Thursday, October 1, 2009

Butch's River Rock Cafe in Oakland Mills

More than one person has recommended me to locate a bait shop in a small unincorporated township outside of Mt. Pleasant. For a long time Oakland Mills store was a cafe in an old railroad depot building, and a general store with live bait being made for catfish. Just a few years ago the owner retired and a cook from Mt. Pleasant took over the location. Some changes have been made, and while live bait is no longer sold, they still make the tenderloin from scratch right here. The mailbox in from still reads Oakland Mill Store in big letters. The new sign with a catfish claims "Dam good food", and "Were here to feed ya, not fatten ya up".

Location: 1529 253rd St in unincorporated community of Oakland Mills in Henry County, just five minutes drive from Mt. Pleasant in Southeastern Iowa.

Directions: You reach Oakland Mills by going south on Franklin from Old Highway 34, or take Jefferson St. south from Mt. Pleasant. The Cafe is across from the dam, good luck. The Tenderloin: This is a very large slice of pork loin pounded into the usual tenderloin shape clearly filling the plate. The thickness varies, so it was probably pounded by hand. The breading tasted like cornmeal with only the slightest seasoning. There was plenty or pork hanging over the bun. Overall 7.75/10.

Price: $4.25, a la carte,a good value, served with a steak knife. Also on the menu: Homemade pies are the specialty, so are burgers including an elk burger and hamburger salads.

Service: Its seat yourself with a busy waitstaff, one had a shirt with the definition of the word "tenderloin" printed on the back. Ambiance: This is a small old building that has been renovated a couple times to expand the dining area. The booths and tables are small, so is the counter. Outdoor seats are available also. There is no longer fish bait or live worms right next to where everyone eats.

Final Thoughts: From the cafe you will hear the century-old dam that once powered the mill serving a prosperous community. While the mill closed a long time ago, it looks like the fishing and outdoor activities bring their share of visitors to Oakland Mills. The road from Mt. Pleasant has some new houses and is paved the entire way to the main intersection of the small community. I may never know how this new cafe compares to the old Oakland Mills Store, or its tenderloin. But the place was filled with locals when I stopped in, many were getting the tenderloin.

Oakland Mills Store on Urbanspoon


  1. Great Blog I have known the owner of this place a short time and i know that all his heart goes into this place. He love to please the customer and sacrafices himself alot to do just that. Thanks for the great write up Butch deserves it. Thanks Again, Bryan

  2. Best little restaurant east of the Mississippi

  3. Been there several times. Good food. The Dam good fries are excellent (cheese,jalepeno's,bacon and steak fries!).

    Excellent spot to eat, great spot after a hard day fishing.

  4. First place I eat when I visit from Florida every August!!! Can't wait..... Butch, have my tenderloin ready!! Pam

  5. Wonderful surprise. Love Butch's food. Fried oysters were fabulous. And salads out of this world. 5 star.