Iowa diners offer a glimpse into our culinary past. They also offer amazing shakes, thirst-quenching, ice-cold pop, amazing burgers, crispy golden fries, and classic Iowa breaded tenderloin sandwiches. Here are just 10 of the many amazing diners located in Iowa.
1. Goldie's Ice Cream Shoppe, 304 W 2nd St., Prairie City
This classic Iowa diner has a long list of awards and recognition. They received the "Iowa's Best Tenderloin" award from the Iowa Pork Producers, and have been featured by Road Tips, Urbanspoon, Iowa Foodie, Chicago Tribune, and Iowa's Simple Pleasures. Fans of this place appreciate their onion rings, chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream, and of course the famous giant Iowa tenderloin sandwich.
2. Palisades Cafe, 117 First Street W, Mt. Vernon
The menu changes a bit with the seasons and availability of locally sourced food, but there are a few favorites that frequent diners hold in high regard. The beef short ribs are among the best meals Iowa has to offer. This little cafe has a reputation for serving consistently mind-blowing food.
3. Canteen Lunch in the Alley,112 East 2nd Street, Ottumwa
It's located on an alley, under a parking ramp. Sounds enticing, huh? This Iowa diner has been around since the 1930's, and it is nearly mandatory that you stop and eat there if you are traveling near Ottumwa. Loose meat sandwiches are their specialty, but visitors rave about the strawberry rhubarb pie, and the option of adding peanut butter to the sandwich. Military members get a 50% discount off of an already incredibly inexpensive meal.
4. George the Chili King, 5722 Hickman Road, Des Moines
This Iowa diner has been around since 1952, serving the best hot dogs with coney sauce, tenderloin sandwiches, crispy fries, and amazing shakes. This place also had a moment of fame on Food Network's Diners, Drive-In, and Dives.
5. Taylor's Maid Rite, 106 S 3rd Ave., Marshalltown
The finely ground hamburger that is the heart and soul of a Taylor's Maid-Rite sandwich is what people rave about. This diner is part of the Iowa-based Maid Rite chain, but it's been independently owned by the same family since it opened in 1928. Fast and friendly service, delicious milkshakes, and iconic loose meat sandwiches is what you'll get, here.
6. Penny's Diner. 128 Willow Road, Missouri Valley
Here at Penny's, the diner-dream is alive and well. Order the cheesesteak, puffy golden fries, or a skillet dish.
7. Newton's Paradise Cafe, 128 E 4th Street, Waterloo
This upscale cafe has a hip vibe and the best cheeseburgers, around. Come in for the ambiance and stay for the food.
8. Bluebird Diner, 330 E Market Street, Iowa City
For breakfast lovers, this diner is a dream-come-true. It's "Midwestern Soulfood" at its finest. Everything on the menu is cooked from scratch, and this restaurant is BFF's with some of the area's best local small farms so they work with great ingredients.
9. The Fort Diner, 801 Avenue H, Fort Madison
Made from scratch blueberry pancakes are a favorite at this iconic diner. Try the hand-pounded tenderloin sandwich and a slice of pie.
10. Dinky Diner, 104 NE 4th Street, Decatur
This small burger joint is worth a try when you are in Fort Madison. Locals love it and visitors rave about it. If you are especially hungry, order "The Big One" burger.
Where is your favorite Iowa diner? Tell us all about it in the comments.
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