Butcher Block Steakhouse - Cedar Rapids

A Bit of Our History

Our restaurant group is owned by Richard Pankey and the company is called Yeknap1 (Pankey spelled backwards.)  Richard and Heidi

graduated from Washington High School in 1967, married in 1969 and had two children, Phil and Melissa.  A partnership that has reached 45 years and continuing.  Heidi assists with auditing company paperwork, caterings, and grandkids.  She is a “professional volunteer” and is always helping somewhere.  Phil is in charge of business development and oversees all aspects of the restaurant operation, including the maintenance of all equipment, staffing, and assisting in the kitchen.  Melissa coordinates many of the things our customers see within each facility. She has two children who enjoy being a part of the business and help whenever.

Customers may notice the small details but may not realize this is a family with deep roots to Cedar Rapids.  It is an operation where we care about

our staff members and can truly say many of our patrons have  become valued friends.

In 1999, Phil Pankey started working at the Clarion Hotel as a line cook.  He moved from there to Collins Plaza where he became a Saucier Chef specializing in making soups, sauces and gravy. From Collins Plaza he moved to a Marriott Hotel in Minneapolis working his way up to the Sous Chef.  His employer recognized his passion for the restaurant business and promoted Phil to Executive Chef at a new Marriott Hotel in Richmond,

Virginia.  Phil was promoted to Director of Food and Beverage at the  Richmond Marriott West with responsibility for all kitchen and

banquet facilities.

In 2004, Phil decided he wanted to move back to Cedar Rapids so his son, Riley, could grow up around his cousins, thus the name for the

diners.  This was a dream come true for the Pankey family in  Cedar Rapids. Plans were made to purchase a small diner restaurant at 836 1st Ave NE, then called Willy’s.  Phil worked 70 hour weeks to build the business and eventually renamed the restaurant Riley’s Cafe.  Riley’s Cafe continues to be a very popular breakfast house, even hosting the

President of the United States for breakfast in 2013.

Growth for the restaurant business came when a vacant facility in Fairfax, Iowa, became available.  It is now called Pit Stop.  The next restaurant to open was another Riley’s Cafe located on Center Point Road NE followed

by another Riley’s Cafe on Boyson Road NE.  The Butcher Block  Steakhouse located across from St. Luke’s Hospital (Unity Point) was

opened in September of 2012.  With six grandchildren in our family, it was time to purchase the Dairy Queen in Fairfax.  In May of 2014, the newest

Butcher Block Steakhouse opened with seating for up to 340.

Through this ten year growth period, our family has continued to be involved with our community, staff and their families.  We support civic projects, attend the Paramount Theater, Theater Cedar Rapids, Kernels Baseball games, Roughriders Hockey, Titan Football, school events, and Metro League sports.  Our family has hosted several students from  Europe, filled our share of sandbags during the 2008 flood, kayaked on the Cedar and provided food to the homeless.  We participate and enjoy the variety of events that Cedar Rapids provides the community, including

the Freedom Festival, the fireworks show and  Downtown Farmers Markets.

The fine staff that work for us have become friends as we have gotten to know their families and have shared their sorrows and joys.  We

understand that the customer is the most important ingredient in having a successful restaurant operation.  We have taught our family that when you meet a person, greet them with a firm handshake, look them in the eye,

smile and pay it forward.  Even small things can make a difference.

Above all else, we know that   “Everything Matters” “All Days are Good Days, Some Just Better Than Others” & “ The Most Important Things in Life Are Not Things”

The Pankey Family