The Chicken Lip Story
What the heck is a Chicken Lip..?
Our World Famous Chicken Lips are made with Voluptuous Chicken Breast Strips, rolled in flour and buttermilk, they are fried and tossed in our Lip Sauce, (think mild Buffalo sauce) Chicken Lips are Spicy - not HOT...
Chicken Lips are NOT chicken wings or boneless wings. Chicken Lips are made from fresh, non GMO "Gold N Plump Chicken" . Each Chicken Lip is hand breaded (24 hours in advance) this painstaking process produces a tender, juicy, succulent chicken breast strip, that is - Simply Breathtaking.
Chicken Lips are served with our homemade Budweiser Blue Cheese Dressing. Yes, it's ok to use Ranch if you prefer, but we highly recommend the Blue Cheese for the BEST Chicken Lip Experience.
Chicken Lips were created by Chef Peter Harman, The Food Guru in 1991, on Sanibel Island, Florida. Since then, Millions of Lips have been enjoyed by Raving Fans.
Chicken Lips are "Brain Food", they just might make you "smarter, faster, taller and better looking" - "Chicken Lips Build Champions". Once you try them you will know why our Lips have a Cult following and everybody says... Lips Rule!
The Graze Pizza Story
Graze Pizza is based on New York Style Pizza. Our Pizza is actually a thin crust pizza, that looks thick, not because of the amount of dough... but because it is so full of Air!
Graze Pizza Crust is "soft and crispy and as light as air".
We use PREMIUM Ingredients to top our pizza:
La San Marzano, Italian tomatoes
Bacio Premium mozzarella
Bellwether Farms ricotta
Liguria All-Natural Pepperoni from Humboldt, Iowa.
The pork for our Italian sausage comes from Acorn Bluff in Columbus Junction, Iowa.
Evan's homemade meatballs are made with beef pork and veal and a lot of Parmigiana, Reggiano.
Green Spanish Gordal Olives
Black Greek Kalamata Olives
House Pickled Red Peppers
Extra Virgin Italian Olive Oil
The Food Guru Twist:
The Secret to Graze Pizza is our Crust.
The process starts with an old world starter called a "Levain". This is the magical element that separates our pizza from the others.
Then, our dough goes through a 72 - 96 hour "cold fermentation process" (think beer brewing) this is where our unique flavor and airy texture comes from.
Think about this... Why is it that mankind lived on bread alone for 6,000 years and only in the last 40 years do we see gluten intolerance. The Food Guru believes it is not the wheat or the gluten... but all the chemicals and crap in commercial dough that is the culprit.
This is why we use only All-Natural high protein wheat flour with NO preservatives and a top secret water filtration system, plus, extra virgin Italian olive oil and a pinch of kosher salt... That's it.
Each Graze pizza is HAND TOSSED
We do this to keep the AIR inside the dough... Places that use a machine to press their dough... knock all the air OUT of the dough at the most critical time... right before it goes in the oven... we think this is silly. We hand toss our dough to order because our Goal is to produce a pizza that is "Soft and Crispy & Light as Air"
We bake our pizza at only 500 Degrees so the dough can get extra oven spring. We use a 30 year old Bakers Pride Y800 stone deck oven - because they just don't make them like they used to. This oven is over 7ft. wide, 5ft. deep and weights over 3000 pounds. Don't worry we had the Iowa Hawkeye Offensive Line carry it into the building for us. Yes, those guys can eat a LOT of Pizza.
Simply put - We are on an Epic Quest to make Graze Pizza the BEST hand crafted pizza that we can possibly make... We don't care what other people are doing... We are not following the herd... We are doing this of ourselves, because this is who we are... and what we do. We hope you give Graze Pizza a try...
The Street Taco Story
We LOVE Street Tacos:
They are the prefect compliment to Graze Pizza and Chicken Lips.
The simple truth is... We decided to start selling Street Tacos in June of 2023, because our Mexican, Guatemalan and El Salvadorian cooks LOVE to make Great Street Tacos... They are proud of the heritage and want to share it with the world.
So... one day after eating another amazing (authentic) south of the border creation... I decided we had to share this fabulousness with the world....
Tacos fit our takeout and catering menu - PERFECTLY. Street Tacos are delicious, affordable and Fun to Eat...
As I worked with the cooks to create a delicious authentic street taco menu, we had four ground rules.
Use The Best, Fresh Ingredients
Make it Authentic - (Non-Gringo)
Make it from Scratch (the way your "Abuela" would)
The final product must be "Bonito & Delicioso!"
It Starts with the Corn Tortilla:
Our Corn Tortillas are made with (Maseca) corn flour. Each corn tortilla is hand rolled and pressed and grilled fresh to order. This labor of love is not easy... But the final product is Extraordinary!
Two Delicious Meat Options:
The meat is the main ingredient in a street taco, and it must be "Ai Yah Yah" Delicioso!"
