with cottage cheese……always.

A dumpling here, a ladle of goulash there, a touch of roast, a liberal scoop of sauerkraut, and the flavor of caraway…..take me away. Czech fare is hearty, loaded with central European flavors, and here it’s given that famous Iowa touch. Lucky for us, Cedar Rapids isn’t too far away from our Hills, IA, headquarters. We’re able to enjoy their historic neighborhoods and restaurants with ease and partake in CR’s army of events it schedules all year. For a special nod to the amazing heritage of the Czech Village, St. Joe’s day is a fine tradition in this great city to participate in and welcomes anyone who wants to be Czech for the day. Have a beer with the locals, break bread with a kolache, and put kraut on EVERYTHING!


Thanks for reading! -Team Goodvin



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