Machine Shed

Bakery | Grocery Store | Sandwich Shop | Steak
Worth a detour

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.

What to Eat
Machine Shed, Iowa pork chop
Iowa pork chop
Here is a serious pork chop, the way they like them in Iowa (America's top pork producer).
Machine Shed, cinnamon roll
cinnamon roll
That's a dinner plate beneath the cinnamon roll, which is more than enough for two.
Machine Shed, Iceberg Lettuce Salad
Iceberg Lettuce Salad
Heartland salad: crisp iceberg lettuce, creamy blue cheese dressing and plenty of bacon
Machine Shed, Pie
A slice of banana cream pie IS as big as it appears!
Stuffed Pork Chop
Machine Shed, Country Chop & Eggs
Country Chop & Eggs
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.
Machine Shed, Pork Producer’s Breakfast
Pork Producer’s Breakfast
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.
Fried Chicken
Country Fried Chicken Salad
Pork Tenderloin sandwich
Directions and Hours
open now
Sunday7 am - 9 pm
Monday6 am - 10 pm
Tuesday6 am - 10 pm
Wednesday6 am - 10 pm
Thursday6 am - 10 pm
Friday6 am - 10 pm
Saturday6 am - 10 pm
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
5 stops | 491 MILES | 7 hr 31 min

Cinnamon rolls can be found almost everywhere, but no state has better (and bigger) ones than Iowa.

Open Year Round
Meals Served
Breakfast, Lunch
Credit Cards Accepted
Alcohol Served
Outdoor Seating

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