Van Buren County is known for its old-fashioned small town lifestyle without the modern life amenities of electric stoplights or fast food. The small towns are charming and unspoilt. Along the main street of Keosauqua just north of the Des Moines River is a small ice-cream shop with a selection of sandwiches including a homemade tenderloin.
Location: 106 Main St. in Keosauqua Iowa, (population 1,066) the seat of Van Buren County in Southeast Iowa. At least 2 hours drive from anywhere busy or important. Well outside cell-phone range.
Directions: Take the only road leading into town, State Highway 1, just north of the river. The Malt Shop is the second building on the east side of Main Street.
The Tenderloin: This clearly stuck out beyond the sesame-seed bun, showing the classic triangle tenderloin shape. The massive size was a great value and the sandwich was truly filling. From the sides, a slight warping was apparent. Beneath the dusty breading was a soft and moist white pork inside. Steam rose upon easily tearing edges off the tenderloin. The edges were a little dryer and not as tender, with some parts browner than others. Overall 7.9/10
Also on the Menu: A full selection of Ice Cream choices, homemade chips, other fried stuff and breakfast in the mornings.
Service: Counter service inside with a window for people to order from outside. The tenderloin took about five minute to fix.
Ambiance: Brightly lit interior with tables and booths for seats. Windows were heavily decorated for High School Homecoming Week during my visit. There is a mural of a cow painted on the front of the building.
Final Thoughts: Van Buren County is one of the nicest parts of Iowa that few people ever visit. Its food scene is mostly untainted by the commercial fast food and pizza chains that take up so much space in town squares across the state. This small ice-cream shop is just a part of the great places in Van Buren County.