Iowa State is home to more than 3,000 international students who may not be used to Iowa's environment. Here are a two of the many restaurants in Campustown who bring international foods into the heart of Ames.
Wok N Roll
Offering a blend of traditional and non-traditional Chinese food to the Iowa State and Ames community, Wok N Roll has grown in popularity. Located on Welch Avenue, Wok N Roll brings the aroma and food from China to the dinner table of International and local students.
Ling Lu, owner of Wok N Roll, has made it her goal to bring a traditional home cooked Chinese meals to Ames. Although the restaurant has only been open for 10 months, Lu said she has been in the restaurant business for more than 18 years.
"I've been here [in Ames] 20 years — I've work at Hy-Vee 18 years and [...] this is my second restaurant," Lu said.
She previously owned a restaurant in Hong Kong, China.
Wok N Roll offers a variety of food such as Sichuan Dandan Noodles — a spicy noodle dish — to twiced cooked pork, with meal costs averaging about $10. The restaurant has become a popular area for students as well as professors.
"The food is traditional Chinese food; we have szechuan style — spicy [...] We have North-China style. You can try some different traditional Chinese and spicy food," Lu said.
In addition to serving home-cooked food, Wok N Roll has also been a place for Chinese students to celebrate Chinese New Year. Lu said her favorite memory was Chinese New Year in 2019, which took place in February, by bringing New Year's tradition to the Chinese students in Ames.
"Some students like the home food — like the traditional Chinese food — and we make very traditional and special to New Year's food," Lu said. "[...] Everybody comes here and it looks like a family."
Bringing the cuisine from South America, Café Beaudelaire is known to be the "soul of Brazil in the heart of Iowa."
Café Beaudelaire started with a strict Brazilian menu, but over time it adapted to the students' needs. To most, the restaurant is known for the Spanish Burger — it was voted "Iowa's Best Burger" in 2018, but it also serves a modified Brazilian family-style dish called "Feijoada Simple."
Claudio Gianello, the owner of Café Beaudelaire, said the impact the "Iowa's Best Burger" changed the atmosphere of the restaurant.
"We were kinda like a quiet [place] -- people had to find us, to create a little sense of discovery. I guess the word I'm looking for is like a little 'diamond in the rough' sort of thing," Gianello said.
After winning the contest, Gianello said the intimacy of the atmosphere changed since tourists came into the restaurant and disrupted the regular patrons.
Gianello opened Café Beaudelaire in 1990 with the intent of bringing a beautiful atmosphere. "Beaudelaire" is French for "beautiful air", according to Gianello — that's the atmosphere he's trying to bring to the café.
"Beautiful air — it translates to us 'beautiful atmosphere,'" Gianello said. "It's all about the atmosphere. If you have a good atmosphere and could accommodate the people, you can sell anything — that was the idea."