Hidden breakfast restaurants around Ames


Ashley Ruden/Iowa State Daily

The Cafe located at 2616 Northridge Parkway is one of many breakfast restaurants in Ames.

Breakfast is often considered the most important meal of the day, and it is nice to find new places to enjoy that meal.

Ames is a large town, and there are a lot of breakfast restaurants within it that are difficult to find. Among these local restaurants are The Grove Cafe, The Café and Lockwood Cafe.

The Grove Cafe

The Grove Cafe is located at 124 Main St. (Mikayla Alt )

Located at 124 Main St.,The Grove Cafe has an extensive history. The building space was originally occupied by the Iowa Cafe starting in 1912. The Iowa Cafe was purchased by J.B. Wilson in 1916.

Wilson changed the name of the cafe to the Bungalow Cafe through a naming contest that had a prize of $2 before opening the cafe doors.

The building space took on many different restaurants and cafes after the Bungalow Cafe until 1948 when Jim and Gay Stone purchased the cafe.

Since 1948, The Grove Cafe has been a staple at 124 Main St. to the locals. In 1997, the current owner, Larry Goodale, bought the cafe from the Stones and has made it his own.

The Grove’s cooking and food-prep stations are located right across from the counters customers sit at, which helps foster a stronger relationship between the workers and customers.

“I can talk to the customers [while I cook],” Goodale said. “I [can] be out front here with the people.”

Goodale runs the morning shifts by himself, which he enjoys because it allows him to chat with the morning regulars while cooking their food.

In 2011, The Grove Cafe’s pancakes were picked as the best breakfast in Iowa by Food Network Magazine. In 2018, the Food Network Magazine held the best pancake competition in every state, where The Grove Cafe also won that award for Iowa.

The breakfast side of the menu offers omelets, breakfast specials, an egg breakfast, pancakes and french toast.

Every Sunday, the cafe offers unique omelets to customers.

“We do the weird stuff, usually on Sunday,” Goodale said. “I like the raspberry rhubarb pancake.”

A few of those different omelets include a taco omelet, a reuben omelet and a barbeque pork omelet. They also offer seasonal omelets such as corn beef and cabbage for Saint Patrick’s Day.

Every week the cafe will go through 100 to 140 dozen eggs making omelets and eggs during breakfast and lunch.

The Café

The Café is located at 2616 Northridge Parkway. (Mikayla Alt )

The Café is located at 2616 Northridge Parkway and recently celebrated 20 years of business.

The Café states that it is “of the community, for the community.”

“The Café is a wonderful restaurant to bring people who do not live in this community or in the surrounding communities and want to experience something that they have never experienced before,” Cindy Schulte, a frequent customer, said.

The Café opens at 7 a.m. every week and begins customers’ days with breakfast. The menu offers a variety of different options such as lighter side, eggs, griddle and more.

A few options from the Monday through Saturday menu include smoked salmon tartine, chorizo breakfast tacos and sourdough griddle cakes.

On Sundays, The Café offers a brunch menu.

The Café also produces many baked goods. They offer a large range of baker’s items, from simple brownies and scotcharoos to pumpkin cannolis, vanilla bean creme brûlée and lemon raspberry cake.

The Lockwood Cafe

Lockwood Cafe is located in an old grain elevator and mill at 4625 Reliable St. (Mikayla Alt)

The Lockwood Cafe “definitely feel[s] hidden, and [we] work hard to try to be a gem,” said Sharon Stewart, the owner.

The Lockwood Cafe is open Tuesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.

In 2017, it started out as an outdoor cart. Stewart and a few other people ran the cart for a couple of years until the opening of the cafe two years laters.

Lockwood Cafe is located in an old grain elevator and mill at 4625 Reliable St. The space was purchased and repurposed in 2019 by Stewart.

“A handful of people that used to work here when it was an operating mill are always elated to see the space become something, not just abandoned,” said Kari Storjohann, the syrup master.

Lockwood Cafe has indoor seating and pet-friendly outdoor seating. They also run a lot of projects, such as free thrift, community gardens and a community pantry that is currently underway.

“It is definitely a facet of the towny community,” Storjohann said.

Lockwood Cafe makes a lot of their food and add-ins in-house. They make their own coffee syrups, vegan yogurt, kimchi, crepes and other various items.

The cafe offers various savory and sweet crepes as their main breakfast options.

A few of the crepe options include greek, vegan kimcheese, apple brie and cinnamon apple crisp.

Start your day with award-winning pancakes, smoked salmon tarzine or house-made coffee syrups at one of these Ames breakfast restaurants.