Colo’s historic Niland’s Cafe reopens under new management

COVID-19[female[feminineclosed Niland’s Cafe in August, but the historic Colo restaurant reopens on Friday under new management from longtime Colo residents Danny and Abi Wilson.

The Wilson’s start off with a smaller menu filled with homemade items, including fillets prepared according to their own recipe.

“We are so excited. Took longer than expected to open because of Covid, ”said Danny Wilson. “The menu will be rather limited at the start. I just want to make sure we make good food – good quality from scratch – and then add.

“We’re going to do everything ourselves except a few things like onion rings and cheese balls.”

The staff at Niland's Cafe in Colo are getting ready for the restaurant's smooth opening on Wednesday.  The historic café officially reopens on Friday.

The menu will also include items like burgers, roast beef, pulled pork, mashed potatoes and gravy, plenty of side dishes, pie, shakes and ice cream.

“We really hope we can offer something with a little more heart,” said Abi Wilson. “It really is comfort food.”

There will be cookies and gravy made from scratch on the weekends, she said. And she will make pies and pastries.

“My dream is to bake a pie in the morning and bring in the farmers for coffee. Coffee and pie are my favorite breakfast, ”said Abi. “This is my hope.”

From the review:A share of Americana: noon at Niland’s Cafe

Updates from Little Iowa Restaurant, Motel

There are a few changes in store for customers. The vintage Cadillac that was parked in the dining room was moved next to the gas station museum to more than double the seating to 10 zones, both booths and tables.

A message inside Niland's Cafe indicates its location at the intersection of historic Lincoln Highway and Jefferson Highway.  Staff were preparing for a smooth opening on Wednesday, and the historic café officially reopens on Friday.

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Located between two other historic buildings, the Colo Motel and the Gas Station Museum, Niland’s Cafe has display cases in the front room of the cafe and historic signs throughout. The displays were donated by Duane Pundt of the State Center.

“History is so important to people,” Abi said. “We have so many people coming and taking photos and selfies.”

The Wilson’s painted the walls of the cafe with further updates and made improvements to six rentable rooms at Colo Motel. Rooms cost $ 60 per night, including mini-fridges, free Wi-Fi, and cable TV.

“It had been about 20 years since the motel rooms had been remodeled,” said Abi Wilson. “We repainted everything and put new blinds and bedding on it.”

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New owners have deep community roots

Danny and Abi live in Colo and have five children, aged 2 to 18, in the Colo-NESCO school district, where Abi teaches. She has no plans to return to teach next year, so she can concentrate on the cafe and the motel.

Colo Motel has six rooms available for rent.

Danny, who grew up in Colo, currently works for the city and has his own carpentry business next door. Abi grew up in Adel, attended Iowa State for education, and is in her ninth year of teaching at Colo-NESCO.

“It’s a whole new project for us,” Abi said of the cafe and the motel. “We’ve never been involved in anything like this, but we’re really excited about it.

“Between me working at school and knowing everyone – parents and students – and Danny’s family (having) been here for generations, we really try to bring that community aspect into the cafe.”

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Fresh paint and historic signs and displays adorn the interior of Niland's Cafe in Colo.

Historic Significance at the Junction of the Jefferson and Lincoln Highways

Niland’s Cafe is located at Reed-Niland Corner, next to a restored gas station and Colo Motel, at the junction of the Lincoln and Jefferson Highways near Colo.

The buildings are owned by the Colo Development Group, and the Wilson’s lease and manage the businesses.

In the early days of the automobile, two major roads named after former presidents, the Jefferson Highway and the Lincoln Highway, intersected just outside Colo and became known as the Reed-Niland Corner, according to a report. historic plaque outside Niland’s Cafe.

In 1923, Colo farmer Charlie Reed began selling gasoline, and soon after that added food and shelter to his road services. Reed was assisted in business by his nephew Mr. Reed Niland. Three generations of the two related families have served customers for over 70 years, with the venue informally becoming known as Reed-Niland Corner or Niland’s Corner.

Located at 24 Lincoln Way in Colo, Niland’s Cafe is open Friday 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturday 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Sunday 7 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Niland's Cafe is located between the Gas Station Museum and Colo Motel.

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