A Feast for Foodies

Want to try the best of Iowa's locally owned dining locations? Start here!


Le Mars: For more than 60 years, Archie’s has been dry-aging and hand-cutting mouthwatering steaks. Rachael Ray named them one of the best steakhouses in America (finishing in the top four of 200 selected). Their wine selection was a semi-finalist for a James Beard award in 2014 and they were awarded the James Beard American Classic award in 2015.


Washington: After more than 25 years of living in Italy, Lorraine Williams and her Italian husband Alessandro Scipioni returned to her hometown and opened a restaurant featuring great international cuisine. Their chicken roulades was voted one of the Des Moines Register’s “100 Things You Have to Eat in Iowa Before You Die.”


Balltown: Iowa’s oldest food and drinking establishment was opened in 1852. Jacob Breitbach purchased the tavern in 1862 and it is now in its sixth generation of family ownership. The restaurant, which serves up homemade comfort food, was featured in the documentary “Spinning Plates” and received the James Beard Foundation America’s Classic award.


Spencer: The original bakery in this downtown Spencer location opened in 1916. Carroll’s Bakery took over the space in 1928 and has been serving delicious pastries from traditional glazed  doughnuts to the not-so-traditional O’Boys ever since. They also offer more than a dozen varieties of bread, cakes and coffee.


Ames: A local tradition since 1970 and a favorite of Iowa State University students, Hickory Park’s menu includes a variety of hickory smoked meats in generous portions. Try and save room for dessert – the placemat doubles as the ice cream menu and features more than 50 options!


Pella: The bakery was founded by Harmon Jaarsma in 1898 with recipes he brought with him from Holland. Now in its fourth generation of family ownership, Jaarsma is renowned for its Dutch letters, Dutch Spice cookies and Almond Butter cake.


Des Moines: Harbinger is a vegetable-focused small plates concept featuring flavors inspired by Chef Joe Tripp's travels throughout Southeast Asia and beyond. The restaurant's mission is to tell the story of the amazing products that Iowa provides. Chef Joe's earned three James Beard nominations for Best Chef Midwest.


Cedar Rapids: The James Beard Foundation named chef and co-owner Andy Schumacher a semifinalist for the Best Chef in the Midwest in 2015. The menu, which changes seasonally due to the availability of local produce in Cedar Rapids, includes ingredients like smoked popcorn grits and barrel-aged hot sauce jus.