Saturday, November 15, 2014

County Line Tap Cafe just south of Des Moines

I think the County Line Cafe could be described as a "neighborhood bar". Its in a neighborhood just south of Southridge Mall, just across the city line from Des Moines. I'm not sure there is even a sign, just inside the door you can see some graphic with the name County Line Cafe, but most people who do know this place would call it County Line Tap.

Location: 10894 County Line Road in the wild unincorporated area just south of the County Line in Warren County.

Directions: You can reach county line road by following SE 14th south from Des Moines, County Line Tap is on the south side of the road.

The Tenderloin: These are made by hand and every one is different, but the one served to me was massively thick. Not exactly juicy, but still tender. The breading had some thick crackermeal bits and was finished with a dusting of salt. The only disappointment was a cold bun that just fell apart while eating. Served with your choice of LTOP. Overall 8.0 out of ten.

Price: $5.50 with chips

Also on the menu: burger, cheeseburger, grinder, sausage sandwich, and pizza. That's the menu.

Service: I have come here a few times since 2009 and its always the same guy running the bar and the kitchen.

Ambiance: this is a neighborhood bar decorated with racing and beer posters. There is a bar area with stools, and some tables for seating.

Final Thoughts: Its really tough to find neighborhood bars like the County Line because they are only really known to locals. Even just a cross the street from Des Moines, few in this city know about County Line. I am sure there are plenty of other places like this but they just are not easy to find.

 County Line Cafe on Urbanspoon

Saturday, November 1, 2014

10th St. Station in Ft Madison, Iowa

The newspaper clippings on the side of the wall indicate that 10th St. Station was once one of the oldest Maid Rite franchises. Ft Madison is not far from where Maid Rite started, and the building is old, continuously serving lunch for over seventy years.

Location: 616 10th St in Ft. Madison in Lee County far Southeastern Iowa.

Directions: This is best reached by taking the Business 61 Route through town and turning north on 10th St.

The tenderloin: This was listed under a section marked "Award Winning" on the menu. I felt a little bit of juiciness when I bit the meat portion. The breading had no discernible taste and did not stick close to the meat. The whole sandwich felt like it had been in the freezer a little too long. Served on an untoasted loosemeat burger bun with your choice of fixins. Overall 6.5 out of ten.

Price: $5.50, also available in small size. I think the menu listing the price was out of date, my total with fries was about seven dollars.

Also on the menu: This is a former Maid-Rite franchise, so there are loose meat sandwiches, and some Mexican items like fried tacos or enchiladas. They had some pies on the pie board.

Service: Its counter service with payment at the register.

Ambiance: The building is old, the fixtures are old, its like stepping back in time. Seating is at a classic u-shaped counter.

Final Thoughts: The tenderloin at 10th St Station was not good enough to make me forget The Fort Diner or some other places in this part of Iowa. But I do like visiting the old former Maid Rites, and this is one of the oldest hamburger places in Iowa.

10th Street Station on Urbanspoon