The Hamburg Inn Story

Iowa City's oldest family-owned restaurant since 1948

The historic Hamburg No. 2 Inn is an Iowa City mainstay, offering a tradition of comfort food in a fifties time capsule. Now, the restaurant is undergoing massive expansion and the Hamburg Inn name is poised to leave an imprint around Iowa, the US, and the world.

Joe Panther opened Hamburg Inn No. 1 on Iowa Avenue in the mid-1930s. His brother Adrian eventually bought the restaurant. Fritz, the third brother, and his wife Fran bought out Mrs. Van’s Restaurant on Linn Street in 1948 and formed a partnership with Adrian to transform the space into Hamburg Inn No. 2. A third location opened in Cedar Rapids.

Fritz and Fran passed Hamburg Inn No. 2, the only location for decades, along to their son Dave in 1979. The restaurant became one of the most famous in the state of Iowa, nationally renowned as a solid piece of Americana and an integral part of the Iowa City narrative.

Politicians and candidates regularly visit the Hamburg Inn when they swing through Iowa City – including former Presidents Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama – and hosts the Coffee Bean Caucus every primary season, attracting national and international attention to Iowa politics.

Michael Lee bought the restaurant from Dave Panther in 2016 with an eye towards international expansion and bringing the iconic pie shake to retail. Iowa City is back to three locations, with one opening in 2017 and one in 2018. Immediate plans are underway to open new locations across the Midwest and eventually the Hamburg Inn name will branch out as far as Beijing, Shanghai, and Taipei. 

Hamburg Inn Downtown

214 North Linn Street,

Iowa City, IA 52245

Phone. 319-337-5512

Hamburg Inn East

2221 Rochester Ave,

Iowa City, IA 52245

Phone. 319-519-2500