No. 6 Small Company: Devotay

No. 6 Small Company
117 N. Linn St., Iowa City

Devotay is not only popular with Corridor residents, but also its employees.

“We support the community that supports us, giving over $25,000 back to local charities in just the last two to three years. Plus, we have a remarkable retention rate for our staff, some of whom have been with us for 10 years, practically unheard of in the restaurant industry,” Kurt Friese, who owns the restaurant with his wife, Kim, stated in an email.

The restaurant employs 13 people and is located in downtown Iowa City at 117 N. Linn St.

“It may seem trite to call it a family, but it really is. It’s owned and operated by my family, and as I said many staff members have been with us a long time, we can count on each other,” he stated.

Part of the company’s success and culture is maintaining employees, he stated.

“Excellent managers, fellow staff and customers that make it a joy to work here. I feel very invested in this business and I feel that I am important to its success and share in its successes,” an employee wrote in a survey.

The menu is based on the flavors of the Mediterranean, with occasional influences from other ethnic cuisines. There is a complete wine and beer list, and all of it changes according to market availability, the seasons or the whims of Executive Chef Kevin Butler or Chef de Cuisine Daniel Knowles.

“I am able to work closely with local farmers and create truly good and wholesome food. I also really enjoy all the events that we get to do with the community. I feel that we definitely make a positive difference in our community,” an employee wrote in a survey response.

Devotay started in 1994 making spice blends and infused oils and selling them at the local farmer’s market. Soon after, there was a storefront selling oils, spices and other gourmet items. Customers began requesting catering, take-out sandwiches, then tables, and a restaurant was born.
The catering business stopped, but the restaurant flourished. Pottery made by Kim Friese is used to serve food and also sold at the restaurant.
-Pat Shaver