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New lunch wagon rolls into Monte


Julie Bowers, 52, owner of Julie's "What's for Lunch?" holds a hot meatloaf meal with all the fixin's on Monday, July 20, opening day of her rolling restaurant located behind the Lafayette Lodge No. 52, 100 S. Third St., in Montezuma. Bowers plans to serve hot lunches Monday-Friday for $5 from a converted 1987 Crestwood motor home. Bowers said she hopes the mobile unit will fill a void due to the closing of the Apple Basket and Ellie's.

A new eating establishment has rolled into Montezuma – literally.

Julie Bowers, owner of Julie’s “What’s for Lunch?” mobile diner, began serving hot lunches on Monday, July 20, out of a converted, 30-foot motor home in back of the Lafayette Lodge No. 52, 100 S. Third St. in Montezuma.

“I’ve wanted to do this for a very long time,” said the 52-year-old Bowers.

“Once the Apple Basket and Ellie’s closed I knew there was a need for lunch in Montezuma.”

Bowers plans to keep the mobile lunch spot open from 11 a.m. to 1-ish, “Or until the food runs out,” she noted.

Bowers said the hot lunch includes all the fixin’s plus a cookie for $5.

The menu consists of the following:

Monday – meatloaf

Tuesday – tacos

Wednesday – chef special

Thursday – pork

Friday – barbecue

“People can enjoy the park setting or mosey over the County Seat or perhaps grab a blanket and sit on the courthouse square,” said Bowers of her hot lunches. Bowers said she is committed to remaining at the site until the end of October, weather permitting.

The mobile lunch wagon is a converted 1987 Crestwood Lakeside motor home that she purchased one year ago. The mobile unit is licensed by the State of


Bowers had originally planned to open the mobile restaurant in Grinnell, but too many legal stipulations on mobile units changed her plans. She said members of the Lafayette Lodge voted unanimously to allow her to open the mobile lunch wagon.

Bowers is no stranger to Montezuma. She is the youngest of six children born to Dick and Doris Bowers and is a 1975 graduate of Montezuma High School. Her late grandmother, Pearl Bowers, was a long-time cook at the school.

Prior to returning to Montezuma from California shortly after the 9-11 tragedy, Bowers spent 14 years with the Grateful Dead Band, where she wrote databases for marketing the band’s merchandise and worked in sound production on the road. She returned to Iowa with her daughter, Laran, who currently attends the University of Iowa.

Prior to her new venture, Bowers had worked as kitchen manager at several Grinnell eating establishments including Bourbon Street, Depot Crossing and Lonnski’s Deli. She also spent time cooking during the summer months at Camp Lincoln and Camp Lake Hurbert, both in Minnesota.

Down the road, Bowers is considering adding a specialty salad and cold deli sandwiches to the menu. She also hopes to collaborate with Bob Penney, owner of the Smokin’ Hog BBQ for lunch, as well as offer catering.

“Between his (Bob) barbecue and my home cooking we can prepare a feast,” said Bowers.

Helping Bowers run the business is Ashley Eakins and Katelin Shepard. “I’m hoping it will fill a need,” said Bowers of the mobile kitchen venture.

“I serve a home cooked meal where everything is fresh.”

UPDATED July 21, 2009 1:45 PM

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