Davenport’s RME to Hold June 4 Open House, Welcomes Zeke’s Island Café as New Tenant - The Echo

River Music Experience — with other local businesses and nonprofits that make their home in the historic Redstone building in downtown Davenport – has a lot to celebrate, including the planned opening of a new Zeke’s Island Café and re-starting of the free weekly Live@Five concert series.

They all will celebrate the start of the summer on Friday, June 4 with their first outdoor concert of the year, and a building-wide Open House. The 1892 Redstone (129 Main St.) is welcoming its newest tenants, Underground Economy and Zeke’s Island Café.

The building now houses two restaurants — Tacobar and Zeke’s Island Café; four nonprofit organizations – RME, the Bix Beiderbecke Memorial Society, Bix Beiderbecke Museum & Archive, and Empower House, and two local businesses — Estes Construction and Underground Economy.

“In collaboration with one of our newest tenants, Underground Economy, we came up with the idea of treating the June 4th Live@Five concert as a sort of reopening celebration and kick-off to the long-awaited summer season,” RME executive director Tyson Danner said recently.

“We’ve all struggled with Covid-related restrictions, and this is an opportunity to welcome our patrons back, we have a lot to celebrate,” he said.

Former home of the RME community stage, the old Bad Boyz Pizza closed with the pandemic shut down in March 2020 (after less than a year in the ground-floor space) and didn’t reopen, Danner said. Bad Boyz (which has restaurants in Moline and Davenport) followed another long restaurant vacancy since the RME space was formerly vacant after the January 2018 closing of Falbo Bros. Pizzeria.

“We’re thrilled that we found a new partner in Chef Stu and Zeke’s Island Café,” Danner said, noting they plan to be open June 4. “It was a top priority for us to find a restaurant partner that understood the power of our mission as a nonprofit organization and the value of music. Zeke’s is highly respected in the community, and we are excited for what the partnership will bring.”

“On a personal note – our staff are all beyond excited that we will have such great food from Chef Stu in the building in addition to the always-fantastic Tacobar and Chef Toby. We see many working lunches in our future!”

Cultivating a “community island experience” with cultural insights from the families and stories about the island life have influenced Zeke’s culture and cuisine just as much as the recipes, according to Zeke’s, whose main location is at 842 Middle Road, Bettendorf.

Zeke’s menu has been influenced by Jamaican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, Venezuelan, Dominican, Chamorro, Hawaiian, Samoan and Mexican cultures, as well as the many insights and recommendations by those who have traveled all over the world.

Zeke’s also recently opened Rico’s Tropical Tacos at the BettPlex, 5039 Competition Drive, Bettendorf.

The June 4 open house will be held from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., with the Live@5 concert in the RME courtyard (5-7 p.m.) featuring Jason Carl & The Whole Damn Band, sponsored by Northwest Bank & Trust. Guided tours will be offered throughout the Redstone building, highlighting participating businesses and organizations.

The Quad Cities Chamber of Commerce will also be conducting a ribbon-cutting ceremony for Underground Economy at 4 p.m. Underground Economy is housed on the newly renovated second floor with a brand-new recording studio and coworking space.

Some guidelines will be in place to ensure the health and safety of patrons, staff, and musicians, and will be reviewed and revised as the summer progresses.

“RME is still the heart of downtown, and the open house will be a wonderful way to shake off the past year and fill the courtyard with people again during Live@Five,” Kyle Carter, executive director of the Downtown Davenport Partnership, said.

“It also provides a great opportunity to introduce the public to new arrivals in the building — Zeke’s, Underground Economy — and Tacobar,” he said. “It feels like a grand-reopening of downtown for the summer with the return of Live @ 5 and concerts getting booked again. It will be great to show off the Bix Museum again, as well.”

Live@Five and other highlights

RME will kick off its popular Friday Live@Five free courtyard concert series, which will return on the full June – September weekly schedule this year (excluding July 4th weekend and Sept. 17). These concerts are 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., free, open to all ages, and supported by a variety of community sponsors.

“Our concerts feature local bands and are a great way to kick off the weekend after work on Fridays,” said Jesse Ricke, RME’s community engagement coordinator.

This summer’s lineup is:

 

Other businesses and organizations in the Redstone building at 2nd and Main streets are:

Empower House 

Brain Injury Clubhouse of the QCA is a community that provides empowerment for a more purposeful life after brain injury. Empower House is a 501(c)3 organization that serves adults with acquired brain injuries (BI) and their families. The goal of our organization is to help BI survivors re-engage in their community in meaningful ways.

To learn more, visit empowerhouseqca.org or call 563-232-1002.

Bix Beiderbecke Museum and Archive

The Bix Beiderbecke Museum and Archive is a non-profit museum honoring the legacy of Davenport native Leon “Bix” Beiderbecke (1903-1931). Located in the lower level of the River Music Experience building, it houses a collection of artifacts from Bix’s life, including items from the lives of various musicians who played with Bix throughout his career.

The museum is also home to the largest archive of professional resources and artifacts relating to Bix Beiderbecke and his family used for research on his life and the development of jazz music in America. To learn more, visit www.bixmuseum.org or call 563-326-1333, ext. 114.

River Music Experience

River Music Experience (RME) is a non-profit performing arts center providing opportunities for the community to listen to, learn about, and play music. The purpose of RME is to provide educational programming and live music performances that would not otherwise be available in the Q-C area. To learn more, visit www.rivermusicexperience.org or call 563-326-1333.

Underground Economy 

Underground Economy is the newest collaborative hub for entrepreneurs, musicians, and creative professionals. Its goal is to empower entrepreneurs and creatives by providing the resources and the tools needed to succeed. UE offers a professional recording studio, a podcast station, open coworking and more. It also provides a variety of media production and marketing services for artists and businesses as well.

To learn more, visit www.undergroundeconomyqc.com or call 563-271-0685.

Bix Jazz Society

The Bix Jazz Society has been around 50 years and is excited to present its 50th festival this Aug. 5 to 7 at Rhythm City Casino Event Center, Davenport. It looks forward to showing off the new office at the RME and offering souvenirs for fans.

The mission of the Society is to perpetuate the music and memory Bix Beiderbecke through an annual jazz festival, jazz education programs, and the preservation of traditional jazz. To learn more, visit www.bixsociety.org.

Estes Construction 

A leading regional construction manager and general contractor with locations in Davenport and Des Moines, Iowa. To learn more, visit www.estesconstruction.com.

Tacobar?

Handcrafted Tacos in Downtown Davenport, whose slogan is: “chef toby. tortilla shells. no rules.” For more information and menu, visit www.tacobarqc.com/menu.

Zeke’s Island Café has its main restaurant at Duck Creek Plaza, Bettendorf. To find out about the new BettPlex location, visit https://zekesislandcafe.com/rico-s-tropical-taco/. Visit them on Facebook at www.facebook.com/zekescafe.

Jonathan Turner loves music and loves writing, so The Echo is a harmonious marriage of his twin passions. A pianist for 50 years, his undergrad and grad degrees are in music from Oberlin and Indiana, and he’s an accompanist for Zion Lutheran Church, Davenport. Turner has covered the Q-C arts and culture scene since 1995, including for the Dispatch-Argus and Quad-City Times, and for QuadCities.com and WVIK since March 2020.

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