Iowa April 03, 2018
The 8 Best Little Food Towns In Iowa You Need To Explore Before They Get Too Popular
The best food towns in Iowa are scattered all over the state, and those Iowans in the know will be the first to tell you their favorite town is worth a road trip! Gather your favorite foodie friends and head out to any of these towns for a day trip or even a long weekend – and be sure to pack a big appetite!
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
1. Le Mars
Le Mars is a tiny town that's internationally known! Not only is this town considered the Ice Cream Captial of the world, but a James Beard Award-winning steakhouse is located here as well. Visit the Blue Bunny Ice Cream Parlor and Musuem, enjoy one of the finest steaks in the country at Archies, or enjoy an old-fashioned loose meat sandwich at Bob's Drive-Inn.
Winterset is a sleepy Iowa town that's best known as John Wayne's hometown! People come here to visit the museum, but once they stay a while, they start to discover the town's hidden gems. The Historic Northside Cafe serves up homestyle Midwestern food in an old fashioned atmosphere, The Little Dublin Irish Pub is a lively spot for drinks, dinner and music, and The Bakery Unlimited is a cosy artisan cafe that will make anyone feel at home.
3. Mount Vernon
The tiny town of Mount Vernon is home to Cornell College... and not too much else! Every spring, though, the town comes alive during their Chalk the Walk celebration. That's when visitors start to see all that this sleepy town is hiding! The Skillet Cafe is a great place for a home cooked meal, and Chameleon's Pub and Grub is a good place to grab a delicious burger. The Lincoln Wine Bar is a great place to start your food tour of this small town, and Big's BBQ is one of the Midwests' best kept BBQ secrets.
Elkader is an interesting town right on the Turkey River. You can find some of the best middle eastern and northern African cuisine in the entire midwest right here! Stop by Schera's Algerian restaurant for an absolutely unforgettable meal. Drew's Bar and Grill and Fennelly's Irish Pub are also two places worth checking out if you're a foodie and want to try the best of the Midwest.
Coralville is a lively little college town, where you'll always find something to do - especially in the summer! If you're looking for a great spot to grab a bite to eat, stop by the
Iowa River Power Restaurant
, where you'll dine with a view. I would also recommend dining at Vesta, where you'll enjoy tasty mediterranean cuisine. Cafe Azul serves up great Latin food, and Kapok will satisfy your cravings for an authentic Asian meal.
LeClaire is a little river town that has become more and more popular since the TV show American Pickers, based in the town, took off. Now, the rest of the state knows what locals have always known! LeClaire's riverside restaurants and breweries serve up some of the best food in the midwest. Try some tasty tacos from Blue Iguana Cantina, sip some new brews at Green Tree Brewery, or treat yourself to pizza and ice cream at Happy Joe's.
7. Storm Lake
Storm Lake is a charming Iowa resort town, and the restaurants here are among the best you'll find! Try the brisket at Smokin Hereford BBQ, or fill up on empanadas at Deliras. Boz-Wellz is a good place to go for a quick bite, and the Regatta Grill will serve you tasty American cuisine while you overlook the beautiful lake.
Altoona is so much more than just "Adventureland" - and if you're a foodie, you already know that! Not only can you have two of the most unique dining expeirences in the state here (at
Uncle Buck's Fish Bowl
), but you can dine at all sorts of small mom and pop restaurants in town, too! Brewhouse 25, Claxon's Smokehouse, The Sugar Shack and Max's Highway Diner are all places where you'll always have a great meal.
What’s your favorite foodie small town in Iowa?