A downtown Iowa City restaurant has been so successful, the owner has decided to open another restaurant right next door.

Marco's Grilled Cheese originated as a food truck and has been in the Iowa City Ped Mall since 2000. Now, owner Mark Paterno is preparing to open an island-themed restaurant next door to Marco's Grilled Cheese, which is located at 117 N. Linn Street. When the new restaurant finally does open, it will be a long time coming.

It was late in the winter of 2019 that Paterno decided he wanted to open another restaurant. He told the Iowa City Press-Citizen,

The motivation is to create a little sister satellite station, a different type of restaurant that would complement what we already have next door. I am trying to keep that island theme in there without getting too eclectic like I tend to do. A little bit more like you might find in the Caribbean or on an island.

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The new restaurant will be called Marco's Island and will sell islandy alcoholic or virgin drinks. It will also feature a larger kitchen than Marco's Grilled Cheese, allowing it to serve everything from omelets to jerk chicken, fish and chips, salads, and smoothies.

When will Marco's Island open? Paterno says that's a great question. His original plan was to open in the fall of 2020. That line of thinking was abandoned due to the pandemic. He currently hopes for an April opening, if "nothing too crazy happens between now and then."

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