Friday, October 23, 2009

PJ's Drive-In in Panora

The location at the end of the Raccoon River Valley Bike Trail and the nearby Lake Panorama mean Panora gets more visitors than the average small town in Iowa. This means more diverse dining options, a near fully-occupied downtown, but most importantly more good tenderloins. So a couple years ago I picked up a Smoke-Free Dining Guide to Western Iowa, and this place was listed as specializing in homemade tenderloins. I had to check it out.

Location: 600 E Main St. in Panora Iowa, in Guthrie County about an hour west of Des Moines.

Directions: This place on the east side of Panora has a big green sign in front on Route 44, the main drag through town.

The Tenderloin: The first thing you notice is the unusual cut, with small connective thin part in between a couple thick round chunks of pork. The breading is thick with little dots of black pepper visible. There was a some untrimmed fat on the edges but most of the pork was steamy and delicious. Served on a toasted bun. Overall 7.5/10

Price: $3.75 a la carte, a good value for an average-size tenderloin sandwich, or in a special with side and drink for $6.50. Also available grilled.

Also on the menu: the typical diner stuff like burgers and salads, there is a special Friday Night Fish Fry. This is the Cole Slaw:
Service: There are a lot of people moving around the kitchen here, its counter service with food brought to your table.

Ambiance: This place looks dull from outside but the interior is brightly lit and has a big mural of the bike trail covering a wall. There are tables inside and covered picnic tables for outside when the weather is good.

Final Thoughts: This place has a welcoming ambiance and is a great place to visit while passing through Panora. Its the best tenderloin I have found in Panora, after trying the Coyote Grill and 44 Drive-In already, the next place on my list is the restaurant at the Panorama National just north in Lake Panora.
P J's Drive-In on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. Just a friendly clarification. Panora is not "at the end of the Raccoon River Valley Bike Trail." It's right about midway between Jefferson & Waukee, Making a great place to stop whichever way you are traveling.