Café McGregor offers colorful atmosphere, unique menu
By Audrey Posten
“I had owned restaurants in the past and thought McGregor needed a little café,” explained Café McGregor owner Brenda Boeke. “I was hoping somebody would do it, but they never did, so I just did it.”
Boeke has been in the restaurant business since 1980, dealing with everything from a drive-in, café and hotel to a supper club, catering and wedding decorating. Her latest foray—Café McGregor—which opened in May, combines the best of all those worlds.
Located at 211 Main St. in McGregor, Café McGregor provides patrons with a front row seat to all the town’s goings-on.
“It’s like we’re in a fish bowl,” Boeke remarked. “Anywhere you sit, you can see something.”
For Boeke, the view is one of the establishment’s most charming aspects.
“I really like the natural beauty and this old, historic town. When you look out and see the hills and the brick buildings and think of what people have done in the past, it is just awesome,” she said. “Tourists from all over the world have been in and 100 percent of them love the area. Living here, sometimes you don’t realize just how great it is.”
The view looking in isn’t half bad either.
Turquoise, black, gold and wine-colored walls greet customers. As do turquoise chairs, colorfully bespeckled table coverings and seasonal centerpieces. Contrary to what some may think, Boeke said the table coverings, which feature all the wall colors, were not the inspiration behind the café’s color scheme. It was actually the chairs.
“We got our chairs and they were black and dreary,” Boeke said of the first batch. “Then I got the fan backs and they were turquoise. I kept them and did two walls in that color, then the black and gold for Iowa and I thought the wine looked good with the photos.”
The photos Boeke speaks of are the dozen or so framed shots of McGregor’s past that grace one whole wall. However, the photographs are just one aspect of Café McGregor that pays tribute to the past. Other walls are dotted with antique signs. Outside, on the patio, sit two old bikes, restored by Boeke’s husband, Jason.
“I wanted it to be fun and cheery,” Boeke said of the interior, “a place for people to be happy.”
Boeke is surprised at the number of men who comment on and enjoy the colors.
“I wouldn’t think they’d notice. Most don’t know the color your hair is,” she said with a laugh.
While the atmosphere is unique, so is Café McGregor’s menu. The restaurant features a breakfast and lunch menu, but that is livened up on a daily basis, with Boeke often making a spur of the moment decision based on some new ingredients.
“Who knows what’s going to be on that special board,” she said. “I love trying new things.”
Boeke said the menu is not set in stone; anything, whether it be the burgers, sandwiches, wraps or salads, is up for new interpretation. She said it will most likely change with the seasons, going from wraps to comfort foods like roast beef or turkey and gravy.
Café McGregor also has an extensive drink menu, with 15 coffee flavors and nearly a dozen teas, that also continues to evolve.
Her omelets have also gotten a lot of attention. Boeke said she doesn’t want to sound like a bragger, but some people have said the omelets are the best they have ever had.
“People have been so supportive,” she said. “It makes you feel good. I want to have a fun place for McGregor. It’s there’s to enjoy.”
Café McGregor is open Wednesday through Sunday, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, give them a call at (563) 873-3565 or visit their Facebook page.