A local specialty, loose meat.

Iowa Tips     

“Is this Heaven?  No, Its Iowa,”  Actually its the place where people in Omaha go to buy beer after 1 am, but here are a few other tips.

Regional specialty-Des Moines is the epicenter for the Loose meat sandwich.  Its kind of like a sloppy joe, without the tomato sauce.  You can find them at the Maid Rite restaurant, with tons of locations around the area.

There is also a local mini chain with 5 statewide locations called the Machine Shed, famous for giant cinnamon rolls.

The Iowa State Fair is in Des Moines every August.
Ames, IA
Time Out-120 Kellogg Ave, Ames, IA 50010-Bar with some arcade and pinball games and karaoke
The Grove Cafe-124 Main St, Ames, IA 50010

Ankeny, IA

Leaning Tower of Pizza – Uptown Ankeny- 512 SW 3rd St, Ankeny, IA 50023

Bettendorf, IA (Davenport Area)


Ross’ Restaurant-24-hour diner serving loosemeat sandwiches called Rossburgers and diner food since 1938.-2297 Falcon Ave, Bettendorf, IA 52722 (563) 355-7573-they also all kinds of crazy disco fries like the VOLCANO.

Boone, IA


Van Hemert’s Dutch Oven Bakery -605 Story St, Boone, IA 50036

Cedar Falls, IA


Blue Room-201 Main St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613 (319) 277-9950

Octopus – 2205 College St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613  (319) 242-7789

The Library-2222 College St, Cedar Falls, IA 50613  (319) 277-3962


J’s Homestyle Cooking-1724 W 31st St #4831, Cedar Falls, IA 50613-Blue plate special kind of place.

Cedar Rapids, IA


Lighthouse Inn-6905 Mt Vernon Rd SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52403-Since 1912

Joensy’s Restaurant-2660 Wiley Blvd SW # B, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404-Try the hot beef sandwich

Starlite Room-3300 1st Ave NE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52402-Bar and grill home of the “super burger”.

Sykora Bakery- 73 16th Ave SW, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404-Old School European bakery

Council Bluffs, IA

Eats-Christy Creme-Burgers and ice cream since 1954-2853 N Broadway, Council Bluffs, IA 51503

Davenport, Iowa (Part of the Quad Cities)

The Quad Cities invented a style of pizza known as Quad City Style.  It has malt syrup in the crust that gives it a nutty flavor.  Its also cut into strips. Find it at Harris Pizza, Since 1960.  To be Confusing though, the original is across the river at 3903 14thAve., Rock Island, IL


Fat Boy’s Pizza-1627 Washington St, Davenport, IA 52804 (563) 322-5446-Another Quad cities style pizza joint.  They also have the regional taco style pizza.

Gunchies -2905 Telegraph Rd, Davenport, IA 52804  (563) 323-9867-Sports bar with the regional pizza and hit or miss reviewed bbq and wings.

Live Music-

Triple Crown Whisky Bar & Raccoon Motel – 304 E 3rd St, Davenport, IA 52801-Touring bands

Denison, Iowa
Eats-Salvy’s Restaurant-226 Ave C, Denison, IA 51442-Papusas and Salvadoran eats.
B and D’s Grill-534 IA-39, Denison, IA 51442-Bar with Prime Rib

Des Moines, Iowa


Black Sheep-223 E Walnut St, Des Moines, IA 50309-Small bar with vinyl djs often gothy.

Fong’s Pizza-Tiki cocktails lounge & a red-sauce Italian-223 4th St, Des Moines, IA 50309

Manning’s- 2102 Indianola Ave, Des Moines, IA 50315-one of those bars with dollar bills stapled to every surface

Hessen Haus-101 SW 4th St, Des Moines, IA 50309-Bierhouse, Polka music, German food, Pretzels

The High Life Lounge– 200 SW 2nd St, Des Moines, IA 50309-New bar made to look like 60s bar.  Hipster style.


Jethros BBQ-4337 Park Ave, Des Moines, IA 50321 and other locations.  THEY HAVE BACON WRAPPED RIBS and all day breakfasts featuring an Elvis platter with bacon, bananas and peanut butter syrup.

Jim’s Coney Island- 3700 SW 9th St, Des Moines, IA 50315-Chili dogs since 1971

B&B Grocery, Meat & Deli-2001 SE 6th St, Des Moines, IA 50315-Awesome sandwiches from a grocery

La Peña Mexican Restaurant-2010 Indianola Ave, Des Moines, IA 50315

Smitty’s Tenderloin Shop – 1401 Army Post Rd, Des Moines, IA 50315 (515) 287-4742-The place to get tenderloin in the state.  They have one called the Taco tenderloin with chili. Also Burgers including the “jack burger” with spicy “jack” sauce.

Bauder’s & Donut King- 3802 Ingersoll Ave, Des Moines, IA 50312-1917 Soda Fountain

Tavern Pizza & Pasta Grill- 1755 50th St, West Des Moines, IA 50266-Here a sub is called a grinder and they have hot subs with ground beef similar to loosemeat and sausage.

