In a state that’s so large and spread out, it’s a given that there are rural restaurants in Iowa around every corner. When you’re looking for a unique place to dine and don’t just want to head into town, choose any of these dining rooms that are off the beaten path. You won’t regret one second of the drive!
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. Crazy Bob's BBQ, Hartley
Crazy Bob's BBQ is a big smokehouse located in the tiny town of Hartley. People come from all over to feast on their burgers, homemade onion rings, and pulled pork. Everything is smoked fresh and you'll love their cornbread.
Address: Crazy Bob's Bar B Que, 240 N 8th Ave E, Hartley, IA 51346
2. The Irish Shanty, Gunder
The Gunderburger was invented to bring some attention to the tiny town of Gunder. It worked - people drive for hours to get to this little bar. The burgers are GIGANTIC, so bring a big appetite, and be ready to share.
Address: The Irish Shanty, 17455 Gunder Rd, Elgin, IA 52141
3. Firehouse28, Calumet
Firehouse28 is a new restaurant in Calumet that's brought a lot of excitement to the area! Their BBQ chicken is out of this world, and anyone in town can smell their smokers from a distance. Support a new Iowa restaurant and treat yourself to some tasty bbq at the same time.
Address: FireHouse28, 106 W 2nd St, Calumet, IA 51009
4. Archie's Waeside, Le Mars
Archie's makes pretty much every list we create! This tiny town steakhouse has received international attention for their dry aged beef, and though it's kind of in the middle of nowhere, it's always worth the drive.
Address: Archie's Waeside, 224 4th Ave NE, Le Mars, IA 51031
5. Darrell's Place, Hamlin
Does Darrell's Place really make the best tenderloin in Iowa? That's what the rumor is, and there's only one way to find out. Plan a trip to one of the most famous rural Iowa restaurants to try their famous crispy breaded tenderloin.
Address: Darrell's Place, 4010 1st St, Hamlin, IA 50117
6. The Redwood Steakhouse
Redwoods is a local secret, and though it doesn't look like much from the outside, there's a reason this establishment has been serving up meals for decades. Order their fried chicken for a real treat.
Address: Redwood Steakhouse, 1807 White Pole Rd, Anita, IA 50020
7. The Emerald Isle, Imogene
Imogene's Emerald Isle is another contender for best tenderloin in Iowa. Their thick cut, juicy sandwich is something that brings people out to this small town again and again.
Address: The Emerald Isle, 100 397 Ave, Imogene, IA 51645
8. The Ice House, Clarinda
Ice House is a pleasant surprise located on the outskirts of Clarina. This classic bar and grill makes tasty burgers, tacos, tenderloins and sandwiches... but they're really known for their enormous, flavorful prime rib.
Address: Ice House, 1515 S 16th St, Clarinda, IA 51632
9. Southfork Restaurant, Bloomfield
You can never go wrong at Southfork! Order a pasta dish, some seafood, or a tenderloin, and you'll be sure to go home happy. Though it's off the beaten path, there's a reason you'll find a crowd in the dining room every night.
Address: Southfork Restaurant & Lounge, 905 S Washington St, Bloomfield, IA 52537