A Family-Style Serving

Perez family opens Hudson’s Southside Tap


Jonas Geerdes and Sy Butler

For most kids, household chores are a common thing, for Izaak Perez ‘16, chores mean a paycheck. Izaak works for his father Kevin Perez at various restaurants throughout Iowa City opened by Kevin and his partners.

“There’s a lot of flexibility,” Izaak said about working for his father. “A negative is that I can’t complain, and I can’t really quit. I have to do whatever my dad tells me to.”

Kevin, who started in the restaurant business bussing tables at age fourteen, keeps high standards for his restaurants.

“I like to control the food. Where it comes from, who makes it, how it’s imported. I never buy anything prepackaged,” Kevin said.

And it’s not just the food; Kevin likes to have a hand in every aspect of the restaurant, from building infrastructure to marketing, doing things himself is important to him.

“I’ve always got to be doing something. Iron working, steel working, the idea of being able to do something is fun for me,” said Kevin. “I’m not afraid to fail at something.”

Hudson’s Southside Tap, the newest venture by Kevin,  serves classic American foods such as burgers and sandwiches, and a variety of normal food. Unlike other restaraunts such as Stella’s and Shorts Burger and Shine, Hudson’s, however, was a first for Kevin in that the restaurant itself was incomplete.

Kevin and his partners designed the interiors of his restaurants. Construction for his restaurants are a family affair.

“I help build the walls in the kitchens and I help lay the floors. It takes a long time but it isn’t awful,” Izaak said.

But even with his sons helping him, Kevin knew the process would be difficult.

“I thought at the time it would go smooth, but it took twice as long,” Kevin said. “There is always something. It costs twice as much, something takes twice as long, it’s always something new.”

Compared to previous restaurants he was involved with, Kevin said opening up Hudson’s was a very different experience.

“We weren’t tearing into anything this time. We had to build everything from scratch in order to get something we wanted,” Kevin said. “Since this was the first new building and youngest that I have ever done, we had to rip everything out.”

Starting from scratch allowed Kevin to get creative with his building. The restaurant can fit 80 people, plus an outdoor porch that can hold 25 more in the warmer months. The finished wood floors attract interior design lovers while the eight flat screen TVs draw in sport fanatics.

Patrick Henkhaus, ‘16, knew it was Perez-styled restaurant the moment he walked in.

“It had that Kevin style,” Henkhaus said on the design. “It had a Short’s Burger vibe with a family-friendly feel.”

Kevin said that while, he enjoys the new restaurant, he’s always looking for something more.

“I don’t know what I’ll do next,” Kevin said. “I always prefer to think that we stumble through life, and I’ll just keep stumbling until the next opening.”