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Archie's Waeside

224 4th Ave. NE, Le Mars, IA - (712) 546-7011
Posted By Michael Stern on 9/26/2002 2:51:00 AM
We won’t beat around the bush. Archie’s Waeside serves splendid steak, some of the best in the Midwest, some of the best anywhere in America. The meat is choice and prime; it is hung and dry-aged in a back room of the restaurant. Steaks are grilled so they get a little crusty on the outside. They are overwhelmingly juicy and exude the full, resonating character of corn-fed beef. Even the filet mignon, usually a tender cut that is low on flavor, virtually sings with the succulent authority of blue-ribbon protein. A bone-in ribeye we recently enjoyed was deliriously succulent. And at the suggestion of a tipster in the know, we ordered an off-the-menu item, the Benny Weiker, named for a good customer of years ago who used to be a cattle buyer in the Sioux City stockyards. This is an eighteen-ounce, center-cut, 21-day dry-aged filet mignon that was simply the most handsome piece of meat we have ever seen presented on a plate.

Jack L. Holmes, the Iowa fine bouche who clued us in to Archie’s, said that we would be shocked not only by the quality of the steak, but by its low price. He was right. Relatively speaking, in the realm of high-quality beef, Archie’s is an incredible bargain. We ate supper for three – the Benny Weiker, the ribeye, and a plate with a pair of immense Iowa pork chops (perhaps a pound-and-a-half of pork, total), plus onion rings, Mexican cheeseballs, and all the fixins – for a grand total of $75 plus tip.

And by the way, in the above paragraph, where we mention all the fixins, we need to say that the things that come before and during the beef course are pretty special at Archie’s. Along with the salad you get a relish tray and a plate of cured-here corned beef: super-lean, high-flavored, beautiful to look at. The waitress suggested we do like regular customers do and shred the spicy beef on our salads. Available companions for meat include a well-browned patty of hash brown potatoes and a trio of substantial corn fritters.

A steak-eaters’ destination since Archie Jackson started it in 1949, Archie’s is now co-owned by Bob Rand, who is a fanatic for excellence. Bob is an oenophile who regularly travels to Napa Valley to build the restaurant’s wine list; but if you really want to see his passions rise, get him talking about what exactly makes a great steak. He loves to describe the dry-aging process – how the meat sheds moisture but absorbs the flavors of the marbling – and he will tell you that he believes in cooking a steak at a fairly low temperature (450 degrees), which runs counter to conventional wisdom that says 1000 degrees is what you need to sear it and seal in its juices. All we know is that Archie’s steaks burst with juice when severed with a knife.

Archie’s is a big, happy restaurant with capacious booths and hordes of happy customers who come from miles around to enjoy what is a Siouxland prize.

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Scorecard

5 - Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Overall: Legendary - Worth driving from anyplace
Benny Weiker filet mignon
Archie's Special Sirloin Steak
bone-in rib-eye
pork chops
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Reviewers Photos [Upload Your Photos]

The prettiest and tastiest pound-plus hunk of filet mignon we've ever eased a knife through
"The prettiest and tastiest pound-plus hunk of filet mignon we've ever eased a knife through"
Michael Stern





A popular appetizer in this region, reminiscent of the northland's cheese curds: deep-fried globs of cheese, with or without jalapeno peppers inside.
"A popular appetizer in this region, reminiscent of the northland's cheese curds: deep-fried globs of cheese, with or without jalapeno peppers inside."
Michael Stern


In a cold room behind the kitchen, Archie's dry-ages primal cuts of beef until they develop a powerful rich flavor.
"In a cold room behind the kitchen, Archie's dry-ages primal cuts of beef until they develop a powerful rich flavor. "
Michael Stern


Big booths, low light, and a collection of cheerful china nick-nacks: Archie's is a true heartland supper club.
"Big booths, low light, and a collection of cheerful china nick-nacks: Archie's is a true heartland supper club."
Michael Stern


The cattle business has dispersed since Sioux City had America's largest stock yards, but Archie's continues the region's devotion to beef.
"The cattle business has dispersed since Sioux City had America's largest stock yards, but Archie's continues the region's devotion to beef. "
Michael Stern


Although Archie's is best known for its beef steaks, it is a true Iowa restaurant; and therefore its pork chops are superb.
"Although Archie's is best known for its beef steaks, it is a true Iowa restaurant; and therefore its pork chops are superb."
Michael Stern



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