B&B is primarily a grocery store. Meal service is a do-it-yourself affair: step up to the butcher counter and order what you’d like to eat, from breakfast burritos to heroic “killer sandwiches” and a terrific Iowa tenderloin. The tenderloin is what we would call Des Moines-style, meaning that it is fairly thin and ridiculously wide, so wide that many customers fold it over once or twice inside the bun so the sandwich can actually be picked up. Still, that ribbon of pork inside crunchy crust is juicy and sweet.
You don’t find too many places like B&B any more. It is an old-fashioned neighborhood market with butchers who do everything from making sandwiches to processing deer. Signs above the counter advertise the “whole hog special,” which is 73 pounds of pork in various forms, and the “1/2 of 1/2 beef,” which includes steaks, ribs, roasts, and burger meat. Dining takes place at a makeshift eating annex of counter and stools to which you tote your sandwich. Décor includes newspaper headlines from years past as well as a vintage advertisement for the Des Moines Register titled “Business Success is achieved by those who early learn to manage money.” The ad shows how John and Archie Brooks got their early business education as paper boys, starting in 1917.