Tastee Inn & Out

Drive-In | Sandwich Shop
Memorable
One of the best
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Most onions are fried as rings and strings; Outback popularized whole-bulb blooming onions; then there are onion chips, a unique hybrid that belongs on every fried food-lover’s itinerary. A chip is vaguely potato-chip shaped, a slim, bite-size piece from one layer of an onion that when battered and fried, makes a snack food / side dish that is simply impossible to stop eating.

Chips are a specialty of Tastee Inn & Out, a Sioux City Drive-In that has been run by the Calligan family since the mid-1950s. Tastee Inn & Out chips are sold in sizes that range from individual to a party tub; and they are accompanied, as is local custom for all fried onions in Siouxland, by a creamy white dip that is a local cognate of what Utahans know as fry sauce.

The other item on the menu that all visitors need to know about is the Tastee sandwich, this drive-in’s version of the locally popular loosemeats. It is ground beef on a bun, sort of like a fallen-apart hamburger but with extra seasoning in the meat. Tastee’s version bears virtually no resemblance to the ground beef dishes that are known elsewhere in other parts of America as the sloppy Joe (Midwestern), American chop suey (Yankee), New Joe Special (San Francisco Bay), or Cheez-br-gr (southern Indiana). Compared to any of these other presentations, the Tastee is veritably Spartan: just meat and seasoning, no sauce at all. (But pickle and onion on top, please! And of course some melting orange cheese.)

As you can infer from the name of the restaurant, Tastee Inn & Out is a drive-in with a walk-up order window but no seats whatsoever inside. Most people place orders at a drive-by menu that is equipped with a speaker and microphone and pick them up through the car window farther down the line. There is a picnic table and a large parking lot for in-car dining

What to Eat
Tastee Inn & Out, Onion Chips
Onion Chips
Must-Try
A pair of Tastee onion chips on the dashboard
Tastee Inn & Out, Tastee Sandwich
Tastee Sandwich
Must-Try
A Tastee's paper wrap serves as a dropcloth to catch meat that falls out while you eat.
Directions and Hours
open now
Sunday11am - 11pm
Monday11am - 11pm
Tuesday11am - 11pm
Wednesday11am - 11pm
Thursday11am - 11pm
Friday11am - 12am
Saturday11am - 12am
Roadtrips
This restaurant is featured in the following eating tours.
4 stops | 258 MILES | 4 hr 5 min

Loosemeats, the Iowa treat, has all kinds of aliases, including tavern, tastee, Big T, and Charlie Boy. Years ago when sit-com comedienne Roseanne Arnold opened her Big Food Diner over in Eldon out Ottumwa way, journalists unfamiliar with Iowa cuisine made a fuss over the fact that her menu did list loosemeats, a name that…

5 stops | 127 MILES | 2 hr 13 min

Loess Hills

The Loess Hills Scenic Byway through westernmost Iowa is describes as "truly an American treasure." The trip from Omaha, Nebraska, to Sioux City, Iowa offers Roadfood adventurers a bevy of unique local eats.

Omaha

The three restaurants below offer large variety in the city of Omaha. Deep fried grilled cheese sandwiches, seafood and…

Information
Price
$
Seasons
Open Year Round
Meals Served
Lunch, Dinner, Late Night
Credit Cards Accepted
Yes
Alcohol Served
No
Outdoor Seating
Yes
Website

Other Nearby Restaurants

  • Royal Bake Shop

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    Customers flock from all over Siouxland to Royal Bake Shop for utterly fresh baked goods, especially its famous Zebra Donuts.

  • Crystal Café

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    Crystal Cafe is a 24/7 truck stop restaurant at the Iowa-Nebraska border serving hearty meals and high-rise cream pies.

  • Miles Inn

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    In Northwest Iowa, taverns (loosemeats) are more popular than burgers. They’re at their best at the Miles Inn, which calls them Charlie Boys.

  • Edgar’s

    Elk Point, South Dakota

    ** THIS RESTAURANT IS PERMANENTLY CLOSED **
    Soda jerking is a fine art at Edgar’s, a vintage Elk Point, South Dakota sweet shop. Sundaes, malts, shakes, and sodas all are first-rate.

  • Bob’s Drive-Inn

    Le Mars, Iowa

    Bob’s superb Iowa loosemeats are browned ground beef, strained of fat, then pressure-cooked with sauce and spice, piled into a bun with pickles and cheese.

  • 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.