Late last spring, the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance began taking entries for a contest it called the "Race for the Space". It would let the winning entrant pick a new space to open their concept in downtown Cedar Rapids from a handful of commercial properties on the market.

The winner would also get a leg-up on their startup by receiving several cool benefits as part of the deal:

  • $20,000 to use for rent, build-out, and/or overhead costs
  • Chance to become a staple downtown attraction for years to come
  • $7,500 credit towards Architectural Design Services and Buildout Support with Form Function Studio
  •  A complimentary 8-week owner education course to build a more valuable business provided by BerganKDV

According to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, they've selected their winner, and it's the owner of an Iowa City favorite who will now expand his business footprint up the road in downtown Cedar Rapids.

Keto Kitchen is owned by Mo Nasraddin, who upon winning the contest, said:

this money will allow us to open our ground zero location in downtown Cedar Rapids. Using our meal prep services, we are excited for the ability to impact thousands of lives locally and nationally

His business opened in Iowa City at 116 E. Washington St. the former location of MELK Diner & Cereal Bar, in March 2021. The concept  "accommodates a variety of lifestyles and diets including keto, gluten-free, Whole 30, paleo, vegetarian, vegan and low carbohydrate".

His choice of location has not been named but you can learn about which ones were up for grabs and more about what the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance plans to make an annual contest in "Race for the Space" HERE.

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