Maytk Building in NewBo being converted into restaurant, art gallery and music venue

Written by B.A. Morelli – The Gazette – Oct 26, 2017

A retractable, rooftop sunroom is a highlight of the renovations underway at the 124-year-old Maytk Building

in the New Bohemia District of Cedar Rapids.

Built in 1893, the building — along with a more modern building next door — is being converted into a restaurant, art gallery and music venue called the Bohemian, said building owner Michael Richards.

Connecticut-based Roll-A-Cover, Int’l. is installing the all-glass enclosure this week. It is planned as a four-season dining area that opens to a rooftop patio overlooking the green in the heart of NewBo.

“On a nice day you can be outside, and in rain or snow you close it up and have year-round protection,” said Michael Morris, owner of Roll-A-Cover. “People need light. People need energy.”

The Maytk Building, 1029 Third St. SE, has been closed for construction for 18 months. Richards hopes to open in early 2018.

The Bohemian will offer food, music and art inspired by the culture of the Mississippi River Valley, he said.

“Country farm style cooking with high quality ingredients,” he said, adding it would be “a place for conversation, connection, community and relaxation. A quiet alternative to a sport bar.”

A wine bar is being built in the basement, a dining area and performance space on the main floor, and a private dining room for meetings or functions for 18 to 24 people on the upper floor. Outside will be the rooftop patio, along with another patio at ground level.

The Maytk Building had a long history in local Czech and Bohemian culture.

The original owners — the Maytk family — sold dry goods on the main floor and lived above, Richards said. During World War II, the building changed hands and Mid-State Distributing sold electronics, including the first televisions available in Cedar Rapids, he said.

Richards bought it in 2000 and hosted youth activities and events, led by his wife Lynette Richards, a former guidance counselor at Metro High School.

Interesting features surface throughout the building, such as copper light fixtures, brick archways and an old bar. A building nameplate of “Maytk” hangs on the brick facade, which Richards restored from a painted-over white to the original red brick several years back.

“We consider the whole building a work of art, and art takes time,” Richards said. “We’ve always had this as the vision.”