Food & Dining
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Heather Lilienthal   
Wednesday, 02 May 2012 08:35

WEST DES MOINES, IOWA – May 1, 2012 – A well-known Iowa family-owned pizza restaurant chain is being recognized for its commitment to good food, community involvement and support for international needs. Pizza Ranch, headquartered in Orange City, is the winner of Iowa Farm Bureau Federation’s (IFBF) Renew Rural Iowa Entrepreneur of the Month award.

The company started with one restaurant in Hull three decades ago and has grown to 66 locations in Iowa and 100 more in eight other Midwest states.

“It started in an area where there is a spirit of entrepreneurialism and had the resources to get a company like this started,” said Matt Schuiteman, president of the Sioux County Farm Bureau. “Pizza Ranch makes a positive impact in every community they’re in.”

In small-town Iowa, where many Pizza Ranch restaurants are located, the business brings jobs and supports local schools with fundraising opportunities.

“Pizza Ranch provides many opportunities for jobs and has an economic impact on our community that’s very special,” said Orange City Mayor Les Douma. “It raises the bar for all commercial entities.”

In addition to its local community focus, Pizza Ranch is also working to support educational efforts in Ethiopia. Owner Adrie Groeneweg is switching coffee brands and working with farmers in Ethiopia to help keep a portion of coffee bean sales in the African country to support schools there.

Renew Rural Iowa (RRI) is an IFBF initiative supporting new and existing businesses through education, mentoring and financial resources. For more information, go to


MRDC Releases Queen Bee Honey Whiskey May 4 PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Ryan Burchett   
Tuesday, 01 May 2012 14:39

Le Claire, Iowa, April 30, 2012 – Fans and whiskey enthusiasts will soon be able to find another Mississippi River Distilling Company whiskey on store shelves.  Queen Bee Honey Whiskey will be released for sale this Friday, May 4.  This is a corn whiskey infused with fresh honey from beekeepers near Preston, Iowa, just 30 miles north of the distillery.  The use of fresh honey is unique says owner and distiller Ryan Burchett.

“There are several honey whiskey products on the market, but if you look closely at the label you’ll see that they are actually labeled as liqueurs and not whiskeys,” Burchett comments.  “That’s because once you add sugar to a product, you can’t call it whiskey anymore.  Queen Bee is whiskey with real honey added to it, nothing else, which provides a nice smooth sweetness without overwhelming the palate.”

Queen Bee Honey Whiskey is the latest seasonal product to be released by MRDC.  Each seasonal product is a limited bottling, usually 3,000 – 4,000 375-ml bottles total available for distribution.  The idea behind each seasonal spirit is to bring some unique products to the market and also partner with other local businesses to incorporate new local ingredients.

The distillery is limiting production to 6,000 bottles of Queen Bee Honey Whiskey.  “It’s our biggest seasonal yet,” said owner and distiller Garrett Burchett.  “We did 3,200 bottles of our seasonal rye whiskey in February and distributors were sold out in six weeks.  We’re making a little more of this one, so hopefully it will last a bit longer.”

Friday, May 4 will also be MRDC’s “First Friday” with a Cinco de Mayo celebration from 5:30 to 8 p.m.  The First Friday feature event is a free open house and May marks the one year anniversary of these monthly evening socials.  Chef Stephanie is preparing a honey mustard sauce with the new Queen Bee Honey Whiskey and celebration the fiesta night with fried bananas.  The bar will feature a couple different kinds of margaritas prepared with River Baron Artisan Spirit and River Rose Gin.

Mississippi River Distilling Company is open from 10 AM to 5 PM Monday through Saturday and from 12 to 5 PM Sundays.  Free tours are offered to the public daily on the hour from 12 to 4 PM or by appointment.  The tour takes visitors through the entire distilling process.  Tours end in the Grand Tasting Room with free samples of products for those patrons over 21 years of age.  Mark your calendars now for the next release of MRDC’s Cody Road Whiskey on Friday, June 1.