Bianchi’s Hilltop Restaurant-2820 Hubbell Ave, Des Moines, IA 50317

Bordenaro’s Pizza & Pasta- 6108 SW 9th St, Des Moines, IA 50315-Since 1977 Amazing onion rings.

Christopher’s-2816 Beaver Ave, Des Moines, IA 50310-Classic Steakhouse since the 1960s with a specialty Steak du Burgo- Beef Tenderloin Sautéed in Garlic Butter Cream Sauce w/Italian Seasonings

Henry J’s Taco House- 2924 SW 9th St, Des Moines, IA 50315-Since 1972 Cheese loaded Tacos in fresh fried tortilla shells.

LJ’s Burgers & Ice Cream-3702 2nd Ave, Des Moines, IA 50313

Mr. Bibbs Restaurant – Home of The Tenderloin Sandwich- 2705 6th Ave, Des Moines, IA 50313

Noah’s Ark Restaurant-2400 Ingersoll Ave, Des Moines, IA 50312-Old school italian joint with a giant Noahs ark mural. Since 1946.

Jesse’s Embers-3301 Ingersoll Ave, Des Moines, IA 50312-Since 1963, Steaks cooked on a open pit.  Classic..  Great onion rings.

Ted’s Coney Island-3020 Ingersoll Ave, Des Moines, IA 50312-Chili Dogs, former chain.  Ted sometimes still shows up.  Great onion rings.  I think Des Moines for some reason has amazing onion rings at many restaurants.

Dive Bars-

The High Life Lounge-200 SW 2nd St, Des Moines, IA 50309 – Closes 2AM (515) 280-1965-Homage to classic beer bars with High life, hamms and some good inexpensive comfort food and great burgers.

Amusement Park-
Adventureland: P.O. Box 3355, Des Moines, Iowa 50316- (800) 532-1286

Record Stores-
Zzz, 424 E. Locust St., Des Moines, IA 50309-Also hosts a record collectors show 4 times a year.

Live Music-

Captain Roy’s-1900 Saylor Rd, Des Moines, IA 50313-Indoor outdoor cafe bar with some decent live music like the occasional surf band.

Lefty’s Live Music-Low-key music venue with local beer
2307 University Ave

The Fremont- 1030 E 9th St, Des Moines, IA 50316-Bar with occasion metal bands
Gas Lamp-Artsy, boisterous watering hole with a diverse music lineup, comedy & trivia nights & a snack menu-1501 Grand Ave

Woolys– 504 E. Locust St., Des Moines, IA

Vaudeville Mews-All types of performances happen here.
212 4th Street ,Des Moines, Iowa 50309.

Elgin, IA

Location of the house used as the background of the American Gothic Painting

American Gothic House Center-300 American Gothic St, Eldon, IA 52554

Eats-Gunder Roadhouse-17455 Gunder Rd, Elgin, IA 52141-Formerly the Irish Shanty, famous in food blog circles for its burgers

Grimes, IA


Mema’s Italian Grinders– 2250 E 1st St Ste 300, Grimes, IA 50111-They make a sandwich formerly called the Guinea grinder which is half italian sausage and half ground beef called an italian grinder here.

Iowa City, IA

Iowa city music listings.

SUB SHOP-Pepperwood Place-1913 Broadway, Iowa City, Ia.
PHONE: 354-8574
Diamond Daves Tacos-Various locations

Record Stores-

Record Collector-116 S Linn St,Iowa City, IA 52240 (319) 337-5029

Live Music-2 am is when most bars close

The Blue Moose Tap House -211 Iowa Ave. Iowa City, IA 52240.
open daily from 4pm to 2 am.
Gabe’s Oasis -330 E. Washington St.-Iowa City, IA  (319) 354-4788-The Donnas have played here recently.  Ticketmaster carries tix.
Union Bar-121 E College St Iowa City, IA-319-339-7713
The Q Bar -211 Iowa Ave.-Iowa City, IA  (319) 337-9107
The Green Room-509 S. Gilbert St.-Iowa City, IA 52240

The James Theater-213 N Gilbert St, Iowa City, IA 52245-Performing arts theater in Iowa City, Iowa for all kinds of concerts including punk and hardcore  (319) 600-2936


The Mill Restaurant – bar, patio seating & frequent music. 120 E Burlington St, Iowa City, IA 52240 (319) 351-9529

Hamburg Inn No. 2-214 N Linn St, Iowa City, IA 52245-Since 1935!

