We all know how exciting food can be, so you can imagine how pumped I was to start up this series. It was difficult to choose where to begin, but eventually I knew exactly what to showcase as the debut location. Without further ado, our first Mental Space is one of my favorite downtown stops between classes: Nodo!
(Branding photo credit: Nodo Iowa City)
Conveniently located at 5 South Dubuque, Nodo is the perfect spot to have a quick lunch, even on a busy schedule. Normally, I like to go on Mondays and Wednesdays from 2:30-3:30PM, between my French and Pop Music classes in Van Allen and Phillips Hall. It’s the perfect time because you get to beat the lunch rush and basically have the place to yourself.
The Nodo staff is always friendly, and the atmosphere is pretty casual. Whoever took charge of their music lately really knows what they’re doing, too. There’s always a constant stream of artists like David Bowie, the Beatles, and I once heard Tame Impala there, which was a pretty sweet surprise.
In addition to the original dining space on the ground floor, Nodo recently opened their Skylight Room, and that has become my new study space obsession.
See for yourself:
(Attempting to write a paper on Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales as I concurrently mourn the death of David Bowie)
It’s often really quiet upstairs (if you’re not a huge Bowie fan or need a bit of peace and quiet to write a paper). You can also push tables together to create a space to spread out your books and laptops if you and some friends need to do group work. If you’re flying solo—as I’m often known to do—just toss in some ear buds and hash out the items on your to-do list. Additionally, (it may not be as big of a deal as I’m about to make of it, but) they have some raised BENCH SEATING, and the benches have BACKS! Whenever I study, I like to be able to lean back and stretch, curl my legs up—whatever, especially if I’m going to be on my computer for a long time… Like I said, though, that’s just my preference.
Moving on from the actual space, it’s time for the moment we’ve all been waiting for: FOOD.
First and foremost, Nodo is amazing because they have refillable coffee served in adorable mugs (examples pictured above and below). If you’re not a traditional black coffee drinker, they also offer espresso drinks with scones to pair. So, yes, your studying will be amply fueled, stylishly java-style. Their prices are also very reasonable for broke college kids; not a single item clocks in above ten dollars. I’ve never been disappointed by any of Nodo’s sandwiches, wraps, and Brew City fries served with the always amazing aioli. (If you’re wondering what aioli is: it’s basically fancy mayo that you’ll want to throw on every food for the rest of your life after you try it.) Nodo also offers daily soup specials. Definitely be on the lookout for the potato leek (pictured below); it’s delish.
(I tried to take a non-pretentious but also non-disgusting food picture for you guys… It’s difficult! Props to the foodie Instagrammers out there.)
As far as set menu items, I tried the #11 Veggie Wrap on my last visit (pictured above), but my favorite would have to be the #22 Mushroom Sandwich. With ample amounts of cheese and marinade, there is no possible way to eat it and look attractive, so of course you know it’s amazing. Not the best item for a date, but studying or an afternoon pick-me-up? Totally.
For those of you who need a late night snack between books but you live more towards IC’s Northside, Nodo’s original location is still located on Dodge and Church. (NOrth DOdge, get it?)
Nodo is also very accommodating with to-go orders. If you need to rush to work, are dying to go home, or want to grab something before lecture, they’re incredibly fast. Give them a call. I do more than I should…
If you want to know more, here’s a link to Nodo’s downtown menu with their daily hours:
You don’t need my suggestions; just go try it yourself!
Food- Sandwiches, Salads, Soups, Wraps, Coffee
Location- Downtown / Northside
Accommodations- Outlets / WiFi / ENDLESS COFFEE
Ideal Mental Space for- Group Projects & Solo Work