Tuesday, July 15, 2014

The Country House in Colo, Iowa

The stretch of Highway 30 between Colo and Nevada is home to a The Country House Restaurant, which earned a runner up plaque for the IPPA Best Tenderloin contest in 2011. They were also featured on KCCI's Cruising For Comfort Food feature a few years ago.

Location: 68168 US Highway 30 just outside of Colo, Iowa in Story County. Its about a 45 minute drive from Des Moines.

Directions: Turn south off of Highway 30 when you see Twin Anchors Campground, the Country House is next to the out of business service station.

The Tenderloin: This felt like eight ounces of pork loin that had been flattened out during tenderizing. The cracker crunch breading had just a hint of seasoning. The meat underneath was steamy and very warm, for several minutes after it was delivered to my table. The bright white meat was neatly trimmed with no fat. Served on a toasted sesame seed bun with all the fixins overall 8.3 out of ten.

Price: $7.50 with a side. I went with the fries which were thick steak fries lightly salted and served hot.

Also on the menu: The menu is simple, and I mean real simple like less than half a page for lunch. I think they have simplified it since my first visits several years ago. Think burgers and hot beef sandwiches, the daily special was grilled cheese tenderloin. There are also homemade pies on a sheet cooling on the counter:


Service: Its seat yourself table service, and you can pay at the counter or wait to have your ticket taken for you.
With Fries
Ambiance: The restaurant sign reads "Since 1991" and the building feels like a nineties building. There are tables and booths for seating, and some out of place pictures of European street scenes or vineyards.

Large Size
Final Thoughts: The Country House is a must stop on this stretch of highway in North Central Iowa. With Stones in Marshalltown and the Suburban Restaurant in Gilbert closed, this area doesn't have much to choose from after Flatheads in St Anthony.

Country House Family Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Steve's Place in Burlington, Iowa

Steve's Place has a sign that claims it is "The place to be!" Although I would not have entered based on the message on the sign, but the print ad reading "our homemade tenderloins are great" made this stop necessary. This bar on the edge of the downtown area of Burlington is a real dive, a dive among dives.

Location: 852 Washington Ave in Burlington, Southeast Iowa.

Directions: You can get here by taking the Main St exit from the state highway and turning on Washington St.

The Tenderloin: I had to grab one to go because there was no light inside the bar. This felt like six ounces of in a shapeless form in a delicious golden brown color. The tenderized meat did was a bit limp and seemed to flop over the toasted bun. The breading had little seasoning and steam from the meat took away any kind of crunch. This was still a decent dive bar tenderloin. Overall 7.5 out of ten.

Price: $4.50 a great value.

Also on the menu:  mostly the usual fried stuff you find at every bar,  along with steak and burgers. I think Thursday is taco night.

Service: I think the grill is only open from five to nine in the evening. You need to sit at the bar to get service.

Ambiance: This is a dive bar decorated with photos of Marilyn Monroe and figurines of knights in suits of armor. The building is old and the bar fixtures are showing their age. There was a crowd of people standing outside the door smoking.

Final Thoughts: I've had tenderloins at several places in Burlington so far and none have stood out or above the Short Stop in New London or the Apron Strings in Mediapolis. My next stop in Burlington will probably be at Jerry's Main Lunch on Main Street.

Steve's Place on Urbanspoon