Dining August 05, 2017
10 Of Iowa’s Tiniest Restaurants Serve The Most Irresistible Food
They may not be big or flashy, but these tiny Iowa restaurants serve such amazing food that you’ll want to come back for more.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
1. Susie Q Cafe, 14 2nd St NW, Mason City
The special Chilly Willy platter with fried cheese balls.
This historic diner is cozy inside and the food is amazing. Try their pork tenderloin sandwich with fried green beans. The owner is also the chef. There are only eight stools at the counter, but if you can get a seat there, it's the best place in the restaurant to watch the action.
2. Taylor’s Maid-Rite, 106 S 3rd Ave., Marshalltown
This is "Fast Food" that is actually good. The staff is friendly, and this place has been around long enough that it's a staple in the community. The menu is limited, but delicious, so you won't mind. Get the milkshake.
3. Lincoln Wine Bar, 125 1st St W., Mt Vernon
A wood-fired oven with the mosaic "Cibo El Importante", or "food is important" commands attention. This place isn't just a wine bar. It's the home of the best wood-fired pizzas in the state. The atmosphere is lovely, and the wine list is incredible. Pizza offerings are seasonal, and yes....they do Morel Mushroom Pizzas every spring.
4. Pammel Grocery and Deli, 113 Colorado Ave., Ste 133, Ames
Hummad & Falafel w/ Pita and Kofta Kabob with Rice & Salad
Reviewers note that this place doesn't look like much. You should go in, anyway. The staff is delightful, friendly, and talented in the kitchen. Try the gyro dinner. It includes lamb (of course) a healthy helping of savory rice, tzatziki sauce, onions, and tomatoes. It's wonderful.
5. Sunrise Cafe, 908 W Main St., Le Grand
This place is little, but the menu is giant. Breakfast is served all day. Pancakes for supper? No problem.
6. Canteen Lunch In the Alley, 112 E 2nd St., Ottumwa
It's legendary. The menu is diverse and the prices are more than reasonable. Even the kids menu is great. This restaurant is literally in an alley, which just adds to the fun.
7. LEAF Kitchen, 301 Kirkwood Ave., Iowa City
Eggs florentine w/ roasted potatoes
It's a bit out of the way, and that's a good thing. This quiet little restaurant serves wonderful food. Try the special. They put a lot of thought into their offerings here.
8. Dinky Diner, 104 NE 4th St., Decatur
The tenderloin is big enough to feed three people. Try the french fries and onion rings, too. Leave room for pie and ice cream.
9. Strudl Haus, 1951 Indianola Ave., Des Moines
Editor's Note: Strudl Haus is permanently closed.
This classy little place is a great spot for a cozy date night. Try the pork medallion with orange marmalade and don't miss the napoleon.
10. Jimmy’s Pancake House, 2521 18th St., Bettendorf
Fresh cooked breakfast, amazing skillets, and banana pancakes are right here at this little restaurant. Reviewers say it's the best breakfast in the Quad Cities.
Do you have a favorite tiny restaurant in Iowa? Tell us about it in the comments. We may feature your favorite in a future article!