Ever wonder where to enjoy a good steak in Iowa? Toss a rock in any direction and you’re likely to find a steakhouse. After all, Iowa ranks in the top 10 nationally for beef production, with about 4 million head of cattle. Cattle production brings in about $6.9 billion to the state’s economy.
With so many cattle roaming the state, you know you’ll find a good cut of meat at nearly every steakhouse between the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers. While Iowa may be home to hundreds of steakhouses, some stand out more than others. Whether you like your steak so rare it moos, well done, or somewhere in-between, here are a few recommendations on where to find the best steakhouses in the Hawkeye State.
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Where: Mason City
People love the steaks at Northwestern Steakhouse so much, they’ll stand in line outdoors for a couple of hours. Opening its doors at 5 p.m., Northwestern Steakhouse doesn’t accept reservations for parties under six until 4:30 p.m. If you get there early enough, but not in time to be among the first served, you are welcome to grab a seat in the lounge and enjoy a beverage until your table is ready.
Once seated in one of the vintage restaurant’s wood-trimmed booths, you’re in for a treat. From the dinner salad featuring a house-made dressing to the Greek-style steak, every morsel is mouth-watering. Using special seasonings, the steak – fillet, ribeye, New York cut, or top sirloin – is a broiled treat. Add a baked potato, fries, or rice, and you’ve got a delectable dinner. A small serving of spaghetti can be had to create an Italian steakhouse feel to the dining experience. Prime rib is available weekends.
Pink Poodle Steakhouse
Open weekends, the Pink Poodle has been a staple along the Old Highway 30 in western Iowa for more than 65 years. Whether you enjoy a huge cut of prime rib or a perfectly-prepared sirloin, ribeye, or even Porterhouse, Pink Poodle’s chef will deliver an outstanding dining experience.
Pink Poodle offers a nostalgic visit with any meal. From its antique doll collection to vintage art, your visit may feel like you’ve stepped back in time to when Model-T’s traveled along the dirt path of America’s first transcontinental highway.
Iowa Chop House
Where: Iowa City
Open since 2015, Iowa Chop House has earned its reputation, being named as the best steakhouse in the state by Food Network. From its farm-to-fork menu to its self-pour beer barn, Iowa Chop House is the place to enjoy a delicious steak in Iowa City.
Whether you like a sirloin cooked medium rare or a T-bone well done, the kitchen team delivers. Start your chophouse experience with Iowa cheese curds or any other impressive appetizer. Iowa Chop House is known for using locally-sourced or -obtained ingredients as often as possible. The rustic ambience adds to its Iowa country feel.
Where: Le Mars
Since 1949, Archie’s Waeside has been serving hand-cut dry-aged steaks in Le Mars. Founded by a Russian immigrant, Archie’s is a must when sampling Iowa steakhouses.
Located in the Ice Cream Capital of the World, consider a steak dinner with an ice cream dessert. When dining at Archie’s, know they put the effort into delivering outstanding meals rather than focusing on creating a Hollywood-style decor. It’s a very casual environment. Enjoy a relish tray alongside your tossed salad.
Where: Sac City
If its name doesn’t tip you off, just look at the cow’s head on the wall to confirm you’re at Cattlemen’s Steakhouse. One thing is for sure, you won’t leave hungry. With steaks ranging from an 8-ounce filet to a 52-ounce Tomahawk ribeye, there is plenty of beef to be had at the Sac City eatery.
Even the pork chop is huge – 14 ounces. With sides like honey roasted carrots, grilled cream corn, and Yukon Gold mashed potatoes, a steak dinner at Cattlemen’s is a meal fit for a hungry king or queen.
With hand-cut steaks, Cattlemen’s is best known for its tasty ribeye, which may be best when cooked medium rare. While known for its outstanding steaks and sides, Cattlemen’s Steakhouse is also home to some of the state’s best burgers, annually competing for the top honor.
Chicago Speakeasy Restaurant
Where: Des Moines
For about 45 years, diners have known the password for enjoying a good meal at Chicago Speakeasy. The family-owned steakhouse serves some of the best hand-cut and aged choice beef in Iowa, from a sweet ribeye to New York strip steak. Diners can even order a ground sirloin steak served with mushrooms and onions.
While the steaks are the draw, Chicago Speakeasy also serves impressive seafood and fish, as well as prime rib. Consider a prime rib and shrimp or scallops combination.
Related post: 40 must-try restaurants in Des Moines
What started as a tiny bar in Montour, with Glen “Rube” Rubenbauer cooking steaks over an indoor open-hearth grill turned into one of Iowa’s must-visit steakhouses. Serving steaks for five decades, Rube’s Steakhouse attracts diners from all across Iowa. With hand-cut premium steaks, Rube’s features mouth-watering servings of bacon-wrapped filet mignons to cowboy-cut ribeyes.
While the Porterhouse is a culinary feat at 26 ounces, the Belly Buster Top Sirloin challenges appetites at three pounds. Pull a John Candy in “The Great Outdoors” and devour it, you’ll get your picture on the Wall of Fame and go home with a T-shirt. You may need to stop at the store on the way home and pick up some antacids.
1015 Steak Company
Located in northwest Iowa not far from the Minnesota border, a steakhouse in a little town serves a big menu of amazing steaks and sides. The 1015 Steak Company offers diners a special experience, starting with a drink in its bar before moving to the dining room where its known for its smoked prime rib.
Featuring thick-cut charbroiled steaks, 1015 Company’s menu features ribeye, sirloin, hanger, T-Bone, Porterhouse, and filet mignon. You can also dine on steak tips, as well as add jumbo shrimp to your order, creating a surf and turf dish.
Iowa stands as a beacon for steak enthusiasts. From the quiet charm of small town supper clubs to the bustling city steakhouses, this journey through Iowa’s most revered dining establishments promises an unforgettable gastronomic experience. Each of these eight renowned steakhouses has carved out a niche, offering a sublime slice of what Iowa has to offer to both meat lovers and culinary explorers alike.