Red Barn

Diner | Small Town Café
legendary
Worth driving from anywhere!
Save

** THIS RESTAURANT IS PERMANENTLY CLOSED **

South of Audubon on a country road across from a row of feed silos, the Red Barn is a Roadfood gem that serves breakfast, lunch, and supper and is a gathering place where locals come to chat over coffee between meals. It’s a tiny place, about the size of a house trailer with a third of its interior occupied by the kitchen. There are four tables, two with seats for six, so it is common, especially at lunch, for different parties to share space with one another. Nearly everyone who eats at the Red Barn knows everyone else. But as strangers, we felt completely welcome and at ease.

We found this place while on the tenderloin trail, and sure enough, the breaded pork tenderloin here is ravishing. It is wider than its bun, but not ridiculously so, and it is thick enough to be really juicy inside its snug, savory crust. When we visited, it was mid-August, so the standard battery of pickles and onions was supplemented by a couple of lovely slices of fresh garden tomato. The larder also was well-stocked with rhubarb, and the rhubarb crisp we had for dessert, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream, was a dessert to remember.

What to Eat
Red Barn, Tenderloin
Tenderloin
Must-Try
One of Iowa's great tenderloins -- crisp, juicy, hugely satisfying. And garnished with slices of garden-fresh tomato.
Red Barn, Loosemeats
Loosemeats
Must-Try
The Red Barn menu calls this a Maid-Rite. To the north it more likely would be referred to as loosemeats or a tavern.
Red Barn, Rhubarb Crisp
Rhubarb Crisp
Must-Try
Rhubarb crisp topped with ice cream: a glorious balance of tart and sweet.
Red Barn, Custard
Custard
Must-Try
A cup of custard. Nothing could be plainer or more perfect.
Red Barn, Pea Salad
Pea Salad
There is pea salad in other states, but it is nowhere so prevalent -- or so perfectly composed -- as in the cafes of Iowa.
Directions and Hours
Information
Price
$$$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Breakfast, Lunch
Credit Cards Accepted
No
Alcohol Served
No
Outdoor Seating
No

Other Nearby Restaurants

  • Larsen’s Pub

    Elk Horn, Iowa

    A friendly Main Street pub in Elk Horn, Larsen’s fame is a big, beautiful pork tenderloin sandwich — winner of the Iowa Pork Producer’s blue ribbon best.

  • Darrell’s Place

    Hamlin, Iowa

    With incredible tenderloins, blue-ribbon rhubarb pie, and sweet draft root beer, Darrell’s Place is a sparkling jewel in the BPT crown of Audubon County, Iowa.

  • Dairy Sweet

    Dunlap, Iowa

    The pork tenderloin at Dairy Sweet is thick-cut and fabulously juicy with a golden gnarled crust. For the sweet tooth: fine soft-serve ice cream and milkshakes.

  • Redwood Steakhouse

    Anita, Iowa

    The Redwood is one of Iowa’s grand old steakhouses, hearkening back to a more formal era when relish trays, fresh bread, and hearty portions were standard fare.

  • Cronks Cafe

    Denison, Iowa

    Serving Denison, Iowa, since 1929, Cronk’s is a restaurant/lounge with wonderful tenderloins, hot beef and hot pork sandwiches and Saturday night prime rib.