Arcadia offers unique cafe experience for Campustown

Arcadia, a new coffee spot on Lincoln Way, serves a variety of baked goods and coffee in a comfortable student-friendly atmosphere. The cafe launched with a soft open at the end of last month and has seen a steady increase in business since.

Mckenzie Vogt

Liz Naylor and Ryan Jeffrey, co-owners of Arcadia, 2712 Lincoln Way, have been planning for the cafe for five or six years.

The cafe is located where the old Fighting Burrito once resided.

“We went through a lot of names and themes but kept coming back to Arcadia,” Naylor said. “Our house overlooks the forest, and to us Arcadia means ‘pastoral paradise.'”

Slowly, everything just started to fall into place.

Naylor said all of their ideas kept building on each other: First, it was the teak table they found in Wisconsin, and then a family friend thought the trees he cut down would make great cafe tables.

“I wanted something that was laid back but still upscale, and not too trendy,” Naylor said.

“After working at Bochner Chocolates in Iowa City, we wanted to do something with coffee and chocolate,” Jeffrey said. “We haven’t introduced a lot of chocolates at this time, but we may at some point because we are both big chocolate people.”

Since working at Bochner, Jeffrey has been experimenting with fresh roasted coffee.

“I can control the heat and various amount of airflow going into the beans to control how they come out,” Jeffrey said. “How you roast it can have a pretty dramatic effect on the flavor as well.”

“For our coffee we do the ‘pour over,’ so it allows us to do the single origins and brew by the cup so people have many different choices,”  Naylor said.

Other items on the menu include Italian sodas, breakfast baguettes, scones, cheesecakes, biscotti and rum balls.

“We also have an Arcadia Dog, which is a fresh baguette that we hollow out and put in the original, high-quality Coney Island beef dog,” Naylor said.

The only thing not made at the cafe is the baguettes. Everything else is made from recipes Naylor and Jeffrey have found. Naylor also has a collection of old family recipes that are unique.

“I grew up in an European household, and my grandma has always made special desserts for Sunday dinner, birthdays or holidays,” Naylor said.

Although Jeffrey graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in biology, both he and Naylor believe their diverse backgrounds help them grab from certain areas, making opening a business that much easier.

“I think it’s the entrepreneurial blood from both our dads,” Naylor said. “You go to school to learn a certain segment of life skills, but you learn how to interact with people and do different things on your own.”

Another fun thing about Arcadia is the exposure the owners would like to bring to local artists on its big, blank wall.

“It’s a great size,” Naylor said. “It will give some of the smaller artists or ones without as much work some sort of exposure.”

The cafe is open Monday through Saturday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., but is looking to extend the hours for late Dead Week and all of Finals Week to allow students a nice, quiet place to study.