Bettendorf now has its own taste of the tropics with the opening of Zeke’s Island Café at the west end of Duck Creek Plaza, offering convenient counter service for take-out as well as seating for those who want to dine in the warm and friendly environment that Zeke’s is known for.
The new restaurant joins the Zeke’s Island Café at 1509 N. Harrison St. in Davenport's Hilltop Campus Village as the latest venture for owner/operator Jason Stewart.
Stewart said he had been looking for the right spot in Bettendorf to expand his business for about two years.
“When we began (in 2014), we were on Kimberly Road and had a lot of customers from Bettendorf who would grab food on the way home or pop over with the kids for dinner,” he said. “When we moved to Harrison, we saw those customers a lot less. We developed a whole new clientele on Harrison.”
Since opening the Bettendorf location in July, he said “We’ve seen a lot of familiar faces. They are really excited because it’s so convenient.”
While the Duck Creek Plaza location offers all the same favorites that Zeke’s customers have come to crave — like Huli Huli Chicken, Hawaiian Pulled Pork Sliders, Smothered Plantain Chips, Caribbean Tacos and Hawaiian Macaroni Salad — it is more of an a la carte menu. Also, while the Zeke’s on Harrison has a full bar, the Duck Creek location does not offer alcoholic drinks.
Seven Island Rice Bowls ranging from Garlic Chili Shrimp to the Caribbean Bowl make for a quick and tasty lunch for under $10.
Zeke’s has added a Pineapple Chicken Bowl, featuring sesame ginger chicken with fresh pineapple on a bed of island rice, garnished with scallions and shredded carrots, to appeal to first-timers who may be unfamiliar with island food.
“As it is, we’ve never made our food spicy, unless the menu item specifically says that,” he said. Customers can add sauces in various levels of heat.
While the restaurant now is open for lunch and dinner hours (Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.), Stewart plans to introduce a breakfast menu when the location celebrates its grand opening in October. Trial breakfast runs will begin on Saturdays in September, beginning with Sept. 14.
He is excited about the breakfast menu, which “we’ve been working on for years.”
It will feature a special blend of Kona coffee, Koko Kona Latte (cold brew Kona coffee, coconut milk and agave nectar served over ice), malasadas (a Portuguese raised donut with no holes) and a breakfast bowl called the Loco Moco – grass-fed ground beef, free-range eggs, rice, and gravy made from the restaurant’s own pork stock. The dish will be gluten-free.
Breakfast also will include spam and eggs (“that’s as Hawaiian as you can get,” Stewart says) and breakfast tacos (vegetables, meat, eggs, cheese, cilantro, green onions).
The entire Stewart family is involved in the business.
Like the food that Zeke’s offers, the island music, colorful Hawaiian art, and magazines for patrons to leaf through as they wait for their order all reflect the family’s love of travel and adventure.
Stewart invites those who haven’t experienced Zeke’s yet to stop by and see – and taste – for themselves.
“Whether you’re Jamaican, Caribbean, Hawaiian – islanders just have a huge family connection,” he said. “We’re trying to spread that vibe.”
What's New Bettendorf is a column of the Bettendorf Business Network.