Growing up, Amanda Steines loved visiting libraries.
“I’ve always had a connection to libraries throughout my life. In hard times, they have been places of solace,” she said. “Books are like friends when you’re lonely. I’ve just always found solace in libraries.”
So when she had the opportunity to take over the cafe space in the Cedar Rapids Public Library, she jumped at the chance to expand her business, Roasters Coffee, from it’s NewBo City Market location to the Library’s cafe.
The new Roasters opened for business at the Library last week, taking over the space from Greyhound Deli.
Adding the Library location and its kitchen gave her the opportunity to grow her menu beyond the coffee and baked goods she serves at NewBo City Market. Two Greyhound staff members, Mariah Davis and Simone Hickok, stayed on and have helped her develop her new menu. They’ve kept many of Greyhound’s deli sandwiches while adding additional dishes.
“Simone has a culinary degree. It’s really cool working with her and collaborating,” Steines said.
Along with soup, salads and sandwiches, they have ramped up the breakfast choices, including a biscuit sandwich, with a maple biscuit, bacon, egg, and cheddar, and a breakfast bowl featuring greens topped with roasted vegetables, cheese, and a fried egg, among other dishes like avocado toast and quiche.
“We have lots of ideas,” Steines said. “It’s so fun. This whole process has been hard, but it’s so exciting.”
Steines started her coffee career as a barista at Roasters Coffee House in Hiawatha. When the owner there expanded the business to NewBo City Market, she managed the new location and eventually bought that portion of the business. She still manages the Hiawatha location.
“Since then, the NewBo location has grown and evolved,” she said. “It’s kind of cool, because this location will be different, too. Each one has its own vibe.”
She said she’s excited to experience the unique vibes of the Library, especially as COVID precautions begin easing. This week, a limited number of tables have been brought back in for deli customers, with seating available for up to 30 minutes. Once events return to the Library, Steines will add catering options.
The cafe can also be accessed through the drive thru, with online ordering in advance available through roasters-coffeehouse.square.site. Customers can also call the cafe at (319) 739-0499.
Roasters at the Library is open 7 am to 2 pm Monday to Friday. In the future, Steines said she hopes to expand the hours, and she plans to be open during Cedar Rapids Downtown Farmers’ Markets when they return in June.
“I’m excited to be part of this community,” she said. “I love the social element and interacting with the public … I’m completely addicted to this career path.”