Food Fest Across Iowa

Two of the wonderful things about travel are the opportunities to run on new roads and trails and to try new foods and restaurants. On a trip across Iowa, running took short shrift as we adjusted for the schedules of a half dozen travelers and dealt with wind and rainstorms. What was lost in new running experience, we made up for in food exploration.

On our first trip across Iowa, I spotted an article in a local newspaper about a restaurant designated by Restaurant Hospitality Magazine to have the best burger in America.  On our return trip, we were dropping one of our travelers at the Sioux City airport near the restaurant. So, early in our return journey we scheduled lunch at Kahill’s Steak, Fish and Chophouse to try the Farm-to-Table Wagyu Burger, created by Chef Ryan.

View of the Missouri River taken near our table at Kahill’s Restaurant, home of the best burger in America

I did not order the burger, but snuck my fork into the plates of those who did.  It is succulent, served over matchbook fries and topped with a duck egg with several other ingredients and flavors between.  I opted for a special of the day, a delightfully light green salad with free-range chicken. Others ordered a fish special and the wonderful cranberry pecan spinach salad. Kahill’s is located in the Marina Center and convenient to the airport. (Note: Trust my experience and set your GPS to South Sioux City, Nebraska – not Iowa. Your fellow passengers will thank you.)

The following morning, we enjoyed breakfast at the Ronnenburg Restaurant in Amana, Iowa. We enjoyed a farm style breakfast with ample portions of fresh fruit, a runner’s delight.  We were also served pancakes more in the consistency of crepes and light as feathers.  If you’re planning a trip through the Amana Colonies, this restaurant serves authentic German food, similar to the communal kitchen that existed.

Storm clouds moving over Amana IA
Storm clouds moving over Amana IA

Crossing the border into Wisconsin later in the day, we made our final food stop in Monroe at Baumgartner’s Cheese Store and Tavern.  We opted for their cheddar burgers and outdoor seating on the square.  As we enjoyed our final meal of the trip, classical music piped from the picturesque courthouse in the center of the square floated our way.  Monroe has a vibrant downtown that celebrates its agricultural heritage.  I plan to be back to explore further.

Dining on the square in Monroe WI
Dining on the square in Monroe WI

With a great food road trip but not such a great running road trip behind me, what am I doing?  I’m working off those calories and back on the trails, still


  1. Thanks for the story. Reminds me of some of my favorite vacations through Utah and Colorado. Sometimes running through farmland and other times high mountain communities and trails.

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