We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Gramma’s Kitchen, Walcott
In 2011, Gramma’s Kitchen won the Best Breaded Tenderloin in Iowa, awarded by the Iowa Pork Producers. They also serve a large variety of other comfort foods, like homemade chicken pot pie, amazing meatloaf, country fried steak, and much more. These are served, of course, with a salad bar, homemade bread and a choice between several kinds of potatoes. Location: 3408 N. Plainview Rd., Walcott, IA.
2. Harvey’s Diner & Pub, Redfield
Harvey’s is a fairly new addition to the Iowa comfort food landscape, but they’ve already made an impression. They opened in place of an old local favorite, the Dexfield Diner, and are serving some of the beloved menu items from the diner on the new menu, like the Dexfield Diner’s prime rib. The rest of their menu also features comfort foods with locally sourced ingredients, like country fried chicken, smoked pork chops and German chocolate cake. Location: 904 1st St., Redfield, IA.
3. Bluebird Diner, Iowa City
This unique diner boasts several local partners, including Grass Run Farms, Farmer’s Hen House Eggs, Dreesman Buffalo Ranch, Ruzicka’s Meat Processing and many others. Their self-described Midwestern soul food is absolutely mouth-watering. They serve delicious breakfasts, a large array of burgers that are both inventive and tasty, as well as a variety of comfort foods, like meatloaf with garlic mashed potatoes, shrimp ‘n grits, mac ‘n cheese, red beans & rice and more. Location: 330 E Market St., Iowa City, IA.
4. Bubba, Des Moines
Bubba serves southern comfort foods, like biscuit sliders (biscuits filled with pulled pork, rhubarb jam and fried onions), fried green tomatoes, deviled eggs, chicken-fried steak and chicken & waffles, and that’s just the tip of the delicious, fat-filled iceberg. Location: 200 10th St., Des Moines, IA.
5. Ox Yoke Inn, Amana Colonies
The Ox Yoke Inn, in Iowa’s charming Amana Colonies, serves classic, family style, German-American comfort food in a charming historic building. How can you go wrong with wiener schnitzel, honey apple pork loin, fried chicken and sides of potato pancakes or hot German homemade potato salad? Location: 4420 220th Trail, Amana, IA.
6. Country House Family Restaurant, Colo
This homey, no frills restaurant serves up all kinds of delicious comfort food. Their tenderloins were named runner up in 2011 for Best Breaded Tenderloin in Iowa. They also have a wide array of other items, like burgers, chicken and noodles and amazing baked goods. Chocolate cream pie and a giant homemade cinnamon roll with frosting and a side of real butter? Yes, please! Location: 68168 US-30, Colo, IA.
7. Breitbach’s Country Dining, Sherrill
This is the oldest restaurant in Iowa, so you know they’re doing something right. You’ll be surrounded by charming handmade quilts and turn-of-the-century furniture as you enjoy a large salad bar and generous portions of comforting goodness like steak, chicken, center cut pork chops, and barbecued country ham steak with mashed potatoes and gravy. Location: 563 Balltown Rd., Sherrill, IA.
8. Maid-Rite, Muscatine
No comfort food list would be complete without a Maid-Rite. The Muscatine Maid-Rite was the original Maid-Rite location, and it combines the '50s-style diner setting with mouthwatering 100% ground beef loose-meat sandwiches, sides and delicious shakes. And if you’re not in the Muscatine area, there are multiple Maid-Rite locations throughout the state. Location: 3414 N Port Dr., Muscatine, IA.
9. Iowa Machine Shed, Davenport
With warm ups like beer cheese fondue, country fair onion rings, or baked potato soup you’ll be off to a good start. Add entrees like the award-winning roasted stuffed Iowa chop (stuffed with a warm apple raisin dressing) glazed with apple whiskey sauce, homemade chicken pot pie and roast turkey and dressing, you’ll leave comforted and satisfied. Location: 7250 Northwest Boulevard, Davenport, IA.
10. Tastee In and Out, Sioux City
This classic drive-thru has been around since the ‘50s, and it’s an iconic Sioux City landmark. With loose meat sandwiches made from fresh ground beef, hot dogs, fries and fried cheese balls, followed by a soft serve cone or a chocolate sundae, you’ll feel like you just got a food hug. Expect to eat in your car, because the drive-thru is the restaurant. Location: 2610 Gordon Dr., Sioux City, IA.
11. Starboard Market, Clear Lake
Is your idea of comfort food a big fatty sandwich and a steaming bowl of soup, chased with mind-blowing homemade baked goods? Then Starboard Market is definitely something to check out. How about a pastrami on rye, some chicken enchilada soup and a triple chocolate hot mess brownie? Location: 310 Main Ave., Clear Lake, IA.
12. Cactus Bob’s BBQ Corral, Johnston
If BBQ is your thing, Cactus Bob’s does it right. With slow hickory smoked baby back ribs or St. Louis style ribs, turkey breast or chicken, sides like cornbread muffins, potato salad and mac ‘n cheese, and an array of homemade desserts, there’s plenty of comforting deliciousness to choose from. Location: 5955 Merle Hay Rd., Johnston, IA.