Saturday, August 15, 2015

Agency Cafe in Agency, Iowa

The Agency Cafe doesn't look like much from the outside, it has a gravel driveway and a faded sign reading CAFE. the waitresses wear shirts that say HOWDY on the front and "Some Things Don't Need To Change" on the back.

Location: 510 W Main St in Agency, Iowa, just outside of Ottumwa.

Directions: From Ottumwa, take Highway 34 West to the Agency off ramp that turns south to Agency, continue through the town and take a right on Main St to find the Agency Cafe at the edge of town.

Online at: Facebook page is HERE.

The Tenderloin: This is listed on the menu as the Big Boy Loin, and the hunk of pork loin felt like eight ounces and was in the classic triangular shape. The breading had a great cracker like crunch but not much in the way of seasoning. The white loin meat was moist in parts and steam got into the breading. Served on a soft toasted bun with your choice of fixins. Overall 7.6 out of ten.

Price: $6.75

Also on the menu: The menu is small with a smaller loin, burgers, chicken fried steak, and daily specials. Desserts include pies and cinnamon rolls. The meats come from the local meat locker.

Service: There is table service and a counter for paying, the other customers seemed to be local regulars.

Ambiance: Big letters reading HOWDY are painted on the wall, along with farm scenes. There is a counter and tables for seating.

Final Thoughts: I hadn't found a good loin near Ottumwa before and its always good to visit a real small town cafe. My next stop will probably be on the other side of Ottumwa in the small town of Chillicothe.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

The Lucky Pig Pub & Grill in Ogden, Iowa

The IPPA gave away its Best Tenderloin award in October of 2014 to a small town pub in Boone County. The Lucky Pig Pub & Grill has been serving up food and drinks in this location since 2011. The branding of the pub has a long written out explanation about what a "lucky pig" is in Germany. 

Location: 113 W Walnut St in Ogden, Boone County, in Central Iowa.

Directions: Ogden is just past Boone on Highway 30, take the offramp and go north through town and turn right on Walnut St in the center of town.

Online at: facebook page is HERE.

The Tenderloin: The breading was like a batter that has a bright and golden brown color, and the texture forms a solid layer that wasn't crunchy on either of my visits. It had a little bit of a spicy flavored taste. The loin meat was thin yet soft with good moisture but not quite juicy. Served with your choice of fixins on a kaiser bun. Overall 8.4 out of ten.

Price: $9.95 with a side, I went with the Onion Rings:

Onion Rings

The Wholly Pig: I saw this ridiculous topped tenderloin on the menu and had to try it. This was a breaded tenderloin on top of some sliced ham, with bbq pork and strips of bacon with bbq sauce and melted cheese. The whole deal was one heavy pile of food even without the side of fries.

Also on the menu: The menu is huge with fried stuff, giant burgers, wings, appetizers, salads, steaks, pizza and specials.

Service: Its table service with a wait for seating when things get busy.

Ambiance: The interior is a big improvement from the bar that used to be here. This is a newish remodel of the old sports bar, with large tables for seating.

Final Thoughts:  I had visited this same space in Ogden several years ago when the building was occupied by BK's Sports Bar, which moved here from the other side of the main street. But that was a long time ago. The tenderloin here is as good as any in the Central Iowa area, if you don't mind driving past Boone to get here.