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The Hamburg Inn Caught Fire This Weekend And Will Be Closed For A Month


Press-Citizen- Dave Panther, owner, said he now believes the fire started in an overheated washer and dryer unit, used to clean used aprons and towels. Panther said the diner will close for nearly three to four weeks for cleaning and repair. While the dining room and kitchen appeared untouched, aside from a thick layer of soot and holes in the floor from where firefighters punched vents to quell the smoldering flames, the basement was severely damaged. Wiring was scorched, a thin layer of muddy water lined the floors, and the wall behind the washer and dryer was blackened. Panther said he believes he will have to replace nearly all of his basement appliances, including the washer, dryer, water softener, hot water heater, and ice machine. Much of the Hamburg’s plumbing and electrical will have to be replaced as well, Panther said, which will skyrocket his original estimate of $30,000 in damage.

Well that sucks a lot.  Hamburg Inn is a landmark in Iowa City and one of the best breakfast joints in the whole entire world.  That’s not hyperbole.  It’s unbelievably good.  If anybody ever asks me where a good place to get great food in Iowa City is, I immediately say Hamburg Inn No. 2.  The place is for all walks of life.  It’s the restaurant where US president’s and major political figures go to grab a bite to eat when they visit Iowa City on the campaign trial.  It’s also the restaurant where hungover college kids (or guys like me in their mid-twenties who wish they were still in college and drink like it) go to get a plate of biscuits and gravy after a night of black out drunkenness in hopes that it’ll bring them some relief.  And it usually does.  That’s why it sucks so much that it’s going to be closed for awhile.  At least it’s only for a month or so.  If it had completely burned down we’d be holding candle light vigils across the entire state.

Quick story related to Hamburg: Me and a couple buddies went to an Anthony Jeselnik stand up show in Iowa City a couple weeks ago.  Throughout the show Jeselnik would stray away from his act and ask people in the front row questions, mostly about where they were from and what they do for a living basically so he could shit all over them.  It was great stuff.  One guy was a debt collector, one chick was a nurse, etc.  He got good mileage out of it.  But then he got to one guy and asked what he did for a living and the guy said he was a manager at Hamburg Inn.  Before Jeselnik could start tearing him apart the entire crowd instantly exploded into applause, it was maybe the loudest applause of the whole night. For a second it seemed like the guy was going to get a standing ovation and then be carried out on our collective shoulders like a king.  Jeselnik just moved on without saying another word to the guy.  It was awesome.  Everybody loves Hamburg Inn.  Everybody.