Meet Mitzi Elbert, bar rescuer.
The owner of Moose McDuffy’s restaurant and bar in the MedQuarter Regional Medical District can be found there most days — often working 15-16 hours a day to ensure her business succeeds.
“It’s my own little bar rescue,” she says with a warm laugh.
Mitzi and her husband, Larry, owned this place in the past. They also own and turned around another establishment across town. So when this place fell on hard times during the pandemic and went up for sale, they bought it back.
Larry passed away in September, though. “Now I’m doing it by myself,” she says. Getting Moose McDuffy’s on its feet provides Mitzi with a welcome focus for her energy.
“I’ve cleaned it up and put in new kitchen equipment. I’m still working on the staff,” Mitzi says. “Food safety and customer service are what I’m catering toward.”
On the menu is an assortment of pub food: burgers, sandwiches, salads and apps, plus daily specials. Taco Tuesdays are very popular with customers, Mitzi says.
Because the pandemic is keeping many people at home, though, Moose McDuffy’s offers takeout, curbside pickup and DoorDash delivery. This new normal doesn’t bother Mitzi.
“I actually think it’s a good thing, and I hope it stays. My mom had a heart valve replacement. Dad has Stage 4 pancreatic cancer. These services are very good for people like them who can’t get out much,” she says.
So safety is job No. 1 now and for the foreseeable future. “I don’t want anyone to miss out on any experiences,” Mitzi says.
Great Location in the MedQuarter
Moose McDuffy’s location on First Avenue NE in the MedQ couldn’t be better, Mitzi says. “It’s centrally located and within walking distance of just about everything.”
That means the restaurant — one of eight in the MedQuarter — serves a good variety of people. Customers include clinical staff and employees from the MedQ, Coe College students and Quaker employees. In fact, Mitzi is extending kitchen hours to 1 a.m. to better serve the late-night crowd, including late-shift workers.
As a business owner, she appreciates the district’s welcoming vibe and sense of community — “They are some of the most wonderful people here, so helpful” — and applauds the updates the MedQ has recently made to spruce up things along First Avenue.
She invites Cedar Rapidians and patient families to check it out.
“Give Moose McDuffy’s a try,” Mitzi says. “We’re very customer service-oriented. We’re very safety-oriented.”