Here are a few more restaurants to add to your list. All are unique, and the food is wonderful.
1. Canteen Lunch in The Alley, 112 E 2nd St., Ottumwa
It doesn’t look like much, but if you are in Ottumwa and also hungry, this is the place to go. It’s well-known for serving an incredible loose meat sandwich. The place has 16 bar stools, so expect a crowd at lunch time.
2. . Archie’s Waeside, 224 4th Ave NE, Le Mars
This unassuming restaurant in north western Iowa won the James Beard Foundation Award given to family-owned restaurants across the country. The owner still cuts steaks the way his grandfather did. This place belongs on your Iowa restaurant bucket list.
3. The General Store Pub, 12612 Stone City Rd., Anamosa
This building, constructed of local limestone in 1897, sits right up against the banks of the Wapsipinicon River. The building is in a Grant Wood painting. Try one of their rib specials or their amazing wings. On a nice day, you can sit outside on the deck and watch the river.
4. Ladora Bank Bistro, 811 Pacific St., Ladora
This restaurant is inside a historic 1920s bank. The atmosphere is unique, but the menu is what puts this place on the map. It’s a shared-plate restaurant, so it’s perfect for a road-trip destination with friends.
5. Breitbach’s Country Dining, 563 Balltown Rd., Sherrill
This six-generation Iowa family owned restaurant remains on its original site. The 1852 restaurant burned in a gas explosion in 2007. The family rebuilt, but ten months later, that building burned to the ground, as well. The third building, put into use in 2009, still stands. It’s one of the most popular restaurants in the area.
6. Unkie’s Entertainer, 222 N Ann St., Thor
This is yet another unassuming Iowa restaurant. You’d drive right by if you didn’t know about their famous lobster, shrimp, and rib eye dinners. Some say it’s the best food in the state.
7. La Juanita, 613 Lake Ave., Storm Lake
Authentic Mexican food at a great price in a fun and laid-back atmosphere awaits in Storm Lake. Order at the counter, enjoy your food, and pay on your way out.
8. Goldie's Ice Cream Shoppe, 304 W 2nd St., Prairie City
This place serves an enormous breaded tenderloin sandwich. They may have "ice cream" in their name, but they are known for their food.
9. Breakfast House Café, 820 6th St., Cedar Rapids
There’s a reason people wait in line for an hour to get into this humble and tiny breakfast-only restaurant. The food is made-to-order by one cook in their open kitchen and it’s amazing.
10. Hamburg Inn No. 2, 214 N Linn St., Iowa City
This place is an Iowa institution. It’s where all the political big-wigs go to make an appearance, have some coffee, and get their pictures taken. Seriously though, try the pie shake. It’s life changing.
11. Bluff Lake Catfish Farm, 9343 95th Ave., Maquoketa
If there’s one place on this list of family owned Iowa restaurants that’s worth the drive and worth the wait, it’s Bluff Lake Catfish Farm. Maybe skip a few meals before you go. It’s an all-you-can-eat place with the most amazingly fresh, delicious, and traditional foods.