Iowa Great Lakes, IA

Amusement Park

Arnold’s Park– Highway 71, Iowa Great Lakes, IA 51331
Phone Number: (800) 599-6995 Sioux City, IA On Lake Okoboji

Kellogg, IA


Iowa’s Best Burger Café-Part of a gas station & campground-1570 Hwy 224 S, Kellogg, IA 50135

Le Mars, IA

Eats-Bob’s Drive-Inn -Hwy 75 S,Le Mars, IA 51031(712) 546-5445 Amazing Hot dogs topped with loosemeat style ‘chili’

Marshalltown, IA

Eats-Taylors Maid-Rite-106 S 3rd Ave, Marshalltown, IA 50158-Loose meat is a regional specialty and this is one of many pioneers of the form. Basically a more simply seasoned taco meat.

Mason City, IA


Sidewinder Lounge-810 S Pennsylvania Ave, Mason City, IA 50401- Pool Tables and occasional bands


Three on the Tree Coffee & Cafe-128 N Delaware Ave, Mason City, IA 50401-Awesome local coffee shop with pecan rolls


Awe’s Sandwich Shop-629 S Federal Ave, Mason City, IA 50401-Home of the beef delight, aka loose meat sandwich

The Hungry Mind-16 S Commercial Alley, Mason City, IA 50401-Burgers and Sandwiches since 1976

Northwestern Steakhouse-304 16th St NW, Mason City, IA 50401  (641) 423-5075 Since 1920!

Suzie Q Cafe-14 2nd. St NW, Mason City, IA (Check info before going as they were temporarily closed due to a nearby fire.

LDs Filling Station-620 12th St NE, Mason City, IA 50401


Fat Hill Brewing-17 N Federal Ave, Mason City, IA 50401-Giant modern brew pub with accoustic or americana acts mostly

Ottumwa, IA

Eats-Canteen Lunch In the Alley- 112 2nd St E, Ottumwa, IA 52501-burgers and loose meat since 1936, the kind of place this site exists for

Pella, IA

Pella, Iowa is one of the handful of towns built to resemble a European Town and a windmill

Bakery-Jaasma Bakery– 727 Franklin St, Pella, IA 50219-Dutch Bakery


In’t Veld’s Meat Market-820 Main St, Pella, IA 50219-Deli that makes European style baloney.

Prarie City, IA


Goldie’s Ice Cream Shoppe– 304 W 2nd St #8578, Prairie City, IA 50228-Ice Cream shop famous also for their pork tenderloin sandwiches.

Riverside, IA

Future Birthplace of Captain Kirk- 60 Greene St, Riverside, IA 52327-Monument to the future location of the fictional meddling troublemaking Captain from Star Trek.  Also there is a statue and an annual Trek Fest.


Murphy’s Bar & Grill-71 W First St, Riverside, IA 52327

Sherrill, IA

Eats-Breitbach’s Country Dining : 563 Balltown Rd, Sherrill, IA 52073 (563) 552-2220-The oldest restaurant in Iowa since 1850s

Sioux City, IA

Sioux City borders Nebraska and South Dakota, who each have their own Sioux Cities.

Local Specialty-Twin Bing Candy Bars.

A & W-all over.  Old fashioned drive inns with to your car service.  And of course, root beer.
Town House Pizza-2701 Floyd Blvd. 712-252-5146-Not sure about the food but the building has old bar charm on the outside.

Milwaukee Wiener House No. 1-Classic Coneys with  meat sauce, onions and mustard, around 80 years.  309 Pearl Street, Sioux City IA 51101

Archie’s Diner-723 W 7th St  Sioux City, IA 51103 (712) 252-3060 Classic dinerSt, Wilton, IA 52778(under renovation 2023

Record Stores-
The Music Room-2000 Pierce St Sioux City, IA 51104 (not sure the accuracy as of 2023)

Sulla, IA

Coffee Cup Cafe-616 4th St, Sully, IA 50251(641) 594-3765-Diner food and the ubiquitous tenderloin. Closes between Lunch and dinner.

Winterset, Iowa (not far from Des Moines)

Located in Madison County, famed for covered briges written about in books


Birthplace of John Wayne
216 S. 2nd St.
Winterset, Iowa 50273 USA
(515) 462-1044 – toll-free (877) 462-1044


Frostee’s-101 E Green St, Chili Dogs, Ice Cream

Montross Pharmacy/Gift Shop/Fountain-120 N 1st Ave, Winterset, IA 50273(515) 462-2282-Soda Fountain.  Must visit

Waterloo, Iowa

Theme Park-
Lost Island Waterpark & Adventure Golf & Go-Karts-Multiple slides & pools plus an arcade, pool hall, go-kart track, mini-golf course & Rides-2225 E Shaulis Rd, Waterloo, IA 50701

Wauken, IA


The Old Rossville Store-851 Volney Rd, Waukon, IA 52172-Hearty food

Wilton, IA
Fro’s- 309 Cedar St, Wilton, IA 52778-occasional bands and a bicycle club
Candy Shop-
Wilton Candy Kitchen-310 Cedar St, Wilton, IA 52778
Arty’s Ice Cream and Grill-609 W 5th St, Wilton, IA 52778

Vintage postcard of Stones Restaurant, Marshalltown, Iowa “since 1887” “Under the Viaduct, down by the Vinegar Works”