Thunder Bay Mother’s Day Brunch PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Anne Coffman   
Tuesday, 01 May 2012 13:05

Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch on Sunday, May 13 from 9am-3pm

Thunder Bay is having a special Mother’s Day Champagne Brunch from 9am-3pm on Sunday, May 13, 2012. The Brunch will Prime Rib, carved ham, peel & eat shrimp, smoked salmon, omelet station, homemade waffles and salad bar, pastries, fresh fruit and your favorite breakfast items. Also the brunch will be featuring a chocolate fountain and a champagne fountain.

Adults will be $20.99, Children 5-10 years old will be $9.99 and Children 2-4 will be free.

The restaurant is now taking reservations for this Mother’s Day Brunch so call today to reserve your table. The dinner menu will be available after 3pm. For more information or to make a reservation, please contact Thunder Bay Grille 563/386-2722 or now you can make your reservations online at

Thunder Bay is located at 6511 Brady St, Davenport


Happy Joe’s Celebrates its 40th Anniversary PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Kristel Whitty- Ersan   
Monday, 30 April 2012 10:54

Happy Joe’s Celebrates its 40th Anniversary 11/16/12.  We have just established The Happy Joe’s Kids Foundation.  This foundation will  be dedicated to helping children with special needs and their families.  Watch for details on a huge event at the iWireless Center in Moline, IL to be held 11/20/12 where Happy Joe’s will host a Special needs conference dedicated to our cause.  It will include a breakfast, vendor show, luncheon and special needs dance party!  We have many surprises in the works and are extremely excited.  We plan to make this a legacy event. 

Go to to learn more.  The site is still somewhat under construction but will be updated with new details on a regular basis from now until our event.  Joe Whitty, Kristel Whitty Ersan and Larry Whitty will all be available for interviews regarding this foundation and Happy Joe’s 40th Anniversary. You may contact Kristel Whitty- Ersan at 563-650-4680 with any questions you may have.

Mississippi Valley Blues Society Presents Annual BluesFest Fundraiser PDF Print E-mail
News Releases - Food & Dining
Written by Tim Norman   
Friday, 20 April 2012 14:39


The Mississippi Valley Blues Society presents its annual Fundraiser on Saturday May 12 at Martinis on the Rock (4619 - 34th Street, Rock Island, just south of Blackhawk Road). Admission is $20, which includes food and entry into drawings for door prizes.  The party, which includes a silent auction, begins at 6:00 p.m., with the music starting at 7:00 p.m.  All proceeds will benefit the 2012 Blues Festival, to be held June 29-July 1 at Davenport’s LeClaire Park.

Music will be provided by three bands who have won the Iowa Blues Challenge and represented the state of Iowa at the annual International Blues Challenge in Memphis TN.  The Steady Rollin’ Blues Band, The Candymakers, and The Mercury Brothers will each take the stage in Martinis’ brand new outdoor music pavilion, situated in back with a stunning view of the scenic Rock River.  After the three sets, the MVBS will host a jam session.

The theme for this Fundraiser is Beale Street, the storied avenue in Memphis where the blues was born and raised, and where Iowa Blues Challenge winners have pursued blues fame and fortune at the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge.  It’s fitting that the MVBS bring Beale Street to the Quad-Cities, considering that since 2000, 10 of the 12 Iowa Blues Challenge winners have been from the Quad-Cities.

Over the years, local blues fans and MVBS members could always be counted on to have a strong presence at the annual International Blues Challenge on Beale Street in Memphis, arguably the greatest concentration of live blues in the world, and always the guarantee of seeing a great band—usually from the QCA—representing  the State of Iowa and making us proud.

On May 12, $20 will get you in the door, a ticket for door prizes and a trip through the buffet line.  In addition, MVBS will be featuring prize drawings, a 50/50 raffle, and a silent auction of valuable merchandise and gift baskets donated by area businesses and organizations, as well as rare blues memorabilia from the MVBS archives.

Along with our sponsors, donors, volunteers, members and supporters, the non-profit MVBS depends heavily on fundraisers such as this to keep our musical standards as high, and our Festival admission prices as ridiculously low, as they’ve been in the past.




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