DES MOINES, IOWA (November 18, 2022) — Grace on Main, a full-service restaurant in Elk Horn, Iowa (pop 600), is proving daily that sustainable business practices and energy solutions can provide real economic benefit to hospitality operations in any size community. The full-service restaurant, owned and operated by residents Mike and Ilee Muller, was honored this week as the inaugural choice for the Iowa Restaurant Association Sustainability and Innovation Award. Presented in conjunction with WoodRiver Energy, the award recognizes hospitality operations demonstrating increased profitability and efficiency by instituting sustainable business practices.

The Mullers moved from California in 2020 to open their rural main street restaurant. From day one, the couple proactively sought ways to leverage sustainable practices and reduce the establishment’s carbon footprint. Today, using a geothermal heating system, Grace on Main is powered by 88.5% renewable energy. This provides both an environmental and cost-savings win for the business. Other practices influencing the choice of Grace on Main for the award were their use of only recyclable packaging, composting protocols for food waste, and community participation in recycling efforts.

“Iowa restaurants are an important social and economic part of our communities, and that is why we’re proud to recognize those who lead by example,” said Don Krattenmaker COO, WoodRiver Energy. “Grace on Main has demonstrated how small-business leaders can bring the community together to implement sustainable solutions.”

“Studies have shown that by reducing waste and eliminating inefficiencies, restaurants are not only doing their part to help the environment, they can also lower total operating costs by as much as thirty percent,” said Jessica Dunker, president and CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association. “In an industry with net-profit margins hovering around 5%, it can be a real difference-maker for their bottom lines.”

About Iowa Restaurant Association:

The Iowa Restaurant Association provides advocacy, education, and promotional support to Iowa’s restaurant and tavern industry.

About WoodRiver Energy:

Since 2014, WoodRiver Energy has provided cost-effective solutions for commercial, industrial, and educational customers to help manage energy costs. With the company’s energy-management solution, ConnectedControl, restaurants can save up to fifteen percent on their electricity and remotely monitor their restaurants. Our team of experts partner with customers to design an energy plan that fits their operations and budget.

To learn more about WoodRiver’s energy solutions for Iowa Restaurant Association members, visit:

Support the River Cities' Reader

Get 12 Reader issues mailed monthly for $48/year.

Old School Subscription for Your Support

Get the printed Reader edition mailed to you (or anyone you want) first-class for 12 months for $48.
$24 goes to postage and handling, $24 goes to keeping the doors open!

Click this link to Old School Subscribe now.

Help Keep the Reader Alive and Free Since '93!


"We're the River Cities' Reader, and we've kept the Quad Cities' only independently owned newspaper alive and free since 1993.

So please help the Reader keep going with your one-time, monthly, or annual support. With your financial support the Reader can continue providing uncensored, non-scripted, and independent journalism alongside the Quad Cities' area's most comprehensive cultural coverage." - Todd McGreevy, Publisher