CEDAR RAPIDS — Longtime customers of the Tic Toc are cheering news that the beloved neighborhood restaurant and pub — with a history dating back more than a half-century — is reopening after a lapse of several years.
The Tic Toc, 600 17th St. NE, had a soft opening Saturday, March 13, 2021, with a limited menu, and plans to be open 9 a.m. to 2 a.m. Wednesday for St. Patrick’s Day.
Kory and Candy Nanke, and Kory’s brother, Kevin Nanke, bought the Tic Toc in 2017 and have said they would have opened sooner if not for the coronavirus pandemic, which hit the restaurant industry particularly hard.
They promise to bring back original recipes for hand-breaded mozzarella “logs” and other timeless favorites.
“Please oh please put the fried mushrooms on the menu, served along with a side of cool ranch dressing,” one fan wrote on Tic Toc’s Facebook page.
“I so hope you bring back the fresh fried breaded cauliflower & sweet potato fries!!!” wrote another, while some cited the Tic Toc’s onion rings.
In spite of signs recommending masks be worn, Iowa has no mask mandate to limit the spread of COVID-19, and maskless customers could be seen on opening day.
A row of clocks in the newly remodeled space gives a nod to the clock motif featured in the original Tic Toc.
The building that houses the restaurant opened in 1933 as Brittin Grocery & Market.
Owned by Charles Brittin, the grocery store was open through 1942, and after Brittin died in March 1943, the building hit the market, with “modern” five-room living quarters.
Jerry Spryncl, whose family owned several area sandwich shops and restaurants dating back at least to the 1930s — well known for their extra-large tenderloins — bought the building after returning from service in World War II.
He opened Spryncl’s Drive-In restaurant in 1947, with newspaper ads touting Spryncl’s “new location” and special Bar-b-que sauce. With a large parking lot, carhops took orders for the drive-in’s chicken, ribs and sandwiches.
The restaurant became the Tic Toc in 1964, when it was purchased by John “Jack” Kuncl, featuring menu items such as T-bone steak for $2.25 and shrimp for $1.35, including side dishes. Kuncl and his wife, Catherine, and their nine children operated the Tic Toc for a decade, selling it in 1974 to Karen and Jim Rooney. The Tic Toc changed hands over the years before closing in 2016.
“The stories could go on forever,” said Vince Kuncl, son of the late Jack Kuncl. “All seven of my sisters, along with me and my brother were involved. I have such memories even at a young age.”
See final photos from Smitty’s Shoe Repair in Marion and more from the Tic Toc, below: