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Three North Iowa women have big dreams for one of Clear Lake’s best kept secrets.

A wedding venue, an Airbnb, live entertainment and expanded hours with more offerings were some of the ideas Amanda Eden, her mother Beth Zadow and her aunt Karla Gardner threw around Tuesday afternoon as they sat outside at The Courtyard, formerly The Ladybug Café, at 1714 Seventh Ave. N. in Clear Lake.

“We have now goals, one-year goals, five-year goals, 10-year goals of keeping up the great food and adding new adventures,” Zadow said.

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The Courtyard, formerly the Ladybug Cafe, features farm-to-fork meals, a greenhouse and items from local vendors. 

The women and Zadow’s husband, Mitch, took over the restaurant, greenhouse and spa on Saturday — nearly a month after visiting the property and learning owners Wendy and Scott Ruby had listed it for sale.

The Rubys purchased the one-acre property in 2012, according to county property records, and housed an assortment of businesses focused on creating a holistic experience to empower people to live healthier, longer and more joyful lives.

“We laugh and say it’s one of the best kept secrets in Clear Lake because there are so many people here that have not heard of the bistro or been out here to eat or anything,” said Gardner, of Mason City. “We really want to get that out there.”

But The Ladybug Café was no secret to Eden, Gardner and Zadow.

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The Courtyard, formerly the Ladybug Cafe, features farm-to-fork meals, a greenhouse and items from local vendors. 

Eden said she and her mother visited the property last month to consider it as a venue for her younger sister’s September wedding and learned it was for sale.

An idea turned into a conversation and a conversation turned into action.

“I’ve always wanted to do something like this,” said Eden, who has two daughters, Brylee and Berkley.

The women said they were attracted to the property because of its unique potential and it offering them the opportunity to do more of what they enjoy, like cook, bake, spend time with family and meet new people.

Eden, Gardner and Zadow plan on building upon the business the Rubys established with the farm-to-fork meals, greenhouse, spa and nearly 20 local vendors.

“We’re here to keep it going and maximize its potential,” Eden said.

The Courtyard’s menu features fresh, made-from-scratch entrees, sides, salads and desserts dependent on ingredients provided to them by the Amish, farmers and other vendors.

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The Courtyard, formerly the Ladybug Cafe, features farm-to-fork meals, a greenhouse and items from local vendors. 

Tuesday’s menu comprised of chicken salad on a fresh-baked croissant, ultimate chicken salad on a fresh-baked croissant, chicken tacos or cheesy sausage and hash brown casserole for entrees; cucumber and snap pea dill salad, Amish macaroni pasta salad, berry fruit bisque, BLT dip with pita chips or chips and salsa for sides; and an abundance of dessert options.

Each person selects one entrée, side, salad and dessert in either a king- or queen-sized portion to enjoy on eclectic décor at intimate indoor or outdoor seating.

“It’s more of an experience with food versus going to an everyday restaurant and sitting down,” Eden said.

There will also be daily alcoholic and non-alcoholic drink specials featuring fresh ingredients as well as additional beer and wine options.

Zadow said they hope to begin offering wood-fire pizzas for dinner and live entertainment in the near future.

The greenhouse, which is stocked with Amish-grown flowers and garden produce, will remain open, and The Courtyard will remain an outlet for local vendors to sell their products.

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The Courtyard, formerly the Ladybug Cafe, features farm-to-fork meals, a greenhouse and items from local vendors. 

But there will likely be visible indoor and outdoor changes within The Courtyard before the fall.

“Our imaginations haven’t stopped since we bought it,” Gardner said. “There will always be something new and exciting to check out.”

The Courtyard will serve lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday with hopes of expanding morning and evening hours in the coming months. Walk-ins and reservations are welcome.

For more information about The Courtyard, call 641-357-4401 or visit its Facebook page.

North Iowa Nine: What's happening in North Iowa (with photos)

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Reach Reporter Ashley Stewart at 641-421-0533. Follow her on Twitter at GGastewart.

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