Atlas is a restaurant in Iowa City founded in September of 2000 by Jack Piper and James Adrian. Both owners are native Iowans, from Burlington, who first came to Iowa City to attend the University of Iowa in 1990. During college, and after, both found themselves working at restaurants. James worked at The State Room and Commanders Palace in New Orleans; Jack at the Stein Erikson Lodge in Park City, Utah. Then in 1999, not coincidentally, the pair found themselves in Boulder, CO where they worked at an ‘up-and-coming’ restaurant Le Roche. James became the executive chef and Jack managed the wait staff. They took note of the successes and failures at Le Roche, learned from their experiences, and eventually, began dreaming of a restaurant of their own.
Upon making the decision they returned to open a restaurant in Iowa City. Within months they secured a space in the heart of Iowa City, just a block from the Old Capital. Soon pedestrians and professors alike began stopping by the restaurant for a lunch wrap, some soup on a cold winter day, or a decadent dessert to get them through the afternoon. Since the day they opened, Atlas has tripled in size. They have added space to the restaurant with a summer patio and they opened a wine cellar in the basement. So, like any recipe for success, Atlas is composed of hard work, restaurant knowledge, and just a pinch of good luck.