Iron Chef cast member, Food Network Spring Baking Championship winner planning Coralville restaurant

An artist’s rendering from restaurant owner Cory Barrett shows what the chef’s upcoming Coralville restaurant, Barrett’s Quality Eats, could look like when the new construction opens later in 2023. (Cory Barrett)

CORALVILLE — A chef with accolades from the Food Network’s “Spring Baking Championship” and “Iron Chef” is planning to open a restaurant this year in Coralville.

Chef Cory Barrett, an Ohio native who moved to Iowa in August, is aiming to open Barrett’s Quality Eats at 3242 Cross Park Rd. in May.

“It’s an approach to all-day foods that are done well,” Barrett told The Gazette. “This was, selfishly, foods I like to eat every single day that I couldn’t find easily.”

The bakery, deli and cafe concept will feature casual, counter service for quick but quality options. Breakfast items will include egg sandwiches and steel-cut oatmeal. For lunch, Barrett’s will offer soups, salads and sandwiches, rotisserie prime rib and chicken, and hearty salads.

“Things are a little more patisserie inspired,” Barrett said.

The new cafe, currently under construction, hopes to fill a niche in north Coralville for nutritious, high quality foods made with care for busy people.

With several partners, it will be the chef’s first venture in restaurant ownership. In the Corridor, Barrett has been a consultant to Big Grove Brewery. He made a recent appearance at the brewery’s exclusive Richard Dinner.

He also carries some impressive credentials. Prior to his work as a culinary arts instructor and program director at Michigan community college, he worked in fine dining for 12 years in cities across the country. He also was a James Beard Award semifinalist.

He has appeared as a sous chef on “Iron Chef America” 17 times, and won Season 5 of the “Spring Baking Championship” on Food Network in 2018.

With a background in pastries, the cafe will be sure not to neglect desserts, too. Barrett spent several years as a pastry chef for Lola, Chef Michael Simon’s renowned restaurant in downtown Cleveland, Ohio.

His latest move comes after years long discussions with Chef Ben Smart at Big Grove became a feasible opportunity.

“(Iowa) is the place I enjoyed coming to again and again, I could raise a family here,” Barrett said. “Ultimately, this was a place where I’d be secure enough in a group who could support a vision for a restaurant.”

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