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Machine Shed

11151 Hickman Rd., Urbandale, IA - (515) 270-6818
Posted By Michael Stern on 4/28/2015 6:08:00 AM
There are a half-dozen Machine Shed restaurants in the heartland. The Urbandale branch on the outskirts of Des Moines adjoins Living History Farms, a celebration of rural life in the form of restored log cabins, Native-American crafts displays, and a whole small town built to look like it did in 1875. The location is significant because the Machine Shed is a culinary ode to the old-fashioned American farmer.

"Farming is everyone’s bread and butter," announces a sign on the way into the big, sprawling restaurant. Dining room walls are crowded with turn-of-the-century farm implements, seed bags, and vintage advertisements for country-style products. The staff dresses in clean farm-hand attire (although a diamond earring on one guy made it a bit difficult to suspend disbelief). The menu has something for everyone; its highlights are meat-and-potatoes meals big enough to fuel an honest day’s work.

Breakfast is impressive, featuring fruit-filled sweet rolls scooped from the pan dripping with frosting and cinnamon rolls as big as a bread box. There is a vast selection of sausage, bacon, ham, and pork chops to accompany eggs; and the flapjacks are Frisbee-sized.

Hamburgers are a half-pound each; and the chicken pot pie is a beauty; but the one meat to eat in this place is pork: crisp-fried tenderloins made into sandwiches, stuffed loin of pork, and best of all, the Iowa pork chop. Iowans make an issue of pork chops, differentiating between ordinary pork chops and Iowa chops, the latter cut so thick that the meat takes on the character of a roast. At the Machine Shed, we ate the thickest pork chop we have ever seen … and topped it off with mighty hunks of pie and cake.

18 out of 22 people found the review helpful. Was it helpful to you?

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Scorecard

4 - Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Overall: One of the Best - Worth a Trip
Iowa pork chop
Stuffed Pork Chop
cinnamon roll
Pie
Iceberg Lettuce Salad
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

Here is a serious pork chop, the way they like them in Iowa (America's top pork producer).
"Here is a serious pork chop, the way they like them in Iowa (America's top pork producer)."
Michael Stern





That's a dinner plate beneath the cinnamon roll, which is more than enough for two.
"That's a dinner plate beneath the cinnamon roll, which is more than enough for two."
Michael Stern


Heartland salad: crisp iceberg lettuce, creamy blue cheese dressing and plenty of bacon
"Heartland salad: crisp iceberg lettuce, creamy blue cheese dressing and plenty of bacon"
Michael Stern


A honking huge roasted pork chop is split in half and filled with apple raisin stuffing. That's apple-whiskey gravy pooled out on the plate.
"A honking huge roasted pork chop is split in half and filled with apple raisin stuffing. That's apple-whiskey gravy pooled out on the plate."
Michael Stern


The picture makes the caramel nut roll look small. That is a huge steak knife underneath it.
"The picture makes the caramel nut roll look small. That is a huge steak knife underneath it."
Terry Kruse


A slice of banana cream pie IS as big as it appears!
"A slice of banana cream pie IS as big as it appears!"
Michael Stern


Chocolate pie: suprisingly temperate, not a chocoholic orgy
"Chocolate pie: suprisingly temperate, not a chocoholic orgy"
Michael Stern


The waitress warned us that one portion of chocolate raspberry 10-layer cake was big enough to feed four people. Doggie bags are provided.
"The waitress warned us that one portion of chocolate raspberry 10-layer cake was big enough to feed four people. Doggie bags are provided."
Michael Stern


Coconut cream pie is a little strange on its graham cracker crust. Not bad at all, just different.
"Coconut cream pie is a little strange on its graham cracker crust. Not bad at all, just different."
Michael Stern


We thought of Machine Shed as a dinner place first, but they put out some fine breakfasts, too. This is one juicy, flavorful pork chop.
"We thought of Machine Shed as a dinner place first, but they put out some fine breakfasts, too. This is one juicy, flavorful pork chop."
Cliff Strutz


Every supper starts with bowls of cottage cheese and cole slaw to be dished out family style.
"Every supper starts with bowls of cottage cheese and cole slaw to be dished out family style."
Michael Stern


Beverages are served in jelly jars.
"Beverages are served in jelly jars."
Michael Stern


The Pork Producer's Breakfast features thick-cut smoked ham, crispy bacon, and country sausage. The biscuits and gravy is an option as a side and also comes highly recommended.
"The Pork Producer's Breakfast features thick-cut smoked ham, crispy bacon, and country sausage. The biscuits and gravy is an option as a side and also comes highly recommended."
Cliff Strutz


Water pitcher and condiments are set at every table in an old-fashioned wooden seed box.
"Water pitcher and condiments are set at every table in an old-fashioned wooden seed box."
Michael Stern


Ode to America's farmers
"Ode to America's farmers"
Michael Stern



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