IOWA CITY – With nearly two decades of coffee brewing experience under her belt, Java House founder and owner Tara Cronbaugh earlier this year decided to try her hand in the restaurant business.
“I thought, ‘What a nice way to compliment coffee than to add something fresh and made on the fly,’” Cronbaugh said.
The 39-year-old entrepreneur always has found inspiration for new ventures while traveling – she developed her passion for coffee and a business concept for the Java House during visits to Berkeley, Santa Monica and San Francisco.
So when Cronbaugh recently found herself exploring the East Coast, chocked full of freshmade soup and salad joints, she formulated a new food-centered business plan around a healthy and transparent menu.
Heirloom Salad Company – a soup, salad, sandwich and pasta establishment that offers customers the opportunity to select ingredients and watch them prepared – debuted on Memorial Day in the space adjacent Cronbaugh’s downtown Iowa City flagship Java House, at 211 1/2 E. Washington St.
“I own the building, and my spot had come up for rent, so I thought, ‘Maybe it’s time to try this out,’” Cronbaugh said.
The restaurant features made-from-scratch dressings, sauces, breads and soups as well as fresh and local ingredients that make up sandwiches as well as salad and pasta toppings.
“People love the ability to choose,” Cronbaugh said, adding that the sandwiches have been hotter than expected. “And we make gallons and gallons of soup a day. … We are super excited for winter. We have 50 different soup recipes we can make.”
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