Off-Campus Dining

Mount Vernon, IA
Admission Difficulty
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3 College Senior

Off-Campus Dining: Location of school is in a small town. The only thing available are local restaurants. Prices are ok, but food gets boring after 2 years. The college cafe doesn't stay open late and the cafeteria closes early too. Can't do much if one is studying late and going hungry.

2 College Junior

Off-Campus Dining: Mount Vernon is a tiny town. There are a few places and most of them are somewhat pricey.The pizza places are nice, but are often closed before their posted closing times. There are a few fast food places, but they're further out of town, so anyone without access to a car is kinda screwed.

3 College Freshman

Off-Campus Dining: Unless you want to make the 20-30 minute drive into Cedar Rapids or Iowa City there is only like 5 places to chose from in Mt. Vernon.

1 College Sophomore

Off-Campus Dining: There are few places to dine off-campus in Mount Vernon. If you are willing to make the drive to Cedar Rapids or Iowa City, decent restaurants can be found, but for students who do not have a car, dining off-campus is fairly out of the question. A few local restaurants on main street offer some variability, but are not typical hot-spots for the college community.

3 College Senior

Off-Campus Dining: Within Mount Vernon, there is very little, but with a car there's a ton of options between Solon, Cedar Rapids, and Iowa City, and with surprising quality across the board. Who knew there was such good ethnic food to be had in Iowa?


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Rankings View more rankings . . .

  • 813rd
    Best Off-Campus Dining Cost
  • 1393rd
    Best Off-Campus Dining Variety

Student Author OverviewWhat's This?

Erin McNeill
Foristell, MO
Sociology/Anthropology, English
View all previous student authors

With no chain restaurants allowed in the uptown shopping district, Mount Vernon boasts several locally-owned and operated options for off-campus dining. From pizza and baked goods to organic fare and five-star dining, Mount Vernon’s selection of restaurants and cafés has something to offer every palate. The Lincoln Café is by far the most renowned, with rave reviews in The New York Times, Chicago Tribune, and O Magazine. They offer two to three lunch and dinner specials in addition to a standard menu of tasty salads and sandwiches, and they source ingredients locally and organically whenever possible. The price tag for the specials isn’t within the average college student’s budget, but it’s perfect for a special treat, and their regular menu is very affordable.

Just across Highway 30, on the south edge of town, there are a handful of chain eateries, including a Subway, Hardee’s, and Dairy Queen. There, you can also find La Pasadita, a newly-opened restaurant that features homemade, authentic Mexican cuisine and tasty margaritas. Lisbon, just to the east of Mount Vernon on Highway 30, offers its own selection of local dining, including Gwen’s Family Restaurant, which boasts a great Sunday buffet with homemade fried chicken. Late-night dining is pretty much non-existent in town, even Hardee’s closes at midnight on the weekends, 11 p.m. on weekdays. So if you get the 2 a.m. munchies, Cedar Rapids is your best bet to find a Perkin’s or IHOP.

Facts & Statistics

24-Hour Dining
Perkins (Cedar Rapids)
Best Asian
  • Hu Hot (Cedar Rapids, Coralville)
  • The Sushi House (Cedar Rapids)
Best Breakfast
  • Fuel
  • Skillet Café and Bakery
Best Coffee
Best Dessert
  • Big Creek Market
  • Cold Stone Creamery (Cedar Rapids)
Best Healthy
Big Creek Market
Best Late-Night
Taco Bell (Cedar Rapids)
Best Mexican
  • Fiesta Del Sol (Cedar Rapids)
  • Panchero's (Cedar Rapids)
Best Pizza
  • Paul Revere's Pizza (Lisbon)
  • Pizza Palace
Best Wings
Buffalo Wild Wings (Cedar Rapids)
Best Place to Take a Date
  • The Lincoln Café
  • Olive Garden (Cedar Rapids, Coralville)
Best Place to Take Your Parents
  • Gwen's Family Restaurant (Lisbon)
  • The Lincoln Café
Other Places to Check Out
  • Gwen's Family Restaurant (Lisbon)
  • The Sushi House (Cedar Rapids)

Grocery StoresWhat's This?