Chicken Al Pastor:
Our Chicken Al Pastor is marinated for 24 hours in a flavorful mixture of chili guajillo, sazon gyoza, pineapple and cinnamon. The chicken is grilled to order and served family style... so you can build your own street tacos. Building Street Tacos is Fun!
Fresh Iowa Pork Shoulder, slow braised in (Manteca - Pork Fat!) until it is tender and juicy and literally falling apart. (Think Pulled Pork) Then, it is grilled to order - to give it just a bit of a crunch. Pork Carnitas are served family style... so you can build your own street tacos. More Fun!
Salsa & Condiments:
Great Salsa and Great Condiments are the key to Great Tacos. We make fresh Salsa Roja, Salsa Verde, Salsa Morita, Pico de Gallo everyday. We serve our street tacos, family style with fresh lime, cilantro and sour cream. So you can build your Tacos, Your way!
The Food Guru Twist:
We call it the Stuffed Street Taco. We place a fresh hand made corn tortilla on la plancha and top it with cheese, then we top that with a flour tortilla... and when we flip it... It is just plain amazing...
When I did this the first time for the cooks - and filled it with pork carnitas and topped it with salsa and cilantro and a squirt of fresh lime... The cooks Loved It... and a Star was Born!
Stuffed Street Tacos are still in the experimental phase, so they are ONLY Available at The Graze Quick Serve
Wednesday - Saturday from 11am - 7p.
You gotta stop by and try them.
The Graze Story
Graze is a Locally Owned Business:
Graze Gourmet To-Go was started by Peter, Kim and Evan Harman.
We believe people want to feed their family something delicious and nutritious - AT HOME, but they rarely have time to cook.
We believe that local businesses and team leaders want to feed their people GREAT food, but they usually end up with underwhelming fast food, soggy pizza or cold sandwiches.
We believe there is a Better Way..!
We believe Catering and Takeout is the New Culinary Frontier.
We Feed Families:
Our food is designed for Takeout & Catering... It is designed to travel and we have excellent to-go containers that keep hot food hot and cold food cold. Other restaurants try to balance between in-house customers and takeout drivers... we think that is a recipe for mediocrity. This is why we are The Takeout & Catering Experts... TAKEOUT & CATERING is all we do... We FOCUS 100% on Takeout & Catering.
We Feed Business Groups:
When it's Really Important and It's Gotta Be Great... Contact the Catering Experts.
We Feed Athletes:
We have the pleasure of feeding Iowa Hawkeye Athletes since 2010. Football, Baseball, Mens and Womens Basketball, Volleyball, Soccer, Softball, Rowing, Gymnastics, Golf, and even The Wrestlers.
We Cater Weddings and Up-Scale Events
We have catered some really cool events, in some really cool places, including Kinnick Stadium, The Iowa Presidents Residence, The Childrens Hospital and Ted Pasha's Garage. We would love to cater for you too.
Community, Community, Community:
We believe in giving back and paying it forward. We are privileged to work with many local non-profit organizations, including, the Free Lunch Program, The Shelter House, AYA Cancer Research, The Chris Street Memorial Golf Tournament, No Foot Too Small, The Stead Family Childrens Hospital, to name a few. We don't tell you this to brag, we tell you this because it is part of our corporate mission to give back to the community, it is in our DNA. Perhaps we can help your non-profit organization.
Graze History - 2007-2017:
Graze opened in 2007 at 115 E. College St. In the Pedestrain Mall in downtown Iowa City. At night, Graze was a really cool 10 table cocktail bar that specialized is sharable food... a concept we call Grazing, hence the name... Graze. The Graze Bar featured cutting edge Martini's and Cocktails, in fact we won the Press Citizen Award for Best Cocktails 10 years in a row. During the day, we served a delicious lunch buffet. We did that because we knew the thing people really want for lunch is... Speed.
Graze History 2018 - 2021:
In 2018 our little 10 table restaurant did 1.5 Million dollars in annual sales, an incredible feat for such a small place! However; in 2019, the City of Iowa City, closed the street in front of Graze for 9 Months. This was NOT good. Then, in 2020... We did the Covid Thing. Then, in 2021, our landlord sold the building and the new landlord, knocked our building down... To build The Nest. So we scrambled and moved to our current location at 345 S. Dubuque St.
We didn't want to re-build Graze the way it was, because we believe the future of Iowa City will look quite different from the past. Morphing from a Full Serve Restaurant, to a Takeout and Catering Business... was a stressful and arduous task. The process was one step forward and one step backwards, then crash... Then, re-start again. Our objective was always to fail forward with a creative process we now call Thrashing. If you are a Graze supporter, you witnessed it first hand. The truth is... We are making this up on the fly, adapting to the changing times in a post Covid World.
It has taken almost three years to figure out WHAT Graze Gourmet To-Go is... Today we believe we have an excellent product and a great vision of the future. We Thank You for Your patience.
We believe this is the greatest time in human history to be alive and living in Iowa.
Our goal is to be your Go To Place for Gourmet Catering and Takeout. Web are just getting warmed up.
Thanks for reading this far and we hope to see you soon.