Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Roadside Inn Martensdale & the Famous Giant Loin

My travels around Iowa eating sandwiches has taught me that many places claiming to have a "famous" sandwich are in towns a little more famous for something else. According to their menu, this tenderloin was mentioned by a host on WHO Radio as being the best in Iowa. Martensdale has recently become locally famous for Martensdale-St. Mary's High School and their prolific baseball team which has won over eighty games in a row in a streak still going as this blog post goes to print.

325 N Highway 28 in Martensdale, about ten miles south of Des Moines in Warren County.

Directions: Take the HWY 92 Bevington exit East from I-35, or Highway 28 south from Norwalk. Look for the giant signage, but ask the hostess "Is this The Roadside Inn?" upon entering just to make sure.

The "Famous Giant Loin": This thing was huge, it cam out on a plate covering both parts of the bun and the side of french fries. I could taste some seasoning salt and black pepper in the breading which stuck to the meat well but never had any crunch. The pork had good juiciness and was moist even at the edges that stuck out beyond the center. The fat hadn't been completely trimmed they way I like it. Served with your choice of fixings on a flour-dusted bun. Overall 8.2 out of ten.

Price: $9.49 for 1 Giant Loin with not one but two sides:
Also on the menu: Huge menu with broasted chicken, steaks, ribs, sandwiches, salads, hand dipped onion rings, and more that I didn't write down.

Service: Its table service in the dining area, or counter service at the bar.

Ambiance: This is an old building renovated a few years ago. There is a dining area with booths and a bar area with seats and a counter. The decorations are mostly for local sports teams.
Final Thoughts: The Roadside Inn is a classic Iowa side of the highway roadhouse with gravel parking lot and lettering that can be seen from outer space. Its closer to Des Moines than most of the other roadhouses I have made it to for giant tenderloins, less than ten miles down the road from the main street in Norwalk. I don't think this sandwich is more famous the the MSM baseball team, but I think the small community is happy with both.

Roadside Inn on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Old 30 Grill in Jefferson

The Old 30 Grill Cafe in Jefferson looks like so many other Lincoln Highway side of the road stops for food. I don't think this place has been open too long, but there isn't much information available out there.

Location:505 East Lincolnway Street in Jefferson, Greene County, in Central Iowa. At the end of the Raccoon River Valley Bike Trail.

Directions: Lincolnway is the old Lincoln Highway and this place is 3 blocks East of the giant bell tower in the middle of Jefferson.

The Tenderloin: A nice golden brown color with spots of seasoning made the breading look delicious. The meat had a clear butterfly cut in the middle, and the size was a good six or seven ounces. Steam from inside the soft white inside had moved the breading off of the meat. The tenderizing seemed to take any firmness out of the cut of loin, and the edges drooped over the bun. Served on an untoasted flour-dusted bun. Overall 7.2 out of ten.

Price: $6.25 with fixings and a side.
Also on the menu: The menu is big with burgers and fried stuff.

Service: There is table service available but I went with a to go box from the counter.
Ambiance: Its an old building that has been renovated into a restaurant. The interior had some tables and a bar with transportation themed decorations. I chose the take my to-go box to the park at the end of the bike trail right beside the cafe.

Final Thoughts: I think the sign below was trying to say WE HAVE THE BEST LOINS IN TOWN. But I will have to go across Jefferson and try the Uptown Cafe on my next trip to Jefferson to make my own judgement.
Old 30 Grill on Urbanspoon