1. Breitbach’s Country Dining, Balltown
Opened in 1852, Breitbach’s is the oldest restaurant in the state, and it definitely gives a delicious taste of local history. Breitbach's is family owned and operated and has been handed down from generation to generation. They serve amazing classic American food, like steaks, chicken, seafood, homemade soups and fresh baked pies. Located at 563 Balltown Rd., Sherrill, IA.
2. Barrel Drive-In, West Union
Barrel Drive In is a true American Classic, and it’s been around for a long time. Here, you can drive your car up to a speaker and eat in your car. They serve all manner of tasty drive-in food, like burgers, onion rings, shakes, cheese balls and more. Located at 204 IA-150, West Union, IA.
3. Flatted Fifth Blues & BBQ, Bellevue
Flatted Fifth Blues & BBQ is an amazing, historic BBQ restaurant located in a 170-year-old grist mill in Bellevue, Iowa. The building is actually the oldest in the state of Iowa, and it’s located right next to the bluffs and the Mississippi River. They specialize in southern-style BBQ, and they also feature live blues music. Located at 300 Potter Dr., Bellevue, IA.
4. Bonaparte Retreat, Bonaparte
In the Villages of Van Buren, there is an amazing historic restaurant called Bonaparte Retreat. They specialize in homestyle food, serving customers in a historic gristmill that was constructed in 1878 along the Des Moines River. Located at 713 1st St., Bonaparte, IA.
5. General Store Pub, Anamosa
The building where the General Store Pub is located was built in 1897 from local limestone, and it was originally a general store. It was immortalized by Grant Wood in his painting titled "Stone City, Iowa." Situated along the banks of the Wapsipinicon River, they serve delicious pub fare, like burgers, sandwiches, chicken, fish, pizza and more. Located at 12612 Stone City Rd., Anamosa, IA.
6. Ladora Bank Bistro, Ladora
The small town of Ladora is home to the Ladora Bank Bistro, a true hidden gem. They’re located in a renovated, incredible 1920s-style bank that’s on the National Register of Historic Places. They specialize in contemporary small plates in a unique and historic environment. Located at 811 Pacific St., Ladora, IA.
7. Ox Yoke Inn, Amana
The Ox Yoke Inn is located in the historic and charming Amana Colonies. As soon as you walk in, you’ll feel like you walked back in time, to an old country farmhouse. They serve family style German favorites, like schnitzel, sauerbraten, bratwurst, flammkuchen and more. Located at 4420 220th Trail, Amana, IA.
8. Canteen Lunch in the Alley, Ottumwa
The Canteen is a local favorite in Ottumwa, and it’s been around since 1927, since 1936 in its current location. It is an old-school lunch counter with 16 stools, and they specialize in classic Midwestern loose-meat sandwiches, malts and homemade pies. Located at 112 2nd St. E, Ottumwa, IA.
9. Duncan’s Cafe, Council Bluffs
Duncan’s is located in the historic part of Council Bluffs, and it’s a cozy, family-run restaurant serving delicious homestyle breakfasts and lunches for over 40 years. While you eat, you can check out the decor that gives an interesting taste of local history. Located at 501 S Main St., Council Bluffs, IA.
10. Taylor’s Maid-Rite, Marshalltown
Taylor’s Maid-Rite in Marshalltown is a family owned and run restaurant that is a throwback to the lunch counters of the ‘50s. Opened back in 1928, they’re serving up delicious maid-rites ground from 100% choice Iowa beef. You can also enjoy homemade ice-cream and fresh baked pies. Located at 106 S 3rd Ave., Marshalltown, IA.
11. Lighthouse, Cedar Rapids
This classic supper club was built in 1912, and you’ll definitely feel like you’re in a different era when you walk in. They specialize in fall-off-the-bone BBQ ribs, and they have interesting history, with infamous patrons such as Al Capone and John Dillinger. Located at 6905 Mt Vernon Rd. SE, Cedar Rapids, IA.