Iowa I-80

5 STOPS | 239 MILES | 3 hr 53 min
Save
Navigate

Interstate 80 is the most efficient East-West route between New Jersey and San Francisco, but long stretches of it are a culinary wasteland. Not Iowa, where memorable heartland eats are within striking distance of the highway. Just west of the Quad Cities, the utterly charming Wilton Candy Kitchen just may be the oldest soda fountain in the nation. A few miles south of the highway on the  square in Sully, the Coffee Cup is a quintessential small-town cafe with pies to die for. Of Des Moines’ many edible treasures, we like steak at Jesse’s Embers and peach ice cream at Bauder Pharmacy. On the way to Omaha, a short detour north to the towns of Hamlin and Audubon takes you to a couple four-star version of the Hawkeye State signature sandwich, the breaded pork tenderloin, at Darrell’s Place.

1

Wilton Candy Kitchen

Wilton Candy Kitchen in Iowa may be America's oldest soda fountain. Enjoy cherry cokes, pink ladies, floats and sundaes of all kinds.

2

Coffee Cup Café

Cinnamon buns for breakfast, tenderloins & Dutch salad for lunch and always cream pie for dessert: the Coffee Cup Cafe of Sully, Iowa, is a Midwest dream.

3

Jesse’s Embers

Jesse's Embers of Des Moines, Iowa, cooks steaks on a delicious-smelling charcoal grill and serves it with great onion rings and expertly-made cocktails.

4

Bauder Pharmacy

Indulge in a turtle sundae, shake, malt, or soda. The ice cream is Bauder's own, the flavor rotation including fresh strawberry and peach in summer months.

5

Darrell’s Place

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.