Big Creek Market
100 First St. W
(319) 895-8393
Gary's Foods
715 First Ave. SW
(319) 895-8616
Daily 7 a.m.-10 p..m.

Restaurant ListingsWhat's This?

Big Creek Market
Food: Breakfast, sandwiches
100 First St. W
(319) 895-8393
Price: $3-$10
Cool Features: Organic and local ingredients
Buffalo Wild Wings Grill & Bar
Food: Wings, Burgers
1100 Blairs Ferry Rd. NE, Cedar Rapids
(319) 378-8886
Price: $8-$15
Chameleon's Pub and Grub
Food: American
119 First St. W
(319) 895-8654
Price: $4-$12
Cool Features: Prime rib dinner
Cold Stone Creamery
Food: Ice cream
2210 Edgewood Rd. SW, Cedar Rapids
(319) 390-0717
Price: $5-$10
Dairy Queen
Food: American
100 U.S. 30 E, Ste. 2
(319) 895-9563
Price: $2-$8
Fiesta Del Sol
Food: Mexican
4801 First Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids
(319) 373-2477
Food: Coffeehouse
103 First St. E
(319) 895-8429
Cool Features: Homey atmosphere, homemade baked goods
Food: American
102 Hwy. 1 S
(319) 895-6520
Price: $3-$8
Cool Features: Show your student ID for a discount
HuHot Mongolian Grill
Food: Asian
444 First Ave., Cedar Rapids
(319) 393-6000
Price: $8-$15
La Pasadita
Food: Mexican
100 U.S. 30 E, St. 3
(319) 895-9200
Price: $5-$18
Lincoln Café
Food: Traditional, chef's specials
117 First St. W
(319) 895-4041
Price: $8-$30
Cool Features: Ingredients are local and organic whenever possible.
Olive Garden
Food: Italian
367 Collins Rd. NE, Cedar Rapids
(319) 378-6401
Price: $10-$20
Food: Mexican
2315 Edgewood Rd. SW, Cedar Rapids
(319) 396-7900
Price: $5-$8
Paul Revere's Pizza
Food: Pizza
126 E Main, Lisbon
(319) 455-2276
Price: $4-$28
Cool Features: Dorm room delivery
Perkins Restaurant & Bakery
Food: Sandwiches, Soups, Pastries
3310 Southgate Court SW, Cedar Rapids
(319) 365-0545
Price: $8-$15
Pizza Palace
Food: Pizza
106 First St. W
(319) 895-6971
Price: $5-$25
Cool Features: Dorm room delivery
Scorz Bar and Grill
Food: American
109 First St. W
(319) 895-8453
Price: $5-$12
Skillet Café and Bakery
Food: Breakfast, soups, sandwiches, baked goods
101 First St. E
(319) 895-8540
Price: $3-$8
Cool Features: Made to order omlettes, great atmosphere
Food: Sandwiches
100 U.S. 30 W, St. 1
(319) 895-6666
Price: $3-$9
Taco Bell
Food: Mexican
555 33rd Ave. SW, Cedar Rapids
(319) 362-8965
Price: $5-$10

Student Polls

Rate the off-campus restaurants on the following topics    Based on 34 responses

Very poor
  • Cost
  • Convenience
  • Healthy/organic options
  • Late-night options
  • Quality
  • Student discounts
  • Variety/number of options
  • Vegetarian/vegan options

How would you rate the diversity of off-campus dining options?    Based on 44 responses

  • 34% An endless repetition of the same few places.
  • 11% Mostly just chain restaurants and fast food.
  • 43% Enough variety to keep things interesting.
  • 11% A nice variety of local spots and ethnic cuisine.


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