Niland’s Cafe in Colo, IA, closes — for now

Colo, Iowa, city clerk Scott Berka wrote to say the Colo Development Group has decided to close the much-loved Niland’s Cafe. Friday was its last day open.


Berka wrote, “We will still rent the motel rooms through the development group office (641) 377-2238. We are studying possible alternative uses for the cafe. One suggestion has been to make it available for meetings and special events. We would also be receptive to the right party leasing the facility and keeping it as a cafe.”

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6 Responses to “Niland’s Cafe in Colo, IA, closes — for now”

  1. Bill Says:

    Well that is sad. I am glad that we stopped in to have a meal while it was still open.

  2. Denny Gibson Says:

    Missed it by THAT much. I was there about 2 hours after they closed for the day on August 20 which was about 22 days before they closed (hopefully not) for good. With some better research & planning I could have spent the night in the motel and hope to still do that some day.

  3. Tom and Mary Lou Lockard Says:

    Saw the sad news this morning as I was enjoying my morning coffee in a Niland’s Cafe coffee mug! We were just there for lunch recently before our stop in Nevada for the Lincoln Highway Days celebration. No indication whatsoever from the proprietors that this was coming. They indicated that business was slow, but steady and they planned to be there when we returned in a few months to visit our grandkids again in Des Moines. While cruising the Lincoln in Iowa, we also patronized the Youngville Station, and had a delicious lunch at the King Tower Cafe in Tama.

  4. Dana McNair Says:

    To say that we are heartbroken would be an understatement. We stopped here for a break on our drive to California (Alice Ramsey Centennial Commemoration Drive) We were given a personal tour of the service station by Iona who later took care of us in the cafe. She made us root beer floats and fed us huge pieces of delicious chocolate cake. (It became the standard by which all other deserts were measured) The one-stop evoked wistful thoughts of an earlier time when driving the Lincoln Highway must have been the adventure of a lifetime for many folks. We spent about three hours there that afternoon, mostly because we were loath to leave. I will always have fond memories of the Cola Cafe. Hopefully someday, someone will open it again.

  5. Roadog Says:

    Just there on the Iowa Motor Tour. Really hope it reopens.

  6. Sal Paradise Says:

    When I was in the area last time I heard the place was closing from Retired Army COL Gregory L. Dolce. He said his wife, who hails from the area and has close ties, told him the owners were thinking about closing the past few years but managed to stay open. The recent economic mess, according to COL Dolce, hurt their cash flow enough that they had to close. The motel situation also factored in, as certain terms were required to keep it going. There was also talk of turning the diner into a gift shop connected to the motel, but that the cash flow from it wouldn’t warrant making the change right now. Dolce noted that his wife said the diner had been losing business over the recent years as the area is going through a ‘graying’ process and locals are getting older and moving on. I liked the diner myself. It was a welcome stop along the road and something I looked forward to. It had that down home midwest small town diner feel to it, with it’s simple menu and basic food. The meatloaf was actually good, and the chicken not too bad. You hope that someone will come along, work a deal with the new owners and re open the place. But, one thing we all are seeing too much along the old road are, basically, mom and pop joints go under when they are unable to sell the place. Diners are pretty low profit places to start, and to have the burden of mortage payments may be just too much to make a go of it.

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