When we think happy thoughts about Cedar Rapids, we have to say we're pretty blessed by having some amazing restaurants, many of which are local versus chains. And, we continue to see chains moving in, like the return of Dunkin Donuts, not one but 2 Popeyes locations (although reviews have not been so favorable, apparently), Freddy's, and Pepperjacks. However, there are a couple chains missing, so let's dream for a moment.


  • Tim Boyle - Getty Images
    Tim Boyle - Getty Images

    White Castle

    If you've never had a true "slider" from White Castle, you're missing out. Just don't have too many. Problem is, the closest location is inside a Casey's in State Center, IA, just over an hour away. The closest true location is almost 3 hours away in Dekalb, IL.

  • Alberto E. Rodriguez - Getty Images for Disney
    Alberto E. Rodriguez - Getty Images for Disney

    Dave and Busters

    More than just great food, Dave and Busters is where adults can hang out, watch the game, have a beer, and be a kid playing arcade games and winning prizes, just like the old days. Even better, kids aren't allowed later in the evening. An arcade for adults on a grand scale? YES! (Although a shout out to the new Quarter Barrell. We're loving you too!) However, the closest one is just outside Chicago, in Addison, IL, just over 3 and a half hours away.

  • Jim Lopes
    Jim Lopes


    We see the commercials all the time, and we used to have them in town, but no longer. Oh Sonic, how we miss your drive-ins, hot dogs, tots, and drink selections. Luckily it's not too far, as you'll find one in Davenport. However, it'd sure be nice to have one closer.

  • Thinkstock


    There's pizza, and then there's Giordano's. I'm in no way knocking on some great local pizza places around Cedar Rapids. But when it comes to true Chicago style deep dish, and one of the tastiest pizzas ever, Giordano's is about as good as it gets. Of course being a true Chicago pizza, you'll have to travel to Illinois at least. The closest location is in Rockford, just over 3 hours away.

  • Thinkstock


    If you've had it, you KNOW what I'm talking about. From their Italian beef to pure beef hot dogs, to cheese fries, and so much more, NOTHING beats Portillos. Good news is that they are expanding. The bad news is that the closest to us at the moment is again in Rockford. But we're hopeful it won't be long until that changes.

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