Also in this edition: Vivian’s is adding a second location and Willie Ray’s Q Shack has been recognized with an award.

Cafe Muse

North Liberty coffee shop Cafe Muse is closing.

A Facebook post from the cafe announced the closure: “For the past four years, we have had the honor of serving this community. We are grateful for our incredible team, loyal fans, and all of the friends we have made along the way. We had such a tremendous run and enjoyed providing quality products, warm atmosphere, and new coffee concepts to the community. The pandemic has affected us as it did so many businesses worldwide. It is with heavy hearts, that we are planning to close Cafe Muse on October 3rd, 2020.”

Nasi Moradi and CJ Huang opened the coffee shop at 565 Cameron Way in February 2017, serving sandwiches, pastries and other food along with coffee, tea and smoothies.

Vivian’s Soul Food

Popular soul food restaurant Vivian’s is adding a second location. A Facebook announcement Monday declared Vivian’s Express Grill will open on the northeast side, with an opening targeted to December.

Jerome Smallwood first opened Vivian’s in July 2017, and in January it moved to a larger location at 2925 Williams Pkwy. SW, Cedar Rapids. The menu features dishes like fried catfish, fried chicken, smothered pork chops, shrimp and grits and more.

Willie Ray’s Q Shack

A Cedar Rapids restaurant that drew accolades for giving away thousands of free meals after the derecho has been awarded a $25,000 prize from Discover’s “Eat it Forward” program.

Willie Ray’s Q Shack, at 288 Blairs Ferry Rd. NE, was nominated by supporters for the award, which goes to Black-owned businesses, with winners selected from the list of nominees each week. The program aims to give away $5 million to 200 businesses.

Discover’s website says the program aims to help businesses hurt by the coronavirus pandemic: “This year, COVID-19 hurt the restaurant industry — especially Black-owned businesses — and has disproportionately impacted the Black community. We support Black-owned restaurants as part of our commitment to fighting systemic racism and injustice and driving change to create a diverse, inclusive and equitable place for people to work and live.”

Willie Ray’s owner Willie Ray Fairley posted his appreciation for the award and for community support on Facebook: “The amount of love and support over these last couple months has been surreal! Thank you to everyone that nominated and shared Willie Ray’s Q Shack for the discover sweepstakes! Its official … We won!!! This award will help us to continue to grow and have the ability to serve more people! We plan to expand so please stay tuned as everything is finalized. We will also continue providing free meals at least once a week. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!”

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